Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence

Excellence within Operations is not simply about utilising Lean Tools, but rather the development of a mindset within the workforce to acknowledge that getting better never stops.

It is about building a culture of sustained excellence where problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership results in ongoing improvements that delivers results.

We provide strategies that focus on delivering results, keeping your employees positive and empowered, whilst continually improving the activities within the workplace.

We help organisations and individuals understand and implement Excellence within their Operations.

We do this by working with you to define and address gaps in performance that need to be closed, developing both your capability to improve the flow of value to your customers and the problem-solving ability of your people so that you can sustain the gains and continuously improve.

We have worked on all kinds of business problems, big and small, in almost every type of organisation and activity, and have found that Lean thinking has always helped unlock new levels of performance that weren’t possible through traditional management approaches.

What is Lean?

Lean is a continuous improvement philosophy which is Synonymous with the Toyota Production System. The history of lean manufacturing is traced back to the early years of Toyota and the development of the Toyota Production System.

It seeks to implement business processes that achieve high quality, safety and worker morale, whilst reducing cost and shortening lead times. What sets lean manufacturing apart, and makes it particularly effective, is that it has at its core a laser-sharp focus on the elimination of all waste from all processes.

The Seven Wastes

What do we mean by waste? We mean any expenditure of resources that doesn’t add value for the customer.

Taiichi Ohno famously identified the Seven Wastes of the Toyota Production System that have become part of the bedrock of lean knowledge and fundamental to lean improvement initiatives.

The 7 wastes are listed below:

  1. Over-production against plan
  2. Waiting time of operators and machines
  3. Unnecessary transportation
  4. Waste in the process itself
  5. Excess stock of material and components
  6. Non-value adding motion
  7. Defects in quality

In recent years an eighth waste has been added to Ohno’s original list, which is related to untapped human potential. This identifies the importance of engaging with and maximising the contribution of employees for them to excel within the workplace.

8. Underutilised people

This ‘waste’ of underutilised people often manifests itself as:

  • Under-utilised talent, not utilising people’s skills, talent and knowledge,
  • Under engagement, not engaging with everyone,
  • Intellect, not using employee’s intellectual contribution,
  • Skills, under-utilising capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training,
  • Creativity, a lack of or not using employee creativity,

These 8 wastes can apply to almost any industries, from the preparation and serving of a pizza to the manufacture of a vehicle – this thinking is not limited to manufacturing.

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The Importance of People

The eighth waste mentioned above is an important waste to address in achieving a Lean Culture, and one that is often a key focus, as it is imperative to achieving sustainable operations.

People are the most important asset a company has at its disposal as it is people that engage with your customers, people that operate your machinery, people that represent your brand and ultimately people that produce your goods and services.

We work with our clients to engage with their workforce to help unleash their potential. This is done through developing engagement strategies that are focussed on building a cohesive “working community” and a set of common goals.

Key strategic areas:

  • Employee engagement plans,
  • Succession planning,
  • Communication plans,
  • Smart & aligned strategies,
  • Management coaching,


  • Better engagement drives improved productivity,
  • Employees feel satisfied when they’re engaged,
  • Engaged employees are more creative,
  • Engaged employees are less likely to quit,
  • Engaged employees are positive,
  • Engaged employees are better communicators,
  • Engaged employees feel that their work is meaningful,
  • Engaged employees feel valued, trusted and respected,
  • Engaged employees feel secure and self-confident,
  • Engaged employees will go the extra mile

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Lean Concepts and Tools

Lean is not purely about using a set of tools to implement isolated changes, but more about developing continuous and sustained improvement activities across a business. It’s about getting things done to improve performance.

The below are some of the concepts and tools that are utilised to drive improvements within a Lean Manufacturing business.

  • TPM
  • SMED
  • 5S
  • 6 Sigma
  • Kanban
  • Pokayoke
  • Fishbone Analysis
  • Just-In-Time
  • Process Levelling and Flow
  • Performance Management
  • Push vs Pull Production
  • Visual Management
  • Standardisation
  • Target Setting

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Six Sigma

Whilst Lean looks at reducing wastes and improving flow, Six Sigma is focussed on measuring and achieving consistent results.

Six Sigma is aimed at measuring performance to provide better process visibility and understand the impact of any improvement actions.

Six Sigma will not only trend your performance but also allow you to understand where you need to focus your actions to improve. These trends will also help to define the variation and distribution of your process so as to understand any deviations to target.

We provide easy to use data sets that provide your teams and managers with the awareness they need to recognise and monitor trends so they can take appropriate actions.

This data can be incorporated into dashboards and KPI’s to enable your team to understand what good and poor performance looks like, what impact their actions are having on a process and when to take corrective action.

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  • Improvement of Philips Freeview box moulding operations, increasing productivity by 60%.
  • Optimisation of operational costs by 250k pa.
  • Increase in profitability of a Municipal contract by £1.6m pa.
  • Improvement of plant availability to sustainably achieve 90% uptime.

  • Improvement of labour planning to deliver savings in excess of £280k.
  • Increase in Aerosol assembly productivity by 14%.
  • Increase in Injection Moulding productivity by 15%.
  • Improvement of engagement survey participation by 11% to achieve 93% and score by 6% to achieve 73% — highest scores in over 30 years.

Learn more about how we can add value to your business

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Interested to find out more?

We believe that all organisational change comes through people, hence our approach is a people focussed approach, based on practical solutions to deliver sustainable bottom line improvements.