Driving customer value through our lean journey

Creating customer value is at the heart of BOFA’s business ethos…and nowhere is this more clearly expressed than in the company’s increasingly successful lean improvement programme.

From small steps just a few years ago to major production process transformations, our lean initiative is now fundamental to enhancing value for customers, and improving our business performance.

Any process we undertake, whether it is in the office or on the shop floor will include both ‘Value added’ and ‘Non-value added’ steps, with ‘Non-value added’ activities regarded as ‘Waste’.

Traditionally, improvement targets would focus on the value added element and aim to do it more quickly. The lean approach is very different: Champions focus on the Non-value added activities and look for ways to remove them, which leads to greater gains.

The ability to identify and remove these wastes is a key contributor to a continuous improvement programme that is going deeper into every area of our business.

BOFA started on its lean journey in 2015, with a six-month training scheme that created an internal resource capable of taking forward our process improvement activity. Out of this initiative emerged a team of people whose aptitude, dedication to innovation and drive always to strive for optimal performance energised the entire initiative.

We kick-started the programme with small scale ‘just do it’ activities to demonstrate how even minor changes can make a big impact. These ‘easy’ wins acted as proof points and galvanised enthusiasm for the follow-on ‘Success’ projects, which went deeper into production processes and introduced measurable KPIs across key functions.

Today, the results speak for themselves, because alongside the more efficient work spaces inherent in lean practices, there have been some major wins.

These include the success of a year-long project to improve the manufacturing process of one of BOFA’s most complex product lines. By identifying the ‘Wastes’ in the process and removing them, this technology is now produced 20% quicker than with the predecessor process improving our ability to satisfy the needs of our customers.

At the same time, our Operations team has implemented tiered meetings structured under standard headings of SAFETY, QUALITY, DELIVERY, COST and CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. All levels of the business are involved, from shop floor supervisors and their teams all the way up to the Operations Director, helping to drive daily communication and quick resolution of issues.

As a result of this, ‘On Time, In Full’ deliveries now stand at 98%, safety is at record levels, and we are seeing significant improvement across all the key measures. There are many more projects in the pipeline, as the lean team works through new and established product lines and expands its remit to include many commercial and office-based functions.

A critical component of lean and one which is often forgotten is the positive impact on the culture and engagement of teams across the business. There is now a greater sense of product and process ownership across the company and staff suggestions for improvements are at a record high, as we look to engage the process experts in the identification and removal of waste.

Above all though, it is the value created for customers that defines the success of lean at BOFA. With shorter lead times, quicker deliveries, improved quality, more agile working and faster change-over times for products, no wonder feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive.