Mark Yeandle - Plant Manager Cwmbran, UK

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Mark is the newest plant manager to join our KINE region. He took over our Cwmbran Glass Mineral Wool site in November 2020. Here Mark talks about the challenges of the pandemic, the plant’s commitment to Continuous Improvement and the experience he brings to his new role.

Important learnings to share? Remain strong in commitment, communicate effectively and empathise.
Mark Yeandle, Plant Manager Cwmbran, UK

What were you doing before working for Knauf Insulation?

For the past 20 years I have enjoyed a variety of operational roles as a project and plant manager in the UK and Canada for Logoplaste, a global manufacturer of rigid plastics.

What have been the greatest challenges of 2020? 

There has been a lot of uncertainty. The plant team has shown incredible commitment and worked hard to ensure the plant has been kept safe and operational throughout the pandemic, particularly at times when the UK was at the epicentre of the crisis.

What important learnings would you like to share?

Remain strong in commitment, communicate effectively and empathise.

How has your plant environment been changed by post-COVID safety requirements?

COVID-19 has changed the way everyone thinks about safety and well-being with a heightened focus on standards and practices to eliminate transmission. We are also seeing technology playing a more significant role in connecting us to our external and internal teams reducing the need to travel.

What measures were introduced to keep your team As Safe As Home?

Key measures included two-metre distancing markings and segregation markings around all areas of the plant and the installation of screens where required. There has also been increased communication at strategic points of the plant and on all digital screens to highlight key messages. There are cleaning stations in all offices, meeting rooms and plant control rooms. We have audited cleaning routines for shared equipment, the gym and canteen has been closed and rest areas have been changed to accommodate designated employees only. We have assessed every room and installed signage to show the maximum number of people allowed in each and installed fresh air systems where needed. Meetings are being held online and office staff are working from home. For employees who returned after furlough, we issued them with mask packs, sanitisers and door opening devices.

What is your ambition for the site?

To bring even greater value to the business by focusing on efficiency and customer satisfaction. I want to develop the team, really stretch our capabilities and drive our Continuous Improvement (CI) Maturity to the next level by fully embedding CI culture across the entire plant.

What have been your career highlights?

Using my experience and knowledge to improve plant performances and customer relationships in the UK and abroad.

What safety successes would you like to highlight in connection with safety?

In early 2021 the site has marked a full year of no recordable accidents which is the first time the plant has achieved this success in the history of its operation. It is a credit to the team’s hard work and Continuous Improvement programme. 

How does your plant contribute to the local community?

We engage with local training colleges to introduce students to the manufacturing environment and provide work placements. We also fund local charity awards and a youth football team.

What messages would you have for neighbours who are concerned about the environmental impact of your plant?

At Knauf Insulation we are in the business of sustainability and reducing everyone’s carbon footprint through the products we manufacture. At Cwmbran we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and pride ourselves on our relationship with our environmental regulators — Natural Resources Wales — through continued compliance with the site’s permitted emission limits. As a plant we are driven to minimise waste streams and constantly exploring new opportunities to recycle. As local stakeholders, our employees ensure we operate the plant as environmentally efficiently as possible.