Churchill Consulting

Case study: Improving operational performance for national logistics organisation

Case study: Improving operational performance for national logistics organisation

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  • Category:Case Study
  • Offering:Strategy
  • Industry:Project and Change Management

Churchill was engaged by a large, global logistics firm with large multi-year, multi-million dollar, service contracts to improve its management operating system, or a ‘way of working’.

Working across 40+ national sites, the goal was to foster a culture of performance improvement by designing a new way of working for operational and commercial teams, with data insights driving decision making.

We built a new management operating system with ‘end-users’ at the core – providing a new way of working to operations, commercial, and senior managers across this large company and setting out for a business how people, process and technology interact, to make better decisions and improve performance.

The Challenge

The initial interviews with site teams (our end-users) identified two key problems to solve:
• A shortage of timely and user-friendly operations information and data, needed for trend analysis and improvements, beyond the data what was generated for billing or quality reporting for clients.
• Poor visibility of contract assumptions, targets and requirements, leading to scope creep or revenue leakage.

We observed that efficiency losses were coming from:
• Disaggregated ways of working across the business, not accessing the intellectual and tangible assets of the broader business.
• The client’s highly diverse customers and industries requiring expertly tailored service delivery approaches to each contract.

Taking a Design Thinking approach to operational improvement

To meet the user-led design brief, Churchill deployed a 14-week design thinking process to activate >45 operational and commercial representatives, across all levels of the business, a variety of operations, and from each state in Australia.

A blended Churchill and client team led a design thinking process working through a series of stages:

Empathise > Define > Ideate > Prototype > Test

Empathise and Define: This included 1:1 interviews and workshops, to diagnose the issues and challenges, and determine the requirements of the end solution. 

Ideate: Here we refined user insights to design the required operating system and key metrics. We used the ideate stage to determine the key metrics that needed in the new technology interface for site teams to use in their management operating system.

Prototype: We ran a “Build & Pilot Phase” and deployed support teams into two operational sites.

Testing: Testing focused first on building the right system and tools to provide data into the two test-site teams, before building out the people and process interface

The approach was complemented with robust business readiness and change management. We had to minimise disruptions to day-to-day operations and engage site leaders so they could champion the pilot with their teams.

Senior leadership buy-in on the project was strong from the beginning. We leveraged that, to connect the Sponsors into the project with site visits and clear, consistent communications to bolster operators engaging in the design process.

The Solution

To solve the problem of efficiency losses we built the management operating system (the new way of working) to:

  • Plan the contracted works and establish targets
  • Monitor actual performance against those targets and assumptions, and
  • Review via discussions to identify actions and close them out and
  • Improve operational and contract performance over time.

The solution was threefold –

  • A suite of operations dashboards embedded into a custom action tracking system.
  • A refreshed daily and weekly operations cadence to identify and pursue improvement opportunities, with appropriate escalation paths.
  • All the tools, templates and user guides to support its implementation.

To create a scalable model, we set a standard approach for physical metrics that focused on resource utilisation (work inputs/ costs) and resource productivity (work outputs/ revenue) that could be used across the business.

The system translates contracts into standardised physical metrics, targets and language. This creates consistency and transparency across the business and allows the operations teams to pursue performance improvements on a on a daily and weekly basis.

The Outcome

Contract requirements and assumptions are now translated into this language and embedded throughout the new way of working.

Teams at five of the sites are up and running using the system and in the process of baselining their performance, and identifying strategic actions, to pursue targets using the new metrics and systems.

The management operating system is now being scaled across the rest of the national operations, with Churchill’s assistance. Next month we roll out to eight further sites and by end-2022, its expected we will have the new system deployed to all 40+ sites.

If you’d like to find out more about how Churchill can help your organisation email us today.

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