Proactive engagement of staff in process improvement leads to  over £10m in benefits in the first year

Our client, a leading media/communications/infrastructure company, needed to address the proliferation of different working practices resulting from a succession of acquisitions and mergers over the past decade. The programme was born out of a number of factors: a major review identifying inefficiencies; a new management team keen to address a legacy of prior failed initiatives; and a rapidly changing environment with increased competition and more demanding customers. It was clear that to transform the way in which core processes were performed would require a highly coordinated effort to positively engage the whole of this multi-site organisation.

Reporting to the Board, Clarus Consulting led this ‘One Way’ programme of 6 major business process streams together with a Leadership programme and a Data Governance stream. A communications & engagement stream was also set up to design and coordinate activity to engage with the organisation, including:

  • workshops involving over 200 staff in the re-design of processes based on Lean methodology;
  • establishment of an extensive Intranet site with daily bulletins and weekly news stories;
  • small group discussion forums and updates designed to engage staff in the programme; 
  • management-led site town meetings;
  • active management events to engage leaders in the changes.

This highly participative process was built into the heart of the programme and was effective in managing much of the resistance felt in changing ways of working. Also, through involving staff we were able to create a high degree of commitment for the new processes, which were quicker, simpler, more customer focused and less bureaucratic. By the involvement of staff, we also established a ‘continuous improvement methodology’ and ‘process excellence toolkit’ together with the introduction of process owners and process metrics, to continue the improvement  ‘journey’.

Despite additional complexity deriving from multi-site and geographically dispersed operations and from the existence of very different cultures and ways of working within the same organisation, the programme (which had followed several previous ‘false-starts’) was seen as a big success and a foundation for further business improvement - ABC is continuing with a small internal team of lean facilitators. The overall programme delivered in excess of £10m in benefits during the first year. Clarus Consulting was then asked to help with refining their Operating Model and also to manage a major site rationalisation programme.

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