Digital Process Transformation CASE STUDY: automation of the Customer On-boarding Process

Digital Process Transformation CASE STUDY:
Automation of the Customer On-boarding Process

In this case study, PMI Managing Partner Rich Seddon describes how a manual customer on- boarding process was automated.

The results?

    • Improved turnaround time
    • Fewer mistakes
    • Better customer experience

For more information on how you can achieve results through Process Automation, please get in touch.

CASE STUDY: Establishing and Maintaining a Centre of Excellence

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Establishing and Maintaining a Centre of Excellence

One of the UK’s largest food retail, wholesale, and distribution businesses worked with us to transform their wholesale distribution depot into a Centre of Excellence. 

This 80,000m² logistics facility and retail warehouse has 2 core processes, ‘receive, store and replenish stock’, and ‘pick and dispatch orders’.

It’s a busy unit with an experienced team under significant time, resource and financial pressures to deliver a high-quality service for their internal and external retail customers.

Their primary focus is to make sure stock gets in and out of the warehouse but there are significant upstream issues impacting on the team’s ability to deliver a quality service.

Comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

everyday processes linked to the business strategy

streamlined and standardised core processes

Achievements

 Over 18 months the team overcame significant challenges to accomplish:

£ 0 k SAVINGS
IN YEAR 1
0 % INCREASE
in outbound availability
0 % DECREASE
of insufficient stock
0 STAFF HOURS
Saved per day

The Customer Challenge

They had some significant challenges to overcome, not least:

    • Stock wasn’t always available for picking
    • Some people were busy while others were underutilised
    • Agency staff were relied on at a significant cost
    • There was little standardisation and no agreement on how the work should be done or ownership of processes
    • While data was gathered, it’s was of limited use as an everyday resource
    • Productivity bonuses based on the swift movement of stock led to quality issues and, as a result, customer claims
    • The team often worked in silos with little alignment or shared ambition.

But all this was about to change.

"Once we shifted our focus away from 'saving money' to the way the work was done, the savings and efficiences came as a result."

VISUALSING THE BUSINESS AS A SYSTEM

Five team members, including the General Manager and his Senior Operations management team, attended a 6 day PMI Process Management for Managers in-house course. It was a big commitment for the team as ‘time out’ wasn’t always possible.

Understandably for people with many years of logistics experience between them, there was some scepticism about the process improvement methods and a concern that this would negatively impact on the day job.

The team were encouraged to visualise their business as a system with interdependent processes. They identified the core processes and, alongside those who were working in the process, they mapped how they were being operated. They discovered that this was often different to how they thought they were being operated.

This single exercise was the catalyst for further change as the team start to appreciate that assumptions had been made about the way in which the work was performed.

The General Manager and his team also mapped out a typical day to get some sense of where their time was spent, in order to gain control of the work and standardise it so they could focus on doing the right things at the right time.

THE TEAM BEGIN TO ADDRESS THE 'THINGS THAT GET IN THE WAY'

Over the next 18 months, the team continued their improvement journey, supported by a dedicated PMI Consultant working alongside the General Manager. They developed a shared vision and ambition which everyone got behind; ‘Ensure stock is at the right place, at the right time, to the right quality, every time’.

The General Manager, with coaching, addressed the socio-emotional and political aspects, the behavioural ‘things that get in the way’ of the work being done. He spent time addressing concerns and engaging, listening and involving the whole team in the change to enable further improvement.

THEY EMPLOY 'STANDARDISE, MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE' METHODOLOGY

    • Focus is placed on building capability for the process owners, managers and operators of the various operations and enabling processes
    • They establish the ‘Best Known Way’ to operate the core processes, the measures that tell them how the processes perform and the systems to continually improve
    • Each key process is mapped with the ‘quick wins’ identified enabling them to streamline and standardise the processes
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are developed by the operators, communicated to other process team members and everyone is trained in the new standard
    • Visual Management Huddles are established with specific results and process measures linked to the Customer
    • ‘Huddles’ occur daily to a standardised process so that they can monitor and respond appropriately to process abnormalities
    • This structure aligns metrics at the Supervisor level (tactical) with those at the General Manager level (strategic).

