Delivering process improvement for a global car rental business
Supporting double digit growth
Avis, a leading global car rental company, embarked on a strategic process improvement programme aimed at creating additional capacity in its UK business to support forecasted double-digit growth.
The business had already achieved some cost reductions and implemented organisational changes, but had not fundamentally altered the way they worked or reduced the work content of its processes. An operational diagnostic of a sample of customer-facing sites was conducted to establish process improvement opportunities.
Analysis showed that a significant proportion of staff’s daily work was caused by failure demand. For instance, an airport operation relied on customers arriving in person who were a mixture of business people and holidaymakers. Failure demand consisted of people repeatedly asking for directions and maps and returning after not being able to find their car in the car park.
All sites undertook administration and reporting to manage cars in and out of their sites. Daily inventory checking and system corrections were excessive and although significant time and effort was being used, root causes were not being identified and reduced.
Opportunities through engagement
By engaging front-line staff and managers during the diagnostic, failure demand and non-value-adding activity were identified in the daily processes, while a series of facilitated workshops identified all types of customer-generated work. Staff were also educated on the difference between failure and value demand.
Demand waste was identified and quantified by front-line staff over several days. Root cause problem solving was used to understand the drivers behind the continual checking and reporting activity. Sampling at each site captured and quantified front-line activity. Several areas of opportunity were identified through this process, ranging from improved performance of staff and process improvement to standardisation, introduction of team-based problem solving and a more coordinated and effective approach to
forecasting and scheduling. An operational capability audit identified aspects of the operation requiring process improvement so that results could be not only delivered but sustained.
15% increase in capacity
Senior management recognised that through engagement of staff during the diagnostic phase of the project, sufficient momentum and motivation had been built to allow even further progress. Process improvement planning sessions took place that led to significant changes at the pilot sites and the development of a national rollout programme of the methodology.