Why do some improvement initiatives fail? image


Why do some improvement initiatives fail?

Written by Nathanial Marshall, Practitioner at LI Europe.

Once the spotlight is taken away from an area of focused improvement, many Manufacturing Managers are concerned about the sustainability of these improvements. We would all like to live in an ideal world where individuals continue to own and drive improvement activity but the truth is, people often get bogged down in the daily grind of operations.

If this sounds familiar, it’s worth knowing the answers to these 3 questions before starting an improvement programme:

  1. Who will act as the conscience for the improvement initiatives to ensure they are on track?
  2. After the period of focused improvement, who will continue to engage the shop floor in the
    improvement, celebrate and share success, and help remove roadblocks along the way?
  3. Is anyone on your site trained in delivering and coaching key improvement and sustainability tools which will drive the right focus, engagement, behaviours and ultimately improvement?

As a key part of our sustainability improvement model (SIM), we advocate each site trains an Improvement Champion. Typically, we find candidates for the role already exist on site, either as part of the management team or the shop floor.

We execute a See-Try-Do approach when training client’s CI champions, the same as we do with our own practitioners.  With each iteration of the training, our support reduces until they are fully signed off to deliver training themselves.

I recently went back to visit a factory where I had previously trained several Improvement Champions in our improvement and sustainability tools. By using the See-Try-Do approach across a series of improvement workshops, each targeting >£100k of annualised savings, the CI Champions had become self-sufficient to deliver their site improvement targets without any external support.

The site has since delivered year on year savings in efficiency and waste and has continued to make progress in the SIM which now incorporates improvement workshops in their annual strategic plan.

For more on the See-Try-Do approach and the benefits it can deliver, download the full case study.

And if you are disappointed with your current improvement programme or worried about its sustainability, get in touch.



I believe that the project has been the catalyst for some big changes in the way we operate and think. Your presence, support, enthusiasm and ability to engage the personnel involved has been integral to this.

Keith Bassett, Plant Manager, KR Castlemaine

Before LI came we were facing the looming recession as a premium supplier with huge pressures on our margins from the trade. By improving our efficiencies we have been able to maintain our bottom line over the current ‘crisis’. I would recommend LI Europe to any Food or Pharma business that wants to achieve rapid and sustainable productivity improvement.

Andrew Shaw, Supply Chain Director, Seven Seas