What has lean done for you? Ben Evans SSE

SSE logo and heading

This months podcast interview is with Ben Evans, who is the Process Improvement Manager at SSE plc (a utilities company based in Cardiff). Ben previously worked as a Lean Specialist and Programme Manager at Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and prior to that worked for the Lloyds Banking Group. We Learn about his Lean Competency System & Black Belt programme journey, where he successfully achieved certification and accreditation against the Cardiff University Lean Competency System- Level 2a – Black Belt, and how his personal experience has informed his outlook on Lean and Learning & Development programmes.

When did you first learn about Lean Thinking?
My first interaction with Lean was about 4 years ago when DCWW began a reliability centred maintenance programme which would later be described to me as asset optimisation.

Why did you want to learn more?
I had a keen interest in Lean thinking straight from the off. The principals of Lean landed well with me and I could see a natural interest develop in me to learn more and become more involved to develop the skills and attributes to apply Lean within my working environment

When and how did you first apply what you learned and what were the results?
I became a Lean deployment specialist working closely with finance and procurement departments across Welsh water. My first opportunity to apply my learnings came within these areas where we identified some root causes to the problems that existed within the departments whilst carrying out some customer analysis work to clearly identify the value finance bring to the organisation and how their offerings are rated by the business using the KANO models basic, performer or delighted factors. The early results were very positive and there was a natural change in the mindsets of those exposed to Lean as they began to question their way of working and how they can provide more value to the organisation whilst identifying wasteful activity that provided limited value.

What have been your personal highlights during your Lean Learning Journey and why?
My personal highlights throughout my journey have to be the growth I’ve witnessed within myself. From an individual with limited knowledge of Lean to becoming a certified and accredited Black Belt. Working closely with SA partners has changed the way I come to work every day and enabled me with core skills and principals that will live with me for the rest of my career.

What is next on your Lean Learning Journey?
I have recently been appointed the Process improvement manager for SSE plc to review existing processes across their retail business, this includes smart metering, procurement, contact centres as well as marketing. My objective over the forthcoming months will be to understand the current business model at SSE and understand how I can apply my learnings at DCWW in this new environment whilst remembering the core principals of Lean as taught by SA partners.

What advice would you give to anyone considering applying Lean in their organisation?
Be sure to consult with professionals before beginning your journey. Don’t under estimate the value of professional services. Working with SA completely changed my mindset on how to approach a problem and allowed me to review the business I worked within in a completely different mindset. Lean has endless benefits but using SA partners maturity assessment you’ll ensure you target the right opportunities and make great progress from day one!