Case Studies

 

CASE STUDIES

 

CASE STUDY 1

 

Vetter GmbH - Manufacturer of Natural Stone Products

 

Background & Challenge

 

As part of the Laing O’Rourke group, Vetter were well positioned to provide Natural Stone products to the high-profile Candy & Candy construction project, "One Hyde Park", in the heart of central London. However, poor factory productivity and serious quality issues were causing significant impact to construction progress.

 

Solution

 

  • Value Stream Map the production facility to identify improvement opportunities
  • Introduce Visual Management for key production metrics
  • Train the workforce on 5S and introduce throughout the factory
  • Address the process bottlenecks
  • Apply SMED principles for quick changeover between product lines
  • Shift from push to pull through the introduction of Kanban
  • Move responsibility for quality away from inspectors towards the factory workers

 

Implementation approach

 

Due to the time scales and risk involved, our client requested that a Senior Lean Practitioner was deployed full-time, initially for 3 months, extending to 12 months in total. During this time, graduate Construction Engineers were seconded from the UK headquarters for 3 month periods to gain experience of Lean deployment.

 

Results

 

  • Safety – from 6 reportable accidents in the previous 12 months to no reportable accidents in the following 12 months
  • £250k capital cost avoidance
  • Throughput increased by 120% (from 150m2 to 330m2 per week) with just 18% increase in people
  • Scrap rates of >50% reduced to <5%
  • Typical lead times reduced from 8-10 weeks to 2-3 weeks

 

 

 

CASE STUDY 2

 

LWD Lonestar, Leeds, UK - Precision Engineering

 

Background & Challenge

 

A key product in LWD’s range is a sub-sea gate valve, precision engineered from high-quality materials. However, lead times were failing to meet customer expectations. The rapid decline of customer numbers was posing a real threat to the existence of the business. New investors identified the threat early on and moved quickly to address the situation.

 

Solution

 

  • Produce a current state value stream map of the process, highlighting areas of waste and opportunities to address
  • Design a future-state value stream map, removing major areas of waste and calculating the impact to key lean metrics
  • Develop an action plan to achieve the future state in a controlled way, whilst mitigating identifiable risks and continuing to deliver on commitments to customers

 

Implementation approach

 

LWD requested that the activity be led by an experienced Lean Practitioner to ensure that the immediate opportunities were realised in the shortest timeframe possible. Throughout the process, the leadership team were briefed on a daily basis on the change being implemented. The Lean Practitioner was full-time for 6 months.

 

Results

 

  • Lead times for gate valves were reduced from 51.8 days (with 0.8% value added time) to 5.1 days (with 8.7% value added time)
  • Value Stream WIP reduced from £635.6k to £62.5k, leading to significant increase in the value of the company
  • Headcount required to deliver the same capacity reduced from 9 FTE to 7 FTE

 

 

 

 

CASE STUDY 3

 

Connect Plus (Balfour Beatty, Atkins & Egis JV), UK – Highways Operations & Maintenance

 

Background & Challenge

 

In 2009, Connect Plus were awarded an unprecedented 30 year contract worth £6.2 billion, to Design, Build, Finance & Operate the M25 network. The contract shifts all risk to the joint venture, creating a need to think and act differently in order to maximise the opportunity this type of arrangement offers. However, with a management team and blue-collar work force familiar with an industry rife with inefficiencies, this challenge is predominantly one of cultural change.

 

Solution

 

  • Create clear line of sight between the Highways Agency’s vision and the performance expectations of the work force
  • Establish a Critical Mass of Lean expertise within the organisation, sufficient to affect a cultural shift and change in mind set from that of a blame culture to an organisation of solution deliverers

 

Implementation approach

 

  • Organisational Effectiveness Model (OEM) used to develop strategic intent for the business and prioritise areas for improvement
  • Plan to deliver 4 waves of Lean Practitioner training (totalling 40 practitioners); as of June 2014, 2 waves completed and accreditation of 17 practitioners achieved
  • Lean Leadership training completed for all senior leadership team members
  • Ongoing mentoring of Leaders and Practitioners throughout and beyond their training
  • Business Improvement strategy (5 year plan) established; business case for “engine room” of resource signed off
  • 1.5 x experienced Lean Practitioners have been involved at Connect Plus for the past 12 months, delivering the above

 

Results

 

  • Clear strategic intent for the organisation has been defined (OEM – vision, purpose, strategies, etc)
  • £1.7 million of improvement value identified through the Lean Practitioner’s “development” projects and a conservative estimate of £6 million net cash benefit expected over the next 5 years
  • Plan to realise £800k of the value as bottom line savings (£350k realised to date)
  • Relationship with Highways Agency has shifted from one of conflict to one of strategic partnering; the Highways Agency have commenced an OEM review in partnership with Connect Plus, with a clear mandate to maximise road user/tax payer value

 

 

 

 

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