Rod’s Words of Wisdom image


Rod’s Words of Wisdom

Written by Jason Gledhill, Engagement Leader at LI Europe.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting on the M42, watching the traffic slowly inch forward, when the gravelly-voiced crooner, Rod Stewart, came on the radio. As I listened to Rod singing ‘Ooh La La’, the lyrics, “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger”, caught my imagination.

I started thinking back over my life and of all the learning opportunities (more commonly known as mistakes) that I have lived through. I won’t bore you with the details of every learning opportunity I’ve experienced; after all, I am only writing a blog and not a novel.

Looking back to the start of my CI journey, one of my first major projects was implementing 5S across a soft drinks’ factory. Every part of the factory, from offices to production lines, engineering and warehouse needed to be 5S’d. Two years later the factory was completed, external auditors visited, and after an intense and intimidating 2-day audit, we were finally signed off as a gold standard site.

Throughout that 2-year period, we re-visited our Setting techniques numerous times. Pallet spaces were initially solid yellow blocks, then yellow outlines of blocks and finally four yellow corners. Lettering on floors started as painted stencils until we discovered that ink from date-code printers lasted a lot longer.

If I were to implement 5S again, the knowledge I have now would make the process a lot faster, but where can you get that knowledge? We can read books, visit other sites and trial and test methods, but this can be a long and drawn out process.

Imagine if you could easily gather knowledge and insight, drawing on the experience of other like-minded people. People who have made the mistakes you are going to make. People who can talk you through the pitfalls of different processes. People just like you. Imagine how easy your life as a Continuous Improvement Manager would be.

What if I were to tell you that there is a select group of CI managers that meet on a regular basis. These managers come from a range of Blue-Chip companies and have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They are all members of the Ambassadors Academy which is run by LI Europe.

Every month they get together and have the opportunity to share their frustrations and explain their problems to each other. Through the shared knowledge of the group, these problems are put into perspective, and plans are formulated to deliver the desired results. This structure allows these elite members to map out where they want to go on their CI journey, and more importantly, how to get there.

Ambassador Academy membership isn’t open to everyone; only those prepared to share valuable learning experiences are eligible to join. To find out more about TAA membership visit the Academy web page.


What we’re doing is great. I’ve been wanting help like this for what seems ages, the structure for problem solving makes it easy for everyone to get involved.

Cell Technical Expert, Multi-Site Household Goods Company

Firstly, Reckitt Benckiser and LI pulled together to improve efficiency levels and there was a focus on both external and internal resources. Before LI arrived efficiency was not good. Secondly, there was good methodology and training using operators to support its implementation. Thirdly, there was daily and hourly focusing on performance. Since LI left, improvements have been sustained.

Bart Derde, Supply Projects Director (Europe), Reckitt Benckiser