Bents Garden Centre based in Warrington, is on a journey over the next few years to create a one-stop shop, providing visitors with a quality alternative to large-scale shopping centres, without losing any of the choice, quality or levels of service. As part of that journey, the garden centre called upon the services of Gosport-based LEAN business specialists, Fedden USP working in partnership with MIT Skills, to improve overall efficiencies across the business.
Bents had previously worked with Fedden USP five years ago to review the processes in its restaurant and the results were so successful that they had no hesitation in calling them back to streamline processes and improve delivery across a wide range of areas. Goods-in, Good-out, shop retail and staff training were just some of the areas targeted for review.
Neil Fedden, Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Fedden USP, undertook a 5-day Business Improvement Techniques (BITS) NVQ Level 2 Workshop for the first 12 members of the Bents’ team. The workshop covered everything from Lean Theory to Process Mapping to action planning for improvement projects to be implemented over the next 12 months.
Level 2 NVQ Qualifications
Lean Business Specialists with Fedden USP followed up the workshop by visiting the course delegates each Friday for two months to assess how the projects were progressing, offering guidance and support where needed. Planned meetings with the delegates now take place once a month to review their work, how it is being implemented and to plan further project improvements. The delegates will be awarded an NVQ Level 2 qualification on the successful implementation of three improvement projects at the end of 12 months.
It is still early days, but the results of the Lean training have so far been very positive with savings in terms of time and money being made in a number of areas, as well as improvements made to the quality and delivery of goods. Some of the improvements are simple but effective, such as the creation of Shadow Boards, which highlight all of the items needed daily to carry out a specific task; they were initially implemented in the Toy Shop, but have now been rolled out across the business. The introduction of Workstations in the Pricing Warehouse has also resulted in significant improvements in efficiency.
The Lean training is also upskilling the workforce at Bents and contributing to their personal development by providing each of the delegates with a nationally recognised NVQ Level 2 qualification.
Paul Tranter, Loss Prevention Manager at Bents commented: “Neil and his colleagues were excellent to work with – very professional and able to adjust to all levels of people in their communication. The results so far have been very promising from the initial group with improved costs in time, damages and breakages now filtering through. We are planning to send the whole of our workforce of 400 through this training over the next few years.”
Neil Fedden added: “The delegates were all keen to learn and enjoyed the training and the impact it’s having, making life easier for them with the tools and techniques delivered. I am very much looking forward to working with them for the foreseeable future and to see the results from the training.”