The first of these was a role at Cardiff University where I headed up the newly created Materials Management Unit (MMU) in 199! The MM Unit grew rapidly, launched a Supply Chain MBA programme and carried out a number of innovative research projects. During this period I spent another 3 months in Japan as a Senior Research Fellow hosted and funded by Toyota.
This trip culminated in my first book Creating World Class Suppliers (1994). It was at this point I was beginning to understand that the essence of Toyota success lay in its culture and not their application of tools and techniques. In 1994 the MM Unit merged with Professor Dan Jones’ research agenda and together we formed the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC). Professor Jones was a co-author of the seminal lean text, Lean Thinking (1996). The period that followed led to a number of importance research outputs with a common theme: how can we apply the high performance and excellence we see in Toyota across a range of industries and sectors outside of the automotive sector?
A particularly high-profile project involved the UK supermarket giant, Tesco. Tesco achieved staggering results, tripling in size and increasing profit sevenfold during this period. Other industries we worked with included: manufacturing and retail (shipbuilding, aerospace, construction, steel, food & drink, oil and gas); service sector (police, prison, legal services, housing associations, councils, hospitals, insurance). From this early work I developed the Lean Business System (LBM) and the LBM principles.