Cardiff Business School and Yeo Valley: Better Than Ever

A number of the School's academics have worked with industry to undertake projects applying academic study to businesses. One such collaboration was between Dr Pauline Found, Senior Research Assistant, and Yeo Valley.

The 'Better than Ever' project saw Pauline working with Yeo Valley as the Lead Academic to help the company with their 5-year strategic goal of increasing turnover and gross profit. This research was done partly through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which ran for two years from Oct 2010.
The delivery of a sustainable Lean culture was seen as crucial to aid the company in achieving this objective and to support their long term strategy and business plan, something which would be implemented through three initial phases.

Phase 1: Awareness of Lean and Continuous Improvement

A series of workshops and improvement projects to raise awareness at all levels

Phase 2: Expanding knowledge

A KTP to deliver sustainable lean culture within the business, supporting the long-term strategy and competitiveness of the business.

This was supported by two Senior Managers who undertook the MSc in Lean Operations with Cardiff Business School. Pauline also arranged for a number of other managers to go through short and bespoke courses - a great example of Cardiff Business School collaborating with industry through a number of different activities.

Phase 3: Consolidating knowledge

The formal 'Better than Ever' (BTE) roll-out across the whole of Yeo Valley and the employment of a BTE Continuous Improvement Team including a one-year fixed-term appointment of a Lean Coach and three full-time BTE Continuous Improvement Facilitators.

Outcomes

The project completed in October 2012 and exceeded the expectations of those involved, not just in terms of the results but also in terms of the people involved and their enthusiasm and confidence in the project.

Yeo Valley has embraced the project as an organisation and the exceptional progress made was recognised with the Training within Industry Training System.  BTE has been rolled out across the organisation and met with great support from the board, testament to how well the project has been received.

In addition, this project has allowed links to be forged between Cardiff Business School and Yeo Valley, including senior managers coming to give guest lectures to undergraduate classes and the provision of case studies for use in future teaching materials.

Steve Welch, Group C.I. and Yogurt Manufacturing Manager at Yeo Valley and Cardiff Business School alumnus said of the project "The KTP project and support from the Cardiff Business School have been instrumental in augmenting our Better than Ever transformation programme. The KTP associate now has a full time position with Yeo Valley and is building on his experience and academic knowledge. Overall a very positive experience"

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