improvement programme leads to multi-million savings for Metronet
at Metronetssl are set to save the company almost £2.5million
in just 12 months, with a projected saving of more than £12million
over five years. But that’s only part of the story. The benefits
that M.A. Partnershipin association with SGA, have brought to the
former public sector organisation go way beyond these significant
development consultancy, M.A. Partnership, were brought in by Colin
Matlock, then Stations Asset Manager in the Station Maintain Department
of Metronetssl, when Metronetssl was in the process of starting
to deliver their maintenance service to London Underground . Previously
part of London Underground, the infrastructure maintenance company
wanted to initiate culture change – to shift from a traditional
public sector organisation to a more customer focused, commercial
recognised that things were going to be different when we moved
to the private sector,” explained Colin. “We needed
to demonstrate to onlookers that we were up for change, as well
as being able to feel good within ourselves.”
was important to create an atmosphere where people felt empowered
to establish what their hot issues were, identify what was preventing
them delivering, and then have the confidence to do something about
Partnership was able to tailor a Business Improvement Programme
to meet our specific needs. Undertaking the programme was rather
a leap of faith but it certainly paid dividends. The results far
exceeded my expectations.”
Gray of M.A. Partnership, says: “Change fails nine times out
of 10 because of people issues. Rather than imposing change from
the top down, we suggested a Business Process Improvement approach,
which involves getting the people who actually carry out the work
to change the way they do things. This leads to innovative solutions,
better teamwork, greater improvements and, eventually, to culture
major challenge which faced M.A. Partnership was not how to revamp
systems, strategies or structures, but how to change employees’
behaviour and get them to challenge existing practices and to develop
their own identity.
Matlock identified staff of differing ages and experience from throughout
the Station Maintain Department to whom he could offer the opportunity
to join the Business Process Improvement programme. What made it
unique, was that for the first time, contractors were also invited
to become a part of this change programme.
our delivery of work at the front line is through contract and so
we treat contractors as part of our team,” said Colin. “It
seemed natural to include them in our programme.”
start the event delegates attended a one day introduction workshop
on culture change designed by M.A. Partnership. This encouraged
them to review the previous organisation’s benefits and failings,
identify the current situation and evaluate the potential and opportunity
for improvements that could be achieved by active Business Improvement
ensure that all those involved in the programme would be able to
work together effectively, it was important to build strong teams.
Stuart Gray and Chris Fleming from M.A. Partnership developed a
specific team development programme where delegates developed leadership
and team skills, and started a preliminary analysis of the “Hot
Issues” within the organisation.
split into multi-disciplinary teams, they each looked at areas for
improvement in differing business processes, gaining a feeling of
ownership by identifying the issues themselves.
whole idea was to get front line staff to drive the change,”
says Chris Fleming. “The support of the senior management
team was vital, but it was the frontline staff identifying projects
and making it happen that was crucial for success.”
Business Improvement Teams found that many of their existing business
processes were clumsy and long-winded, but because they had always
been done in the same way, no-one had challenged them. The aim was
to make the processes more effective, more flexible and more proactive
in response to their changing business environment.
the teambuilding event, the teams were involved in a four day skills
training workshop to encourage them to think like internal management
consultants. This module provided them with the skills, practical
tools, techniques and methodologies to enable them to carry out
successful business improvement initiatives.
next step was for each team to identify their own Business Improvement
Project which they would deliver to the organisation. Throughout
this time, Stuart and Chris from M.A. Partnership coached and mentored
the teams, reinforcing their enthusiasm and momentum for organisational
documented all phases of their projects, creating a source of best
practice. At the end of their project, they presented their findings
to senior management, showing how they identified a problem, found
a solution and took ownership of an implementation strategy.
van Ingen, Contracts Performance Manager in the Scarce Resource
Alliance, Telecommunications, jumped at the opportunity to take
part in the business improvement programme.
been with the company less than a year when I went on the team development
event” she says. “I got the chance to get to know lots
of other people who I wouldn’t normally have met. Our project
looked at external mystery shopper scores and how they correlate
with our internal customer satisfaction survey system because we
realised that there were cost savings to be made.
not measuring like for like, we were paying contractors almost £300,000
each year in unmerited bonuses while being penalised by our customer.
