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NHS Trusts / 20.10.2017

Delivering “More for Less”

As one of the largest Healthcare soft FM service providers in the UK we have reach and insight that others may not have. It is therefore fair to ask how we could use this reach and insight to help meet the increasing challenges that our business and the NHS is facing.

In recent years, publications such as the Carter Review and the revised use of ERIC returns are examples of how the hospital soft FM service environment is facing increasing headwinds. These pressures are providing challenges to us and our clients today and will continue to do so in the future.

On the brighter side, with all challenges there are often fantastic opportunities for growth, for innovation and for service enhancement.

So what have we done?

Using lean six sigma principles our approach has been twofold;

  • We’ve designed and deployed an Operational Excellence (Op Ex) Framework which empowers our teams to deliver excellence and continuously improve service delivery
  • Built target operating models focussing on process efficiency to deliver optimum productivity.

Op Ex Framework

Our Op Ex framework provides our teams with a robust, simple to follow, structure to deliver our services effectively and solve problems if they arise. The foundations are based on lean six sigma principles in which visual management features heavily.

Each of our contracts is encouraged to create a vision articulating their “why” and how they will deliver our vision of Performance with Heart – in most cases this also reflects our client’s vision or mission statement. The contract management team have a huddle board which they review together daily – the board displays the vision and the KPI’s graphically allowing any trends or issues to be identified easily. The conversations are focussed on improving any areas necessary and also recognising and rewarding teams who are delivering excellence.

We empower our front line teams in the same way; by implementing daily huddle sessions for them to hold in their sub teams; these discussions are focussed on key measures which the team can impact. The teams discuss any issues or challenges and agree on what actions need to be taken to improve; any which are beyond their control will be escalated to managers who will then capture it on a “You said…We did…” board. This closes the loop as managers then feedback to the team on how and when their issue will be resolved.

By operating in this way our teams, from front line to managers, are all involved in the decision making process and are all contributing to us getting better every day.

Target Operating Models

Over the last few years we have invested considerable time and effort in building target operating models (TOM) for our services. This data driven approach to firstly benchmark productivity levels in service delivery and then using innovative approaches and products to enhance productivity means we have been able to reinvest in our teams and share the benefits with our clients.

We recognise and understand the differences between Trusts and have allowed for this in our model building.

Simplistically, for each of our services we have a core business standard model which can be, and is, adapted to each hospital capturing local nuances to create a template for our on-site teams to structure their rosters and staffing allocations.

This approach remains a ‘work in progress’ over the life of a contract as the team use the Op Ex Framework to constantly review and enhance their own performance.

And the results?

Some of the recent highlights have been new business growth and contract retentions at NMUH Trust and LNWH Trust in which the use of target operating models in constructing our solution was a significant contributing factor for us being able to deliver a sustainable service at a reasonable price.

Additionally we are very proud of our 2017 PLACE results. In fact our results have improved quite significantly and we are now the top ranked service provider¹. This achievement demonstrates that focussing on productivity and efficiency with the appropriate infrastructure in place has not been detrimental to the patient experience.

So in summary we have, and continue to, deliver “More for Less” by obsessively honing our skills and leveraging our expertise to capitalise on opportunities through adopting innovative approaches, using innovative products and technologies and all the while enhancing the services we are delivering for our patients.


For more information contact Sean McLoughlin, Head of Business Excellence, Healthcare


¹2017 “Hospital Cleanliness” and “Hospital Food and Hydration” services PLACE scores


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