The Results & benefits the customer achieved

The warehouse is clean, ordered and runs efficiently. Having multi-skilled people has led to greater operational flexibility – no more ‘standing around’ or paying for external agencies. There are clear accountabilities and responsibilities at each of the four process levels and a discipline of process management and monitoring. There is a ‘real time’ awareness of process performance at the right level, so there are no surprises. Staff are engaged, willing to share their improvement ideas and are proud of what they have achieved. They now:
    • Understand the importance of linking the Business Strategy with the everyday processes to enable that strategy
    • Can define and understand their customers’ needs, wants and expectations
    • Lead by process, engaging involving and listening to those who work in the process
    • Understand how the work is done
    • Lead by data, visualising, interpreting and responding appropriately to that data
Have achieved:
    • £301k savings in Year 1
    • 2% increase in outbound availability
    • 35% decrease of insufficient stock
    • 21 staff hours saved per day.

Simplification of over 200 Business Processes

Simplification of over 200 Business Processes

Europe’s Largest Rail Freight Company. 2000 Locations and 94,600 employees with a €19.8bn turnover.

This project was to design and implement business processes to support the introduction of a new Asset and Work Management System while a 25 year old IT system was replaced. We were able to help the organisation understand and rationalise processes as well as assisting in the redesign of many of the existing business processes involving the UK-wide field maintenance teams. Learn more about how we helped cut invoice times by up to 80%, increased speed of work reporting and defined and simplified over 200 existing business processes.

CHALLENGE

Design and implement business processes to support the introduction of a new Asset and Work Management System. This rail freight company required support as it attempted to replace a 25 year old IT system. As the business sought to turn itself around both commercially and operationally under a new leadership team, PMI was asked to help understand and rationalise the business processes. The total redesign of many of the existing business processes mostly involving the UK-wide field maintenance teams within tight time limits and a safety critical environment.

benefits

  • Specific Project benefits included:
  • Labour reporting radically simplified and accuracy improved
  • Definition and signification of over 200 existing business processes
  • Speed of work reporting significantly improved
  • Time to invoice cut by 80%
  • Number of FTE’s required to run billing cycle but by 75%
  • Key customer KPI’s automated
  • New business processes rolled out to field teams

PMI’S CONTRIBUTION

After initial discussion with the newly appointed divisional Managing Director, PMI carried out an intensive analysis and fact finding exercise which involved the collection of data, extensive business process/system research and interviews with key stake holders.

Problem became visible at an early stage and PMI authored a report based on the findings of the initial work. The recommendations were accepted in their entirety and PMI was asked to lead the business process redesign.

A steering team was established which was managed by PMI. Over the following 12 months PMI managed the day to day activities of the rollout working to design and implement new business processes and forms for the field maintenance teams across the UK.

The project as a whole involved strategic advice to leaders, organisational design consultancy and management of the user training programme. PMI also provided metoring services to managers as part of the handover of new processes. Most recently PMI has facilitated a work stream of improvement between Axiom and their largest 3rd party customer to enhance the way they work together.

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Focussed Improvement Team Projects

Focussed Improvement Team Projects

Leading building supplies manufacturer. 150 sites with 23,000 employees and a €5.6bn turnover

This client is an international manufacturer of building supply products who had previously dabbled with different improvement approaches and needed to use the same methodology to bring about standardisation of approach and make it easier to share findings/learnings. PMI introduced the organisation to a more concentrated Focused Improvement Team (FIT) approach. In first week alone, the team trialled and implemented changes to the process that resulted in a saving of £116,000 per annum in raw material costs.

CHALLENGE

The client is an international manufacturer of building supply products. The 2 UK sites had previously dabbled with different improvement approaches and needed to use the same methodology to bring about standardisation of approach and make it easier to share findings/learning. Previous approaches had been to jump in and problem solve ( usually though the introduction of expensive engineering changes).

Five members of the management team at one site had been Green Belt trained by PMI, however due to competing priorities their beachhead projects had not been further advanced.

BENEFITS

During the first week alone, the team trialled and implemented 3 changes to the process resulting in a saving in raw materials of £116,000 per annum at one site.

PMI’S CONTRIBUTION

After an initial assessment of the status of the projects by a PMI consultant, their recommendation was that several of the projects were good candidates for a more concentrated approach called a Focused Improvement Team (FIT).

This approach helps overcome usual work distractions and competing priorities. The FIT involves the Green Belt and process operators working full time for 1 week with a PMI consultant to complete on round of the Improvement Cycle to study, trial and implement changes to the process needing improvement.

This approach was used on the Standard project where the issue was consistently heavier than necessary board being produced due to incomplete understanding and management of the process of dosing the key raw materials.

During the FIT week PMI were able to demonstrate to the client that the first improvement idea one tries may not yield any tangible benefits and one just needs to persevere and try the next one. Also that improvement does not need to necessarily involve costly engineering change as the raw material savings were achieve at at no cost other than the time spent by the team and consultant during the FIT week.

