Royal Mint Director Receives Top Industry Honour
Turning around the fortunes of the Royal Mint’s Commemorative Coin and Bullion business has scooped its Director Shane Bissett a top industry award.
As a division head at the UK’s oldest manufacturing organisation, Bissett was honoured to receive the distinguished Director’s Award accolade at the IoD Wales Director of the Year Awards in Cardiff.
Bissett received the award, which is given at the discretion of the Director of IoD Wales, after he successfully transformed The Royal Mint’s commemorative coin division from a loss-making venture into a profitable business within three years.
In addition to leading a highly successful commemorative coin programme and medals manufacturing division, he has also driven The Royal Mint’s key business objective to break into the precious metal bullion coins market as a premium player.
He said: “When I started working at The Royal Mint I made a conscious decision to modernise the way in that we communicated with customers and shift the focus of the business online, whilst also increasing customer engagement and buy in.
To strengthen the business I launched The Royal Mint into the Bullion market, commercialising some of the existing business assets and utilising limited investment to secure cumulative sales now in excess of £400 million.
“This included negotiating a joint venture with MMTC-PAMP to licence the striking of the Sovereign in India.”
For the past two years, Bissett has been working closely with the Welsh Government on a proposed visitor centre and recently secured its support with a £2.3million grant which will go some way towards the total investment of £7.7million cost.
In April 2014, The Royal Mint unveiled plans to develop a purpose-built visitor centre at its headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales and construction is expected to be completed during 2015.
He said: “The new centre will enable us to take people behind the scenes of more than 1,000 years of coin making history.”
IoD Wales director Robert Lloyd Griffiths said: “Shane has led two very significant business development initiatives: the most successful Olympic Coin Programme ever with sales worldwide of £102m and re-launching The Royal Mint back into the Bullion business with cumulative three year sales of £412m.
“It is great to have the opportunity to honour top business people from across Wales, where so many innovative and thriving businesses are based and I am delighted that we were once again able to promote excellence in business leadership in Wales.”
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.