Invest Northern Ireland team making an £11.5 million impact on local businesses


The Operational Excellence Team from Invest NI (formerly known as the Productivity Improvement team) helps develop Northern Ireland businesses competitive advantage by increasing their productivity and profitability.

Our approach is results driven, adaptable and proven to deliver significant measurable benefits in the performance of people, processes and operations across all sectors and sizes of business.

This support and approach has helped businesses who have engaged with the team during 2017 – 18 deliver £11.5 million of financial impact to their bottom line. This has been delivered through improvements to throughput, capacity, quality, delivery and lead times.

The team provide practical engagement across the entire enterprise from boardroom to shop-floor to improve and transform operations to drive measurable and sustainable benefits. This approach helps businesses maximise their available resources to become more competitive, efficient and profitable, in other words to make the work – Easier, Better, Faster, Cheaper.

We regularly assist businesses to introduce new concepts, tools and techniques that can effectively and efficiently improve many areas of their business. Addressing non value-adding activity within business processes can typically result in a productivity improvement of at least 25%-30%. This approach will help your business maximise the available resources so you can be more efficient and profitable.

Leckey a local company the team has engaged with recently presented at our Operational Excellence conference ‘Transform your Business | Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement’. You can view their presentation here..

Many organisations who start out on the Operational Excellence journey struggle to fully adopt and embed Continuous Improvement throughout the organisation. They encounter numerous obstacles along the way including changing the culture across the organisation, identifying the right initiatives, getting staff and first line leaders engaged and involved, aligning people with the business strategy.

The team help business embed a range of principles, tools and techniques, including:

  • Waste identification and elimination
  • Visual displays, controls and management
  • Practical Problem Solving
  • Daily Continuous Improvement
  • Workflow improvement
  • Set-up Reduction
  • Bottleneck management and improvement
  • Strategy deployment and alignment

The team has a track record in helping local companies of all sizes and from all sectors address these issues. Hear now from some local companies who have recently engaged with the team.

A key element in Continuous Improvement is developing the problem solving skills within a business. The team utilise the A3 approach to problem solving. The term A3 refers to the size of paper used to convey the improvement or problem solve storyboard, but the power of the tool lies in the thinking behind the approach as it guides you through the Plan – Do – Check – Act (PDCA) cycle.

This is a structured way to guide problem solving within your business and as such provides a common approach to address problems and to get your people engage with problem solving. We recently highlighted how four local companies used the A3 approach to deliver financial benefits in excess of £1 million.

The team are particularly keen to show how Lean Thinking and these techniques and others can be used in non-manufacturing companies. They can be contacted through our Business Support Team or Tel 0800 181 4422 to discuss next steps.

However enquiries from any businesses are welcome. To start your journey why not watch our Driving competitiveness through lean thinking tutorial.