Highways England seeks to double Lean efficiency savings


Highways England has set out plans to save £250m by 2020 through Lean techniques – more than double its Lean savings in the previous five years.

A new publication, Lean support to Highways England 2015-2020, describes how the company will use Lean principles in delivering the Road Investment Strategy (RIS).

Highways England manages and maintains the country's motorways

In the foreword to the document, Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan writes: ‘We need to be bold and challenge some of our current practices. Lean will help us to deliver the RIS efficiently, whilst improving customer service and most importantly, doing it all safely.’

The document sets out Highways England will meet its ambition to ‘realise a £250m contribution toward the Road Period 1 efficiency target of £1.2bn [by 2020] using Lean techniques’ and commits to ‘demonstrating’ this.

Among the approaches to be deployed in meeting this objective, the company’s staff will be expected to ‘use their continuous improvement skills every day’ and ‘will be empowered to see and act on opportunities to improve their own and the organisation’s performance’.

The document also sets out how Highways England will ‘work with its delivery partners, suppliers, stakeholders, and customers to routinely use collaborative planning as an enabler to genuine collaboration’.

It states that the company’s predecessor the Highways Agency saved around £100m from Lean interventions between 2010 and 2015 and includes case studies, such as using production management techniques to improve resurfacing productivity.

In September 2015 the company published its Efficiency and Inflation Monitoring Manual, which set out in detail its approach to measuring, recording and monitoring efficiency cost savings.

Lean is a systematic method of eliminating inefficiency. Highways England's Lean Division aims to:

  • challenge current practices
  • improve performance
  • refine processes
  • become more efficient
  • provide support and help to our staff and suppliers so they can do the same

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