3 February 2015

Training partnership leads to efficiency savings at Southern Water

A partnership between Southern Water and Skills Training UK, a leading training and apprenticeships provider, has been expanded by the utility company after improvement projects carried out by 200 employees as part of their training generated £200,000 in efficiency savings between 2012 and 2014. Southern Water expects this to double as the improvements are rolled out.

Employees in facilities management, water inspection and the company’s call centre, as well as waste water treatment operatives across numerous sites, learnt skills to problem solve and make service and productivity improvements using the Japanese ‘Kaizen’ continuous improvement techniques.

The training with Skills Training UK involved them analysing the processes they used in their jobs and identifying ways to make improvements in areas of Quality, Cost and Delivery. Because the processes all related to things they could control themselves they were all low or no cost to the company.  Southern Water reported that the direct spend on implementing the identified improvement projects was only £20,000 in the first two years.

Some of the business improvement projects tackled as part of the training also helped address the challenges associated with growth at the company, which now has over 2,000 employees. The training helped teams adapt to new work environments and make improvements in communications and customer service.

Pam James, Head of People Development, Southern Water, said: “Our whole business is changing and Skills Training UK is helping us drive that process of change. They understand our business and have worked with us to make the training an integral part of Southern Water’s people development strategy. Our teams are being equipped with knowledge and skills that can be applied in any process improvement situation.”

The partnership has developed further and Southern Water has made Skills Training UK’s Business Improvement Techniques training part of its company-wide talent development programme. A further 200 employees are being identified from across the business with the potential to develop their knowledge and skills further and progress with Southern Water.

Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive of Skills Training UK, said: “Southern Water is committed to developing its employees through training and development and we are delighted that our partnership with them continues to develop as they see the results.”

Southern Water provides water and wastewater services for Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. See www.southernwater.co.uk

For further information about Skills Training UK’s tailored training programmes see www.skillstraininguk.com

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