Productivity Through People

Productivity Through People

A ten-month programme in partnership with three world class manufacturers; BAE Systems, Siemens and Rolls-Royce, designed to support and invest in the manufacturers of tomorrow. Gain access to the latest techniques, thinking and research to transform your productivity and working practices.

About the Programme

You'll begin with a residential induction, which is a two-day overnight event made up of leadership exercises, focused discussions and peer-to-peer learning. Stepping outside of your workplace, you'll be encouraged to think about your business differently and reflect on your current practices. This experience is designed to develop trust amongst the participants, breaking down the barriers to learning and providing opportunities to connect your new knowledge to real-life situations.

Following this, you'll participate in a series of elements to develop your knowledge and skills as well as an unparalleled opportunity to meet key people from leading UK organisations where excellence in productivity lies at the heart of business. You will have access to gold standard manufacturing organisations including BAE Systems, Siemens and Rolls-Royce.  These companies will demonstrate how they have transformed their workplace by putting employee engagement at the very centre of their improvement processes.

Next Programme Start: Autumn 2020

Printed Cup case study

Burlington Stone case study

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Programme Elements

The Productivity Through People Programme includes two non-consecutive days away from the workplace every month. You'll participate in a range of challenges, workshops and tasks to develop the tools and techniques to transform your productivity and working practices, and the focus on practical learning means there are no formal assessments. You may need to do some pre-reading, and you'll be expected to contribute via the online forum. 

Get in touch

To discover more about the Productivity Through People programme, and how it could transform your organisation, please complete our enquiry form and we'll be in touch shortly.

The Benefits

This programme will help you to empower and engage front line staff leading to better usage of skills and abilities, transforming management practices and developing leadership skills.You will develop a support network of other SME owner/managers to build a more productive future together, and the exposure to world-class manufacturing environments will enable you to formulate high-performance workplace strategies.

Printed Cup Company - Racing away from the competition

Clitheroe-based Printed Cup Company are the experts in bespoke, recyclable printed paper cups. They are the fastest manufacturer of printed cups in the world, designing and dispatching in under 24 hours.

Following her promotion to Operations Director, Sarah Emery wanted to look at the company’s manufacturing processes. Having previously participated in a LUMS leadership programme, Sarah was introduced to the Productivity through People programme. “I wanted to find out how to take my company to the next level” and this programme was just right, with its emphasis on learning in different settings and from industry, academics and fellow delegates, it seemed like the natural progression.

“I had no preconceived ideas about what I wanted to get out of the programme and went in with an open mind. I soon realised there were some key changes we needed to make in the business – such as recording and reducing waste. ‘’I knew the best way to do this was to engage the staff on the shop floor, who are after all the experts and look at the best ways to get everyone on board with doings things differently.’’

Being on Productivity through People has transformed how Sarah sees her business, recognising that making specific, complementary changes to working practices can have major business impacts. For example, following her time on the programme, Sarah set up a regular series of operations management meetings to ensure that no issues get put on hold and that a wider range of colleagues can share knowledge and ideas.

The site visits to large businesses have also inspired Sarah to see how large firm productivity practices can be applied to smaller business. The involvement of the three world leading industry partners was a key attraction, she says. “Seeing how these global companies like Siemens, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems want to support SMEs was truly inspirational. Even though our businesses are world’s apart, I’ve learnt more from them than I could possibly have imagined. The mentoring they provided during the programme has given me huge confidence for the future of my business.”

Sarah has now introduced ways of more accurately measuring and analysing production output, capacity and machine utilisation rates. This has enabled the company to more effectively assess its capacity to meet future orders and to identify capital investment requirements. Sarah has also created a “capacity board”, highlighting areas of high and low productivity. All of this has helped her to identify how to increase productivity as well as optimum staffing levels and training needs.

The programme has also helped to increase  Sarah’s ambitions for the business. She has identified some 20 further changes she wants to make to drive the business forward in the longer term and regularly refers to the programme delegate pack to inform her thinking on the changes needed and how to implement them.

