At the beginning of March, Howden's senior management team visited Prague to meet Jan Růžička, Managing Director of the new addition to Howden's formidable presence in the global compressor market. After being welcomed to the Howden ČKD Compressors (HCKD) factory on Monday, by Wednesday Ian Brander, global CEO of Howden, and Jim Fairbairn, Executive Director of the Compressors division, were themselves welcoming the local mayor to the site to officially open a newly renovated building.
The new space will provide much-needed office accommodation for HCKD staff who until now have been housed in an older office facility at the same site. The new location provides a more modern and better-equipped setting for the commercial and management teams.
The senior management team spent a week in Prague holding a series of meetings to plan the next phase of the integration of HCKD into the Howden family. The introduction of Howden's lean manufacturing philosophies has brought significant benefits to the company, and an Integration Team has been given the task of bringing the work flows, operating procedures, inventory and waste management into line with Howden best practice. Representing senior staff from throughout the division, the Integration Team will be sharing their considerable experience and resources to bring Colfax Business System thinking alive at all levels of the company.
At the opening ceremony, the mayor stressed the importance of HCKD to the city and expressed his pleasure that Howden was now part of Prague's story. Ian Brander added that the arrangement would give HCKD access to new aftermarket opportunities worldwide while also allowing other areas of Howden greater access to markets in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.