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The story of how dots on a graph saved a company €15,000

The story of how dots on a graph saved a company €15,000

Background

A manufacturing facility uses a large fan as part of its production process. The fan is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The annual running costs for the fan is €280,000 per annum.

Making energy efficiency improvements

As part of their energy efficiency improvements, and inspired after taking part in a PMI Green Belt programme, the factory manager wanted to monitor all key processes in the factory using control charts.

The fans’ daily energy consumption was monitored and plotted on an Individuals and Moving Range control chart.  The chart, below, was started on 23rd May and showed the energy consumption was stable and predictable, with a small amount of variation.

Every 4 months the fan underwent a maintenance inspection and overhaul. On the 15th June, an inspection took place. The fan was checked, serviced and then put back into operation.

After a few days, the energy manager observed that all the points on the control chart were above the mean. With the chart showing 2 points outside the upper control limit, indicating something unusual was going on, they decided to keep a closer eye on the fans’ energy consumption.

Shewhart’s Western Electric Rule #4

On the 22nd June, after 8 days, there were 8 points above the mean, thus Western electric rule #4 was satisfied, and assignable cause variation was highlighted.

The energy manager immediately contacted the maintenance engineer and told them about this unusual behaviour.

An assignable cause is revealed

On the 24th June, the engineer returned and checked what they had done only to discover they had neglected to reset the set point in the software that operated the fan from maintenance, to operating conditions.

Once the set point was corrected the energy manager continued to monitor the fans’ energy consumption and was happy to note that the performance went back to the standard operation conditions.

If, as in the past, when the daily energy consumption was not being monitored, the errors would only have been revealed during the next set maintenance session, in 4 months’ time. That delay would have meant incurring costs of €15,000 in additional energy consumed.

Both the energy and factory manager were both convinced that the daily effort required of putting a single dot on a piece of graph paper had saved them €15,000!

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Strategic Year Plan Deployment through Hoshin Kanri

Strategic Year Plan Deployment through Hoshin Kanri

One of the largest European trading houses in the world with an annual turnover of 4.6 billion Euros and around 3000 employees.

CHALLENGE

This trading house had ambitious growth plans for their customers. While they had developed a comprehensive 2020 Strategy for realising these ambitions, they were missing a structured deployment plan.

PMI were approached to work on the deployment of a midterm improvement plan – this was achieved using the Hoshin Kanri process.

What is Hoshin Kanri?

The core of the Hoshin Kanri process involves the translation of a strategic plan into a set of clear objectives. These objectives are then realised through the delivery of tactical actions and projects. It’s value is two-fold:

  1. The clear and transparent alignment between activity and goals and a structured monitoring process
  2. The ownership and alignment generated at each level of the organisation. When this happens everyone feels part of the process, understands their role within it and are aligned to the organisation’s goals.

PMI’S CONTRIBUTION

PMI used the Hoshin Kanri process to plan and facilitate a range of workshops for the senior team, functional leads and operational staff  to translate the Strategic Plan into objectives and project identification and rationalisation.

PMI recommended the setting up of a Program M anagement Office (PMO) to manage and control data flows within the process, monitor project progress and revise theories (PDSA).

The organisation now have an effective and structured approach for deploying and cascading their strategic plan, a PMO and a priortised improvement mid-term year plan

OUTCOMES

The organisation now has:

  • A resource management and governance process, including a PMO, to monitor progress and revise theories
  • An effective and structured approach for deploying and cascading their strategic plan year on year
  • A project identification process
  • A resource planning process
  • A lessons learned review document to support the implementation of future year plans.
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Global Virtual Learning Programme

Global Virtual Learning Programme

Context

A Global IT function which provides services to the whole organisation group. There are 2000 staff, and the function also manages considerable outsourced resources. PMI has provided Business Improvement training since 2003.

With severe travel restrictions in place, training in process and quality improvement was still an important need across this global IT function. The learning team developed a solution that allowed delegates across 10 different geographical locations to experience the training as virtual learning whilst still retaining key features of team-working and team-building.

CHALLENGE

During 2010 severe restrictions were placed on travelling. However, there remained a world-wide need for training in process and quality improvement; to enable delegates to make easy improvements in their work area. Fourteen delegates were identified in 10 different locations with time zones ranging from -5 to +7 GMT. Discussions were held on how to respond to this need, providing training without travelling, but maintaining as far as possible the opportunity for the delegates to develop the type of capabilities they would have experienced had they participated in a classroom based course.