In making the changes to her business, Sarah has put into practice the principles embedded throughout the programme, in particular the opportunities for her and her colleagues to learn from other people’s experiences, making them receptive to new ways of working. She adds the peer network is a real lasting benefit. “You get access to 15-20 companies in the North West who are willing to share a wealth of experience. Its incredible how much you get out of it.” Sarah continues to bounce ideas with fellow delegates.

Taking part in the programme has also opened doors to the range of skills and expertise that exists across the wider university. Sarah has worked with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation to design a product development Masters programme and has successfully recruited a student to work with her to design and develop fully recyclable single-use coffee cups.

Having made improvements to processes and boosted cost efficiency, Printed Cup Company is now better equipped to face future challenges. “Productivity through People just landed at the perfect time for us – I’d strongly recommend it to any manufacturing business.”

Printed Cup Company

Burlington Stone - Paving the Way for Success

Rob Cooper has been at Burlington Stone for 30 years, having joined straight from school and worked his way up in the business. The company, based in Kirkby-in-Furness in Cumbria, make high quality products using natural stone, which has been quarried for over 400 years from the heart of the English Lake District.

Spurred on by the appointment of a new Director who wanted to implement some new thinking, Rob felt that the business needed to change how it worked, and found Productivity through People had all the answers he needed to take the business forward in the 21st century economy. As Rob explained, “In a traditional, natural resource-based industry, the pace of change can often be slow. I knew that we needed to explore new ways to make the manufacturing process more productive.” He was attracted to Productivity through People by the range of support on offer and the opportunity to learn from other delegates, large companies and academics

One of the key benefits of the programme has been in helping Rob to identify specific changes to working practices that, when implemented together, can lead to larger benefits. “This has been a key insight for me. Its not so much about coming up with one big idea, but lots of smaller ideas that combined together are greater than the sum of their parts.”

Rob has introduced a range of new methods, including greater use of visualisation tools, employee engagement and incentive schemes. He now regularly bringing people together from different aspects of the business, such as the manufacturing and retail sides, to share ideas and learn from each other. Rob also now involves a wider range of workers in business decisions, breaking down hierarchal barriers. Rob is really enthusiastic about how readily his colleagues have put his ideas into practice. “Staff from across the company from the Board to the production line to the shop floor have all bought into the changes I’ve sought to make. This new collaborative approach is definitely the way we’ll work in future." He adds that, “The benefits can already be seen in better performances on company production metrics.

The programme has also led Rob to make a conscious effort to build reflection into this work. In a busy work environment this is hard to do, but this thinking time away from the business has been vital in helping him to identify further potential improvements to working practices and how to make the most effective use of staff time at work. “You need to make time to plan,” he says.

Rob will continue to reflect on what he’s learned on the programme and on how he can use this to continue to drive change in the business in the longer term. Rob would be very happy to work with Lancaster University again to address future challenges and exploit the opportunities they present. This could include, for example, digital technologies, which whilst not a major part of the business now, have the potential to become more important in the future. “Digitalisation is what everyone in manufacturing is talking about at the moment,” says Rob. “We still need to think through what this will mean for our business, but its great to know that Lancaster University is there to help us figure it out.”

Rob appreciated Productivity through People’s blended learning approach. He has benefitted from rich and varied discussions with peers from range of industries, as well as learning from the major industry partners. The working practices benchmarking has also been a great yardstick against which to assess working practices and through the programme to have a more accurate picture of his and his company’s capabilities.

Taking part in Productivity through People has shown Rob that old businesses in traditional industries can be as innovative as any firm, and that new ways of working can give it a new lease of life. “Putting into practice what I’ve learnt from Productivity through People means that at Burlington, together everyone is achieving more as a team.”

Printed Cup Company
Business people

"It’s not that people are our best asset – it’s that at the end of the day they are any organisation’s only asset. Engaging employees in the mission and purpose of the company, and really empowering them to do the job as effectively as possible, lies at the heart of successful organisations.” 

Nigel Whitehead, Chief Technology Officer, BAE Systems


Costs & Apply

This programme has received significant investment from the industrial partners, both in its design and finance. As a result the subsidised cost of this programme is £2,500 per delegate. For more details or to join our next programme, please get in touch with us before completing an Application Form.




Our Partners

The Productivity Through People programme is proud to have investment partners in Lancaster University and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, and work with the Northwest Aerospace Alliance.

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