2012 Conference Report: Planning Improvement

During this session, two award finalists revealed the secrets of their success. First, we heard from Simon Butler, Resource Planning Manager at Direct Line Group, how lean reengineering has transformed the multi-site planning department, by developing a 360° continuous improvement programme, focused on a ‘five-lens’ model. Next Rob McNair and Robert Tuck from Thames Water described how they put planning at the heart of front and back office, delivering a record-breaking performance, based on six key principles. Complaints are down 15%, quality scores up 24% and service levels have doubled year-on-year. 

The key focus of this session was to share how planning transformation can improve the utilisation and forecast accuracy and to gain insight into how a planning team can operate as customer champions. We asked delegates to tell us the top ideas that they were taking away from this session to share with their colleagues and make a difference in their own organisations.

See Related Articles below to read the full case studies for Direct Line Group and Thames Water and have a look at their conference presentations. 

Top Ideas

  • It’s all about the people – engage to deliver – both the team and the customer
  • Selling planning to the masses. Engage with the frontline staff to encourage understanding of decisions and methodologies
  • Customer focus and aligning the whole business outlook
  • Visiting sites that you are making changes in can have a real difference and get a lot more staff on board
  • Investment of time face to face to effect cultural change
  • More engagement of the business when making changes – whole team bears responsibility to get involved in gaining buy-in
  • Demonstrate the impact on not adhering to plans on the end customer – particularly in a Back Office environment
  • Show Back Office people a ‘visual queue’ with real people to sell benefits of why we plan for calls
  • ‘Problem solving’ training for frontline specialists
  • Need dedicated planning resource to achieve
  • The Planning academy
  • Cascade model from Thames Water for Back Office/Blended functions
  • Process review and documentation in planning – taking a fresh look at what is valued and listening to your customer
  • Standard operating procedures in planning
  • Importance of process implementation to help roll out lean Improvement
  • Planning function should lead on when the best windows for off-phone activity are
  • Moving back office function onto adherence/scheduling back office
  • Moving to a blended team – planning the journey
  • Lean – application and support from operation
  • Continuous improvement
Top quotes
"Very relevant and inspiring to hear the difference planning can make when it is really at the heart of the business". Adrian Hawes, AVIVA
"Understanding that everyone faces the same challenges". Catherine Buns, Eon
"This session was a great opportunity to meet other planners and also get to hear what planning challenges other organisations face and how they overcome them". James Kimani, Amex
"Really well presented. Kept everyone engaged. Lots of useful information as well as confirmation of what we are getting right already". Jo White, Eurostar
"Hearing about two companies journey through the same pain as ours and realising that we weren’t alone". Jacqui Haines, UCAS

Take a look at these articles, videos and links
Direct Line Group Awards Case Study 2012: Transforming planning through people
See the latest articles on Planning for People
Thames Water Awards Case Study 2012: Transforming the contribution of planning


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