Family-run food distributor Adams has increased annual turnover by £1m and made savings in excess of £500,000 after putting its employees through ‘lean’ qualifications.

The company adopted EAL’s Business-Improvement Techniques (B-IT) qualification to boost efficiency and reduce wastage, allowing it to double its workforce and expand its premises by a factor of ten. The qualification’s lean business practices have been so effective the owners are now forecasting a continued rise in turnover from £5.7m to over £10m within the next 18 months.

Abdul Aziz, Managing Director of Adams, said: “We weren’t expecting this level of success at the beginning: the idea was impressive, but I wasn’t sure if it would be achievable in reality. EAL’s B-IT qualifications have empowered our staff to take responsibility for improving the business. We’re working better as a team, because we know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and where we’re going in future.”

Amar Manzoor, from the EAL recognised Centre 7Tao Engineering, started working with Adams having delivered lean programmes for clients ranging from manufacturing firms to the United Nations. Working with Adams, he identified a total of 54 improvement projects to strengthen business operations. All 18 staff, as well as contractors employed by the company, helped to identify where improvements could be made as part of their work towards level 2 B-IT Apprenticeships.

Some of the improvements involved visual controls to monitor deliveries – including schedules, transactions, responsibilities and staff levels – changes in warehouse layout, storage setup and loading processes. The improvements encourage the quicker flow of goods into stock and out to customers. This has allowed the number of completed transactions to more than treble from three to ten per hour.

Mahmood Idrees, Director of Adams, said: “Customers have kept coming back as our service has improved. We have also been able to attract new business because, with savings made through the EAL qualifications, we can beat our competitors on price.”

Amar added: “We had two main targets in delivering the B-IT qualification to Adams: firstly, to facilitate leaner transactions, and secondly, to grow the number of transactions being completed. This will inevitably result in profit development.”

EAL qualifications in B-IT can be adapted to support improvements in a wide range of business environments, either as standalone qualifications or as part of Apprenticeship programmes. For more information, please contact EAL customer services team on 01923 652400 or email customercare@eal.org.uk.

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