- Introduce and deploy a structured approach to process improvement Enable analysis and measurement of performance
- Deliver tangible benefits that impacted upon programme delivery
- Enabled the organisation to be self sufficient in addressing future opportunities
The approach we recommended was essentially a pragmatic one, combining the need to equip people with the capability to undertake improvement projects in the short term, with the desire to have expert support working alongside them to guide, mentor and deliver benefits over the longer term. We introduced a team of Lean Sigma master black belts to lead the programme and provide consistency in transferring Lean Sigma skills to Highways England’s own personnel.
An early step was to identify and train champions drawn from the core construction team to provide internal leadership for the programme. We ensured a steering group was established to oversee the necessary checks and balances that such a major change of approach entailed, and to ensure ongoing alignment with operational goals. With them we agreed and monitored timing plans, resources, measures and benefits.
Managing for Success
Next we identify the most appropriate projects to kick start the approach. These needed to be high profile, achievable and capable of reaping significant benefit in order to gain early credibility. Once these were underway, we set up and lead monthly project reviews and quarterly programme reviews both to ensure that projects were on track and that the rolled up benefits were contributing to contract performance improvement. A key role was the ongoing training and mentoring of Black and Green belts as they identified and delivered their own improvement projects.
From the start, we developed sound working relationships with Highways England’s customers and suppliers of contracted services to ensure that all parties were aware of changes to processes and able to adapt to the new ways of working.
We worked with Highways England to develop and co-ordinate a programme of discrete process improvement projects. These attacked known problem areas within specific schemes and were tackled by a powerful combination of our Lean Sigma Master Black Belts and Highways England’s growing cadre of Black and Green Belts. Using the proven DMAICT methodology and integrating Lean and Six Sigma tools, we helped people to identify the root causes of performance problems and implement a raft of new processes to eliminate waste and variation.
Bourton trained Champions, Black Belts and Green Belts, then provided full time Master Black Belt support to help identify improvement opportunities and mentor the internal resources. This ensured that optimum benefit was gained from the methodology and that people had the confidence to take projects forward on their own in the future.
The team are now fully self-sufficient and senior managers are looking to replicate the same improvements in other parts of the Highways England organisation.