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Keeping business lean

We developed a training programme which has helped more than 200 organisations worldwide deliver continuous efficiency savings worth millions.

Our research showed that many businesses were introducing lean successfully, but then failing to maintain improvements. Some 70% of lean transformations were not achieving all their intended benefits.

The fastest growing capital city in Europe. It boasts beautiful old architecture as well as the major waterfront development at Cardiff Bay, which includes cinemas, restaurants, cafes and museums. Excellent shopping, eating and accessibility.

Our solution

We developed the Lean Competency System (LCS), which introduces professional standards into the practice and application of lean. Launched in 2008, it offers training in lean principles at three levels – fundamental, technical and strategic. Trainees can progress from a simple understanding of the principles to designing and leading a lean strategy. The LCS has brought about change in companies from individual factory units to large multinationals.

We have also created tailored lean solutions for individual companies via Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. The partnerships see one of our academics embedded in the company to pass on the benefits of research. Many firms have improved competitiveness, productivity and performance through sustainable lean transformations adapted specifically to their needs.

Lean thinking origins

Todays lean processes derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) developed in 1948, which focused on reducing waste to improve overall customer value. The superior performance of the Japanese automotive industry became globally known as lean because it used less of everything - human effort, capital investment, facilities, inventories and time.

Our impact

More than 200 companies have now embarked on sustainable lean transformation strategies thanks to our research. Examples include:

Lloyds Banking Group: Lloyds was approved for LCS training in 2009. The company now accredits around 100 members of staff a year, with an average benefit of £100,000 per accreditation.

Diageo: The international drinks business now requires all managers to undergo lean training across its 97 sites worldwide.

Johnson & Johnson – Depuy: The company's Blackpool factory adopted Cardiff's Iceberg Model of sustainable improvement through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. By the project end, it had delivered a cost reduction of around £100,000.

Ministry of Justice: Lean has been implemented in all 500 courts in the UK, with more than 558 people trained to LCS Level 2. As result, the courts service has experience improved productivity, with more than 66,500 hours of staff time saved.