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Spotlight on Food & Drink: Lean On Us

Andy Marsh, Managing Director, Turner & Townsend Suiko, discusses the appetite for lean collaborative thinking…

No business can afford to stand still. Organisations need to constantly change, evolve and grow.  In the spirit of practicing what we preach, Suiko recently merged with Turner & Townsend, to form Turner & Townsend Suiko.

Together our dedicated areas of business excellence and expertise provide a compelling proposition. Ostensibly, at the heart of each business is a rigorous and uncompromising focus on achieving improved outcomes for our clients.

Project and programme management is a fundamental management skill that every business needs in order to drive through and sustain successful change.  Turner & Townsend’s world class programme and project management expertise provides the perfect cultural fit with our track record for implementing lean, coupled with our solid reputation for helping clients build their internal capability to drive sustainable results.

Lean Programme Management

The fusion of programme and project management combined with lean, spells out a whole new future for operational excellence, organisational change leadership and continuous improvement, right across the value stream.  Already we can see the benefits and rewards of this approach throwing up a bounty of opportunity for our clients, and we are only just getting started.

Suiko, as a business has diversified over time. Our heartland is in manufacturing and food and drink, but over the years we have we successfully explored many other sectors, from healthcare, hospitality and education, to facilities management and construction.

Lean practices and philosophies overlaid with strategic programme and project management provide a unique and powerful platform, coupled with a wealth of complementary skills and perspectives. In addition to introducing Turner & Townsend to the food industry, we are now proactively challenging our existing experiences in food and drink with renewed vigour, spurred on by a collaborative mind set.

Together we recognise the hefty opportunity that lean project and programme management provides in response to optimising the supply chain, the peaks and troughs in customer demand and helping to identify and eliminate waste.  With the industry locked in by the retailers to increase the pace of product and brand innovation, there is a clear dichotomy. Innovation managed well can propel companies and brands to lofty heights, but equally innovation managed badly can have dramatic effects on the supply chain, namely becoming less responsive and resulting in the bullwhip effect. Our collective approach to lean starts with the voice of the customer and the need for greater end to end transparency.

Full Circle

When it comes to lean, the food and drink industry has matured and developed significantly over the past few years, driven very much by retailer pressure.  As a result, we see less of a requirement for lean within the operational sphere. This initially drove our need to diversify, and in tandem, the requirement to develop and fine tune our end to end thinking to meet market demand. We remain excited by the real opportunity for lean, encompassing the whole value stream.

Ironically, our diversification into other sectors, recently cemented through our collaboration with Turner & Townsend, opens the doors even wider for our presence in the food and drink industry.  Through a broader breadth of experience, we can now see how other aspects of food and drink can be impacted upon by lean.

For example lean construction in premises and facilities management, as well as at the important design and build stage within food and drink facilities. We see a huge and growing opportunity for end to end thinking starting early on at the building’s inception through to full onsite programme and project management.

A combined lean programme management process is capable of supporting all critical stages of the infrastructure, specification and building development. And that’s only just the start of it. The end to end vision continues right through into the true fabric of the building, to encompass the strategic operational and cultural entity of the organisation, and its many stakeholders.

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