This video explains how we help organisations and uses one of our favourite tools, the i-Model.
Mission - to help organisations build a culture of continuous improvement
Vision - As many organisations as possible with continuous improvement programmes
Values - Simple, Practical, Involve Everyone
Culture - Fun, Friendly, Focussed
Strategy - Provide both Products and Services for organisations to run their own improvement programmes
Goal - Build a simple, off-the-shelf system that anyone can use
Key Skills - Training, Coaching, Facilitation
Simple Improvement Ltd.
Dr Mike Bell runs Simple Improvement a continuous improvement training and coaching business based in Scotland. He uses Ed Zunich’s Practical Process Improvement (PPI) programme to help organisations establish a simple continuous improvement system where they can realise quick results and build an in-house capability to train and coach their own staff.
Simple Improvement was set-up in 2010 and has helped organisations in all sectors develop, implement and monitor improvement programmes, particularly those based on PPI.
Mike co-ordinates a network of individuals and consultancy companies who can help you to implement your own PPI programme.
An International Career Helped Business Idea Take-off
When Dr Mike Bell travelled across the Atlantic for the seventh time in one month he knew it was time for a change and decided then to start his own business that would help others succeed.
After turning to Business Gateway Stirling for advice, Dr Bell, from Bridge of Allan, launched Simple Improvement in 2010. Since then, the business training enterprise has helped thousands of employees of blue-chip companies, further education establishments and Government departments meet their targets quickly and more efficiently.
Utilising a method known as the Practical Process Improvement (PPI), Dr Bell splits employees into small groups and walks them through an eight-step process that helps them solve individual organisational issue - increasing job satisfaction and the company's bottom line.
Now the former site director of a biotech company has launched seven updated training manuals that aim to help businesses implement the PPI process in-house. Already the manuals have racked up first-month sales figures twice as large as those gained during the whole of last year.
He said: “There are numerous improvement programmes for the manufacturing industry, but very few that actually tackle administration issues – and that’s what PPI does. It provides a problem-solving method that doesn’t require lots of leadership time or reorganisation of a business. It isn’t about saving money, albeit that is often what it does do, it is about improving customer relations. “What the manuals do is allow businesses to implement the process themselves. If they then feel they would like additional training to help provide customised assistance I would then come into their organisation and train one of their employees so that they’d be able to solve their biggest problems from within. “PPI empowers staff, it values their knowledge and expertise and gives them a method to streamline processes. It has slashed waiting times, made ordering simpler and has even helped reduce the time it takes for exam appeals to be considered.”
Initially sceptical about the programme, Dr Bell quickly realised PPI was different from all the other improvement methods after his former employer made him undertake the training himself. He said: “When my former employer, an American company, asked me to do PPI training I said ‘thanks but no thanks’ as I didn’t think there was anything else I could be taught. I was wrong and was so impressed with the training that I asked the chief executive if I could join the corporate team and train the company’s international workforce in the method. He said yes and I spent three years traversing the globe doing just that.
But on May 28th, aboard the Ottawa to Heathrow flight, which was my seventh trip across the Atlantic that month, I thought there has to be more to life than constant travelling. “I had a young family and I wanted something that wouldn’t involve multiple transatlantic trips so I obtained the licence to roll PPI out in the UK and Europe and went to Business Gateway Stirling for advice. Their workshops and one-to-one support helped me get started. Even now they are still providing advice which is helping me focus on the methods I need to implement to market my business to even more organisations.”
Sandy Slater, Business Gateway Stirling said: “Businesses are constantly striving to increase efficiencies and the bottom line but what often happens is they focus more on technology and people rather than on the processes they use. What PPI does is use the resources a business actually has in place to help streamline how it operates for greater results. Mike has immersed himself in the process and has helped countless organisations prosper. We are glad that Business Gateway’s initial help gave him the confidence to bring PPI to the UK, and we will continue to offer support to him as he strives to achieve his own business goals.”
