Sustaining a new performance improvement programme in warehouses across the globe | Pharmaceuticals

The challenge

Our deep understanding and knowledge of successfully implementing The Unipart Way into a wide range of operating environments, including logistics and warehousing led the client to seek our support in helping its global logistics team achieve the targets set.

We were challenged to design a methodology for implementing Lean ways of working into a global network of warehousing operations, and to integrate this work with the client’s own continuous improvement programme, which had not yet been fully deployed into its manufacturing facilities.

At the same time we were asked to build the capability of teams to deliver the targeted savings and in the process, create and embed culture of continuous improvement.

How we helped

Our own experience has shown that engaging people and building their capability is vital to ensuring the changes made are sustained.

We began in a single site and designed an implementation model that was appropriate to the client’s situation and circumstance, including:

  • Training and coaching site leaders in Lean theory and the managerial style and behaviours that are required to sustain it
  • Training interventions to engage the workforce at all levels in taking ownership of processes and solving problems at their own level
  • Developing a standardised process for implementation that employed the client’s own Lean toolkit
  • Initial advanced training for a team of in-house practitioners followed by coaching in the application of the tools and the engagement of the workforce. 

Once designed, the standard deployment model was tested at several other sites in the UK and overseas. This testing phase afforded

  • This testing phase afforded the time to train the client’s team in engagement techniques.
  • We provided full time coaching for the client’s practitioners; ensuring they understood how these techniques and tools should be deployed correctly.

Once the deployment model had been refined in light of the experience gained, and the client’s practitioners had completed training, the international rollout phase commenced.

  • In the first group of sites, we continued to provide full time coaching support while the client’s practitioners’ led the site projects.
  • In the later rollout phase the ratio of UEP coaches to client practitioners decreased by 50%, and eventually to zero.

Each deployment project focused on developing local leaders’ understandings of;

  • Lean concepts and the new managerial style necessary for them to succeed
  • Workforce engagement and encouraging ownership of processes, and learning how they could improve them

To view the case study in more detail, download it at the bottom of the page.

The results

The warehousing programme is fully compliant with the client’s manufacturing approach, and the client has acknowledged that implementation in warehouses is an excellent example of what it wishes to achieve.

The warehouses are well on target to exceed its targeted 15% improvement in productivity, the 50% reduction in external storage space and hence the annual savings.

  • The warehouses are on track to exceed the client’s targets for increased productivity and reduction in external storage space. Combined, this is anticipated to deliver more than £100 million in financial savings
  • The coaching of the client’s practitioners is currently on-going as we are in the final period of our assignment, but the team are confident and capable of leading future deployments in the remaining warehouses. They are also proficient in training other practitioners, to ensure continuous improvement is sustained.

To download a more in depth, PDF copy of the case study, click on the image below.

warehouse performance improvement