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£2.5M costs saved at The Children's Society

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Results & ROI

  • Supported a concurrent cost reduction programme, resulting in £2.5M of savings
  • Trained 128 leaders (96%) out of 133, with more to follow
  • Rolled out Information Centres across five Directorates (28 out of an identified 33 to date)
  • Initiated physical 5S across six major office locations (including headquarters and regional hubs)
  • Established a team of four Lean Champions and completed training to ensure skills transfer

The client

The Children’s Society (TCS) is a charity with a mission to fight child poverty, neglect and help children have a better chance in life. TCS had little prior experience with continuous improvement. After a proof of concept recruitment review, TCS embarked on an organisational diagnostic, followed by a full Lean Transformation programme.

The challenge

The Lean Transformation programme was commissioned to support TCS’ strategic intent to become high performing, agile and efficient. The programme ran alongside a Cost Reduction work-stream, to save time and effort for staff where roles and resources had been affected. The main challenges were supporting the reduction in headcount and the organisation in moving towards a stable, agile and efficient core. Supporting public-facing departments to maintain service levels, despite some teams being reduced by as much as 60%, posed challenges of staff engagement, availability and motivation. Internal communications and maintaining momentum alongside significant staff turnover also required sensitive handling.

The approach

The programme had two strands – firstly, implementing Lean Foundations across the charity (Information Centre roll-out, 5S, Lean for Leaders training, embedding Lean Champions) and secondly, re-designing twelve key processes within various directorates. The foundation work was designed to help TCS achieve cultural change, with the process reviews aimed at maximising customer value and eliminating waste. The ultimate objective was to enable TCS to do more for less, following the Cost Reduction programme.

Scope was defined by the organisational diagnostic findings and consultation with senior leaders. The initial process redesigns were prioritised on what would bring the most financial benefit and resource capacity. Each process was divided into two distinct stages: Re-design and Implementation. Process maps and implementation plans were produced across the twelve areas, along with a set of effective measures to understand performance.

The benefits

  • Launched new processes for Ringfenced & Restricted Income bidding, Recruitment and Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Redesign completed and implementation currently ongoing for Repairs & Maintenance, Marketing & communications planning, Case-recording, Purchase to pay (incl. Recharges), Sales invoicing, GPC and IS asset management
  • Supported Retail team with a new “Lean” approach to work – currently estimating an additional £200k saving (not included in the Cost Reduction programme)

“We chose Lean to support substantial structural change and to create a culture of continuous improvement. Having worked with Ad Esse previously, The Children’s Society engaged them to help design and lead this programme.”

Liz Walker | Finance and Corporate Services Director