Enhancing operational efficiency – Whewell engages LMI-UK for leadership development
Towards the end of 2016, the ownership of J&W Whewell changed, and the new owners had high ambitions of becoming a leading player in the global chemical arena, with the acquisition of J&W Whewell allowing the business to expand their European presence.
Since its formation in 1880, Radcliffe-based J&W Whewell has produced high quality specialty chemicals for a range of applications, building a strong reputation within the UK.
The new owners’ desire to have a UK plant led them to acquiring the business, providing an increased manufacturing footprint and capability, increased resources to support European clients and access to an existing customer base with longstanding relationships.
Following the acquisition of J&W Whewell, the key task was restructuring the plant and establishing clear processes to improve operational efficiency.
This involved promoting Nick Gleave from Laboratory Manager to Plant and Operations Manager, while Ian Collier was appointed Plant Supervisor, bringing with him a wealth of experience from other leadership positions.
As part of this operational overhaul and restructure, LMI Director John Watkinson was engaged to develop the new management team, delivering bespoke personal development programmes that would enhance internal motivation and leadership skills.
Given the magnitude and importance of the task, both Nick and Ian were interested in developing key skills alongside a reputable organisation like LMI-UK, who could tailor programmes to fit around their busy working schedules.
John Watkinson worked with J&W Whewell to identify a training programme that would successfully improve the operational efficiency of the plant following a period of transition.
Having successfully completed the LMI EPP course I would highly recommend it to managers at all levels. I have already implemented several concepts taught on the course and have noticed numerous improvements, not only in my own work but also the wider workforce. The course was delivered in a friendly, constructive and informative manner by John, for which I am most grateful.
Selected not just for the content, but for the way the concepts and information are delivered, the Effective Personal Productivity (EPP) programme showed the management team how to become more efficient within their roles.
Given the nature of the business, it was critical that both Nick and Ian were comfortable with delegation and could give tasks to other team members without negatively impacting daily operations.
The EPP programme showed them how to handle delegation appropriately, while also teaching the importance of prioritisation – making time for high pay off activities that would deliver noticeable results to the business.
These two key lessons were highlighted as being the most important during the development process, as it gave the new management team the skills needed to improve profitability and productivity within the plant.
Of course, the bespoke programme was delivered in manageable chunks by one of LMI’s most experienced directors, allowing important information to be well-retained until it became a habit.
Aside from the time-management benefits that the EPP programme delivered, a new culture of goal-setting, visualisation and self-motivation was established.
Since the delivery of the programme, J&W Whewell has reported noticeable improvements to the productivity and operational efficiency of the plant, allowing the transition period to run smoothly.
The new management team has estimated they are saving around £23,000 per annum, purely by dedicating time to high payoff tasks, while delegating other work to the wider team. With further benefits coming from improvements to product margins, health and safety management, contingency planning for Brexit and quality of blended products, the return on investment was less than one month.
However, more importantly, the EPP programme has helped both Nick and Ian learn the importance of staying on track, using self-motivation to overcome potential obstacles and deliver results for the business.
Having got to know Nick and Ian through the LMI EPP course I was really pleased to see how both applied themselves and how simple it was for them to improve their leadership capabilities throughout the course and they delivered some remarkable changes to their organisation. It was a pleasure and an honour to have taken them through this journey.
The information and lessons delivered has given the management team the tools needed to restructure the plant and oversee daily activities, inspiring the wider team to pull in the same direction.
The programme has highlighted the importance of time management, utilising working hours more effectively to achieve better results and drive the business forward.
Using this information as the foundations for future success, the plant is establishing transparent processes, allowing workers to adapt to the new structure and understand what is expected from the management team.
Through a commitment to multi-sensory learning, spaced repetition and a patient approachable mentor, like John Watkinson, J&W Whewell has discovered the formula for effective leadership development and improved operational efficiency. Additional development programmes are being planned to further develop key personnel at J&W Whewell following the success of Nick and Ian’s EPP.