Andy Sargent

Case Study – Andy Sargent – Head of Operational Performance Transformation

Our people are what makes Princes successful, so it is vitally important that as a company we harness everyone’s thoughts and ideas.

As a leading food and drink manufacturer we strive for excellence and we are taking active steps to do this by championing a more collaborative approach.

I joined Princes in April 2021 and was challenged to help create and deploy a strategic roadmap for Operational Excellence throughout the company’s manufacturing sites in the UK.

We started by designing a system and framework to do this and an educational programme to deliver it. Branded the ‘Lean Lighthouse Academy’, this 18-week programme is being piloted in the UK.

Lean manufacturing focuses on minimising waste within manufacturing systems while at the same time maximising productivity. We achieve this by giving our people the chance to professionally develop, whether they are in leadership roles or operators and become part of the solution.

Having robust and reliable processes in place for people to work to embed the culture of continuous improvement is vital. Equally important is driving performance that is beneficial for our people and the prosperity of the business.

Already, we’re seeing great results including a reduction in our product waste, faster and more efficient line changeovers and some brilliant ideas from our colleagues.

To launch the programme, we put together three groups of five leaders from three of our sites, starting with Cardiff (our Centre of Juice Excellence), Bradford (home to our carbonated and diluted soft drinks production) and Long Sutton (our largest food production site in the UK).

Over the course of the programme, which was carried out at those different sites, we took each team through 16 key modules of the framework, each designed to teach the tools and behaviours necessary to maximise operational excellence.

It is very important to us that the Academy is in a classroom setting and it’s not a virtual experience. Traditionally, sites don’t have much contact with each other, so we deliberately put together groups with a cross section of people. We want them to meet, bond and work together before taking their learnings back into the business and sharing them with others.

We take a really hands on approach and rather than lots of PowerPoint slides, we encourage debate, discussion and challenge. There are lots of practical activities, simulation scenarios and we deliberately cater for all types of learning from visual and kinetic to audible.

After the course, the Academy delegates are challenged to take their learnings back to site and identify an area – it could be a department or a production line, for example – and to implement changes. We measure the results over the course of the financial year.

We started this program with Princes’ UK sites, and I’m delighted that we’re now rolling out our strategic roadmap to the overseas sites too.

Four months ago, we ran our first training programme with 15 attendees from our Southern Italy factory. One of the most modern and efficient ambient tomato processing facilities in Europe, our factory there processes over 300,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes every year.

Next year, we’ll do the same with our production sites in Mauritius, home of our world-famous tuna.

We have been targeted to make £1 million of cost saving performance benefits by April 2023 and I’m very pleased that we are on target to achieve this.

It’s not just about saving money though; it is imperative for sustainable performance leadership improvement too.

Creating a culture of leadership coaching throughout our organisation is having a ripple effect within the business. It is fantastic for the team members and leaders who interact with it and who are inspired by it. It has also opened my eyes to what is possible within coaching to maximise the potential of others in achieving their goals, whether personal or professional.

I love my job and it makes me proud seeing people grow and develop in their careers with us.

Andy has been shortlisted for a Lifetime Learner Achievement Award for his outstanding coaching by Lifetime.

Case Studies