Transforming productivity in Indiana

Programme type: Business improvement
Sector: Manufacturing

The challenge

In 1999 in his role as Vice-President and Team Leader, Global Business Improvement Bill led a project at a BICC factory in Indiana employing around 250 people. The project was created soon after its acquisition and a major turn-around was required. On the day he arrived 25% of the staff was laid off as dramatic cost-cutting was required. The situation was serious.

To add to the challenge Bill had been asked to transfer the methodology he and his team were using in Europe to the USA. Bill had interviewed candidates from BICC in America and selected a team of five. Bill plus two of his European team took on the ‘on-the-job’ task of creating a US mirror of themselves.

team hired to save bicc

The solution

The methodology comprised of a two week ‘pre-analysis’ which Bill completed alone in the US. This triggered the development of an in-depth analysis, designed by Bill, focused on the main gaps he identified. Bill met the local Unions, of which there were 5 represented on site, explained the detailed analysis that was to be undertaken and when it would be finished. To their surprise he also told them that they would hear the outcome at the same time as management – both local and ‘Group’ management. The analysis was completed on schedule and the required improvements and their impact were modelled. A major turn-around was possible, with many basic aspects of the business requiring attention. The team then prepared the improvement project plan with local management who then presented it to the workforce. This style of management taking ownership for a change has been Bill’s mantra for over 30 years, “consultants leading the change is a recipe for failure’’ he reflects.

progress and improvement in 2000

The outcome

Success was the outcome, and on many levels. One year after arrival the employees who had been laid off had returned. In four months process efficiency rose by a third, scrap was reduced by more than a half and delivery performance was transformed. Over $5m of efficiency savings were achieved.

hats off to business improvement team

Roll-on 15 years and 2015 it was awarded a ‘Best Factory’ Award and in 2017 was the site of an $18m investment. Bill is enormously proud of the leadership and hard work that was put in and of the amazing team of professionals that went in with him.

At least two generations will benefit from high value jobs.

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