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In such a busy industry, operatives need to know what to do when their requirements change. Some FM providers operate a Bronze, Silver and Gold system for clients whereby cleaners have a clear expectation of what is needed in various circumstances. If a train arrives with more passengers than expected (during a large scale event for example), the supervisor can upgrade the cleaning level thus deploying more resources in that area. These plans need to be developed through a deep understanding of the clients’ priorities.

Also, should there be a late arrival, or early departure, the scope can be downscaled to concentrate on what is ‘Critical to Quality’ for the customer.


CREATING A ‘LEAN CULTURE’ Designing and developing a

Lean methodology is just the start of the process – the next stage is much more difficult. As Mitie’s Business Excellence Director Jon Lightowler describes: “Designing innovation is the easy part – the big challenge is to lead people to do things differently.” It’s not enough to simply implement Lean across contracts, in order to make real gains for clients, a ‘Lean culture’ needs to be created to continuously develop Lean knowledge and stay on top of industry developments.

For example, the Lean Academy is Mitie’s in-house training resource that has supported nearly two hundred people in foundation, yellow and green belt qualifications accredited by the National Open College Network. The courses encompass several online modules and are designed to be completed alongside the regular roles of Mitie’s teams.

In order to gain the green belt qualification, trainees have to implement a project on a contract they are working on that brings both efficiency savings and performance improvements to the client. Investing heavily in developing this culture has created an invaluable resource of Lean experts who recognise the importance of Lean to both us and the client.

48 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning January 2016 Harnessing the power of

Lean and sharing it with our people has allowed us to

really excel in service delivery and anticipate problems before they occur.


MAKES LEAN WORK There are a lot of examples of how companies like Mitie have used Lean methodologies to improve clients’ operations. At one of Mitie’s major airport clients we hold regular ‘innovation forums’ where suppliers are invited to demonstrate their latest products to the panel. They are then encouraged to design bespoke products with the airport’s unique requirements in mind. Suppliers are also invited to walk around the airport and speak to the teams on the ground. This gives them a real feel of what will genuinely help improve our efficiency.

Before Mitie developed a cohesive Lean strategy we were performing well, winning and retaining contracts. But harnessing the power of Lean and sharing it with our people has allowed us to really excel in service delivery and anticipate problems before they occur.

We recently implemented Lean across one of our major rail clients with a view

to improve their satisfaction rates in the National Passenger Survey (NPS). The data gathered through our work with the client allowed us to:

• Track data so that the passenger voice is heard when making key decisions.

• Focus on a number of key elements essential to the passengers, including: Environment, Upkeep, Cleanliness, Toilets and Approach.

• Actively engage with passenger surveys supporting customer service teams.

• Utilise cleaning resources effectively and efficiently to make maximum impact to the passengers’ perception from actual cleanliness improvements.

• Drive improvements through regular site visits and business improvement plans.

This detailed approach and the dedication of the management team has seen customer satisfaction rates rise from around 70% before Mitie taking on the contract, to 76% during our most recent audit.

Harnessing the power of Lean and sharing it with our people has allowed us to really excel in service delivery and anticipate problems before they occur.

Making Lean principles work for transport clients is something that requires a real relationship and in-depth knowledge of how their business works. The overall purpose of any transport contract is to make every passenger experience a great and safe one and, although you can build a strong foundation with data, theory and IT solutions, you need to really understand the complex issues that influence the passengers’ experience in order to improve it.

We firmly believe in the impact that Lean can bring into the contract and have seen it work time and time again for the client. Our large investment has been justified by this success and we are certainly looking to extend our Lean practices in the near future.

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