PMI’S CONTRIBUTION

We explored a number of alternatives with the client, after which we agreed the contents and mechanisms that built on PMI’s many years of development and experience in virtual training. The training process consisted of 10 4-hourly sessions hosted by PMI, over a 3 week period and was attended by the 14 delegates in real time. The sessions were held in the afternoon in the UK, to enable as much as possible the attendance by the delegates in normal working hours. The 4 hour sessions consisted of a mix of tutor led instruction, team-work using virtual break-out rooms, online videos and templates, Q&A sessions, and reflection time. In addition delegates also studied PMI’s online e-Learning modules, which remained available for self-study after the course.

Achievements

  • Delivery of 40-hours of virtual learning to 14 delegates in 10 graphically-dispersed locations
  • Enabled team-working and team-building in a virtual environment
  • 100% of delegates rated the course and course tutor 4 or 5 out of 5 (5=extremely satisfied) and would recommend the course to others
  • A state-of-the-art virtual learning environment was created, using proprietary software, enhanced by PMI’s award-winning e-learning modules, and library of video material
  • Extremely reliable delivery method, back-up by risk mitigation plans if the online connection dropped out
  • Delegates received a certificate of attendance. Nor project work or follow up was part of this intervention.
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Providing Bespoke Consulting Support

Providing Bespoke Consulting Support

25,000 employees in 68 countries with 160 Inland Service Operations and a $4.8bn annual turnover.

CHALLENGE

PMI were asked to work with this global logistics and transportation company across the Africa, Middle East region which has 10,000 employees, $1bn turnover. The company operate profitably within that region however this is not sustainable when faced with current and emerging challenges:

  • Political instability across the region
  • Worsening global economy affecting revenue
  • Significant asset base with limited expertise to maintain and improve it
  • Social issues, specifically Heath and Safety performance, which was unacceptable
  • Target of increasing profit by 16% in 2013

BENEFITS

Greater dialogue, engagement and alignment between Regional and Business Unit facilities, and BU to BU.
Functionally aligned improvement plans
Greater insight into losses and their associated costs so projects are targeting the right things.

As an illustration, One BU delivered:

  • 14% uplift in Volume
  • 10% improvement on Productivity
  • In 2012 there was greater than $1m savings identified across the region as a result of the above.

PMI’S CONTRIBUTION

PMI were engaged in order to support the business at Regional and Business Unit level.

Key components of this work included:

  • Working with the Regional CEO to define and describe the Business Aim
  • A series of Leadership alignment workshops, within the Regional office and Business units across the region PMI also provided specific,

Bespoke consulting interventions including:

  • Working alongside BU CEOs to design and enable specific, local improvement programmes
  • Focused Green Belt coaching and project support, enabling delivery of business critical projects to deliver the 2012 Objectives
  • Technical consulting around the principles, thinking and methods in Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
  • Systemic approach to coaching Commercial, Finance, HR, Engineering and Health & Safety functional managers.
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Ongoing Continuous Improvement

Ongoing Continuous Improvement

Leading global payment services company in 197 countries with 293,000 global agents and a $1.25bn turnover.

CHALLENGE

This global company wanted to explore how to support the drive to transform their everyday business processes. The company wished to increased customer satisfaction and enhance its competitive position by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of key business processes are both operated and managed.

The senior management team and the CEO identified the need to improve the way in which the company delivers its services to customers and agents. To achieve this, a significant cultural change was necessary for the way the business processes are both operated and managed.

Benefits

Specific Project benefits included:

  • Reducing Sumner of money holds from 1.5% to 1%
  • Reducing Middle East money holds from 8% to 4%
  • Reducing average call times by 15% globally
  • Improving customer experience

PMI’S CONTRIBUTION

PMI suggested that the priority is for programme leaders to understand the fundamental principles behind our improvement methodology. The programme leaders utilised the public traiing programme to ensure this was completed quickly ahead of a wiser organisation roll-out.

To support the on-going programme development, the option to call-off consultant support (either remote or in person) was provided by day or part hour. This support also included access to templates, advice, models, and coaching.

To accommodate the specific request to support global projects, an expert consultant was assigned to facilitate the project, support and guide the data collection, analysis and to involve the new business improvement team members.

As well as two waves of Green Belt training, wider project team members benefited from completing the PMI suite of e-Learning and project sponsors were supported through one to one coaching and joint training sessions with other sponsors.

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