Thanks to our project, a new inspection regime will be implemented
this year which will enhance customer satisfaction. Undertaking
this project has made me feel valued.”
Business Improvement Programme brought together new recruits like
Nicola with time honoured staff such as Project Co-ordinator, Mike
Mannering. “I’ve been with the company for 30 odd years,”
he says. “I didn’t think you could teach an old dog
new tricks, but this programme has proved you can!
moved from being sceptical to being very pleasantly surprised. It’s
broken down a lot of barriers and shed fresh light onto long established
ways of working, which has to be good for everyone.”
Sutcliffe from the Commercial Department of one of Metronetssl’s
contractors, Kone, has also been pleased with the results. “We
deal with the escalator maintenance contracts for Metronetssl and
were delighted to be given the opportunity to express our views
and highlight problems. Normally, in this type of environment, we’re
usually just dictated to.
looking at the huge subject of access notification, we identified
that lost time and inefficiencies result in more than £22,000
being wasted each year in our company alone,” she explains.
“If you match this amount to the Metronetssl’s other
contractors, site access problems could cost more than £100,000
initial reaction was ‘why aren’t we already looking
at this?’ as it’s so simple. It just needed the programme
to stimulate our thinking. From their we were able to focus on the
issue and to introduce one uniform procedure which all contractors
who need access to a station have to follow.”
rest of the teams were able to identify a host of other business
improvements which are having a huge impact on Metronetssl. The
complex minor works process has been simplified, reducing it from
seven weeks to two, and enabling a 50 per cent efficiency improvement.
new critical spares store for consumables on Stations has been introduced
in conjunction with a handyman scheme, creating a much faster response
time to faults. Catching faults upstream could result in a potential
£1,000,000 saving per annum.
access, which had been costing Metronetssl £300,000 a year,
has also been an area of focus.
addition to almost £2.5million savings in the first year,
other major benefits have also resulted from M.A. Partnership’s
business improvement programme. More than 100 staff have now received
a personal development skills training programme and gained hands-on
experience of project management. Plus, the programme has created
a forum to facilitate and drive change and provided a valuable opportunity
for contractors to collaborate with staff on improving the delivery
the future, these benefits will continue to grow as the programme
has now become an established mechanism for delivering improvement
projects and developing individuals. New business improvement teams
are coming on board all the time, and if their improvements are
rolled out to all contractors in other parts of the business, the
savings during a five year period could amount to more than £12million.
“Change is about transformation not instant revolution,”
says Chris Fleming. “At Metronetssl we have seen what can
be achieved when people feel supported, consulted and clear about
the benefits. Now that the transition process has begun, if the
champions continue to receive long term support and encouragement,
they will certainly secure lasting change.”
find out more...
team completes unique Cotswold challenge
from Cotswold Conference Centre put their best foot forward to become
the first team to complete SGA’s challenging new ‘Business
Simulation in the Outdoors’ course at the Centre.
tailor-made course, which was designed and created by SGA, is based
on orienteering and tests a whole host of skills required in the
workplace, in an exciting outdoor environment.
wanted to try out the unique challenge ourselves so that we can
give a first-hand explanation to anyone enquiring about the Centre’s
facilities,” commented Nick Akerman, Sales & Marketing
Manager at Cotswold Conference Centre. “The course certainly
tests you to the maximum!”
must find as many of the 26 controls as possible within the 300
acre grounds at Cotswold Conference Centre. Each control is worth
a different amount of money and each amount varies depending on
the time taken to find it. Teams are given maps and radios and aim
to make as much money as they can by finding the control points
as quickly as possible.
make the challenge similar to a business environment, teams must
forecast how much they will make prior to setting off and bonuses
are awarded for hitting targets. The importance of clear planning,
teamworking, good communication, time management, forecasting and
strong leadership all become evident during the challenge.
Gray, Founder and Director of SGA, added: “The course is great
fun to complete while developing key business skills. We hope that
many businesses will rise to the challenge!”
more information on Cotswold Conference Centre’s ‘Business
Simulation in the Outdoors’ course, contact Nick on
0845 230 8580 or visit www.cotswoldconferencecentre.com