Case Studies

Meet the Apprentice: Kirsty – Travis Perkins

Kirsty discusses how she found her Improvement Practitioner Level 4 Apprenticeship (Green Belt), including her brilliant project on her way to distinction

Meet the Apprentice: Kirsty – Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins is the UK’s largest builders’ merchants, supplying tens of thousands of trade quality products. We have worked closely with Travis Perkins on their continuous improvement activity by providing lean apprenticeship training as they strive for operational excellence.

We caught up with one of their apprentices, Kirsty, who has just completed her apprenticeship with us attaining a distinction (congratulations!)

What’s your current role and what was your apprenticeship?

My name is Kirsty Lancaster, I am the Projects and Continuous Improvement Coordinator / Project Manager for Travis Perkins and I have recently received a distinction in my Improvement Practitioner Level 4 (Lean Six Sigma Green Belt) apprenticeship with CQM Training and Consultancy. I am now looking to move forward onto Improvement Specialist Level 5 (Lean Six Sigma Black Belt).

What has been your biggest takeaway?

The biggest change I have seen since starting my apprenticeship would be the importance of using data for decisions, before if there was a problem, we would not take the time to investigate it, but instead look for a quick fix. This green belt apprenticeship showed that of you spend the time to analyse and learn about the problem you will get a much better answer to the issue.

Can you tell us about your continuous improvement project?

During my green belt, improvement practitioner apprenticeship I had the idea to focus on trying to maximise the use of the racking space in the warehouse. This is important for us being able to store more items in a smaller space. I recognised the need for this during the early measure phase of my training, as I noticed there was a strong correlation between mixing pallet sizes and space waste.

Within my continuous improvement project, I was able to generate room for more than 1500 pallets despite not increasing the space we already had. I did this using lean six sigma methodology. It was a little tricky at first, as lean methods are sometimes more suited to manufacturing, so trying to make it work in a warehouse environment was the biggest challenge but once we had worked out a way to adapt it, it absolutely works.

Travis Perkins Logo

“I look after our training provider relationships with around 250 learners spread over different providers on different courses. On a monthly basis I meet with CQM to have a quick catch up on performance on learners and make sure everything is still on track.

Working with CQM has been great. We were impressed from the very start as CQM quickly adapted to fulfil our needs, as the delivery method didn’t quite suit our learners initially. We are so pleased with the outcome of Kirsty’s distinction.”

Ryan Beaver

Compliance and Centre Team Manager, Travis Perkins

Were there any other problems you had to overcome?

As with every project there was a couple of teething problems but alongside the improvement practitioner apprenticeship, we did a risk assessment, and this helped to iron these out. Normally we would do a risk assessment around health and safety but in this case we did it as operational risks that could arise with a change of process. This helped everything run smoothly.

Working together

We work closely in collaboration with our partners, to really understand their needs and how together we can provide the right solution that delivers results. It’s always good to hear how our partners truly appreciate the benefits of apprenticeships and indeed the differences lean six sigma training can make, perfectly summed up by Matt Webb, Head of Business Process Improvement at Travis Perkins;

“I run the business process improvement team so this green belt apprenticeship from my point of view serves several purposes. It gives me a brilliant pipeline of future potential recruits as well as building up a network of people around the business that we can rely on for support when we are running an internal continuous improvement project. Everyone has their own opinions and take on the improvement standards meaning the more people we have trained the more ideas we will get.”

Our improvement apprenticeships are also underpinned by lean six sigma belt certifications, accredited by Instructus Skills. If you would like to discover more about our Improvement Practitioner Level 4 apprenticeship, or indeed any of our training programmes, and the real difference they can make to your people and your organisation, why not get in touch today.

All of us at CQM Training & Consultancy would like to congratulate Kirsty for completing her Improvement Practitioner Level 4 apprenticeship with a fantatsic distinction.