Grappling with Gripple – a student perspective on an employer visit

Earlier this month an excited group of ICE (International Career Enhancement) Club members went to see a successful Sheffield Manufacturing company in action to learn all about their business and how they recruit their staff.  Below Phuong Mai, MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management student at SHU, shares her impressions of the visit to Gripple:

On 3rd Nov 2014, 20 students of Sheffield Hallam University were honoured to visit Gripple Ltd. Company in Sheffield. The company is pioneer in manufacturing “Gripple Fastener” which can be used in construction and agriculture. It was established by Mr. Hugh Facey in 1988 in Sheffield and now they became one of the leading innovation companies in United Kingdom in 2014. After 25 years, Gripple Ltd. sold more than 500 million units and went global to Europe, America, South America and India. The sustainable growth in a short time of Gripple Ltd. is worthy to learn and inspire young students.


The trip to Gripple Ltd. was very useful and helped students to understand clearer the theories they have learnt in university. I was truly impressed by their organisational culture, innovative thinking, continuous development, LEAN manufacturing and sustainable development. Importantly, staff are treated as a member of the company not ‘just’ workers. Gripple provide conditions to empower staff to be creative and innovative in relation to infrastructure, environment and activities. Consequently, innovation is a main part of their culture. There are no physical borders between departments within the office even with the managers so that communication and team working have no obstacles – it is all ‘open plan’. All departments from Marketing, Sales, Accounting, IT to Production, Quality are coordinated well with each other. In addition, Gripple Ltd. have successfully incorporated the Lean thinking into their manufacturing, which helps them to achieve just-in-time delivery, eliminates waste, minimizes inventory, focuses on customer satisfaction and reduces costs significantly.

The shop floor is very clean, tidy and there are many notice boards of quality control system and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Moreover, Gripple Ltd. also acknowledges that they have social responsibility and environmental responsibility wherever they operate. This is actually the foundation of sustainable development in long term. It’s not every company that can think and act like Gripple to balance between profit, people and planet

In conclusion, visiting Gripple Ltd. was very useful for student because I can learn visually all the best-practice concepts. Last but not least, I am truly inspired by their innovation thinking and sustainability policy.

 Phuong Mai