Recommendations for Dr Mike Bell
"Mike provided me with training on how to train and ultimately teach our company's chosen quality improvement program. This was an intense 5 day program and Mike has a superb training style, he not only connected and interacted well with the class, but he also delivered the program with pride and passion. It was clearly evident that Mike had prepared well, and subsequently was equipped with all the necessary knowledge and for 5 days kept a class of some 28 individuals from around the world highly engaged and interested.”
Laura Andrews, Business Support Services Manager, Loughborough, UK
“If you need a person who can take potentially complex process improvement methodologies, condense them down into logically simple, practical methods and tools that everyone can understand and apply then Mike Bell is your man. I have been involved directly in Process Improvement in many companies for most of my working career and I know nobody better at getting people involved, focused on improvement and getting results.”
Adrian Free, VP Practical Process Improvement, UK
“Mike Bell is the most engaging instructor with whom I have had the pleasure of working. He takes a daunting topic, like statistical process control, and breaks it down into easily understandable “chunks” that he then supports with real-world examples and in-class demonstrations. He has a natural ability to understand his audience and connect with them.”
Jeff Fowler, QA Manager, Florida USA
“Mike's continuous improvement training sessions are the best training sessions I have attended. They were well structured, fun, informative and taught in a way that makes the theory very easy to understand.”
Matthew Wolfenden, PPI Process Manager, Hemel Hempsted, UK
“PPI.. Never heard of it!! Then I met Mike. Mike is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, his energy and tenacity whilst teaching PPI tools has allowed me to not only absorb the material but has also given me the confidence to be able to teach others. I have been very lucky to have been trained and mentored by Mike, his training techniques are simple and fun for everyone to follow.”
Michelle Spencer, Accountant, Basingstoke, UK
“I have known Mike for about 18 months. He has a pleasant and easy to get on with demeanor which makes working with him easy. He has tremendous Process Improvement knowledge and applies it well it different situations. It is not a case of 'one size fits all'. He is one of those guys who has experienced what it is like to improve businesses. He is thorough in his execution and always achieves a result. I have no hesitation in recommending Mike and the service he provides.”
Peter Russell, Materials and Logistics Group Manager, Basingstoke, UK
“Over the 10 years I have worked in Continuous Improvement I have come across many tools and many different applications of the tools but none of them have been as accessible as PPI. PPI is the best process I have come across to involve everyone in making the changes that drive a business forward. Mike Bell is a fantastic coach and mentor with a great depth of knowledge on this subject and the more complex subject of change management and the effect this has on people. If I have the opportunity in the future I would work with Mike again to implement change the right way, the first time.
Sarah Walton, Continuous Improvement Coordinator, Basingstoke, UK
“To establish a continuous improvement culture on site Mike was instrumental in training cross functional project teams over 10/12 weeks to solve problems using Practical Process Improvement (PPI) to derive solutions through data collection and subsequent analysis. PPI is a structured eight step method for process improvement, involving three formal days of training, four half days coaching/mentoring and a review of the teams efforts termed ‘Report Out’ that is delivered to stakeholders by a team member. PPI is taught by a ‘qualified’ PPI Process Manager, Mike having achieved this internal qualification prior to training project teams.
I was a member of one of the first two project team to be trained by Mike using the eight step method of problem solving which also included a team member from one of our major customers to improve the process of specification changes. Two teams are trained together to obtain feedback from each other on their projects. The training consisted of three formal days using a team training book (which each team member received). Mike explained page by page which included: an overview of PPI and the Eight Step Method, process and quality improvement, basic tools and statistical process control. Throughout the training there were breakout sessions to allow teams to practically use a tool/technique, team discussions on various topics raised in the team training book and DVD’s to explain/expand on other points raised in the training book. During and after the above training teams utilised what they had learnt and applied it to solve the problem.
After formal training the teams presented their projects several times for review and subsequent coaching/mentoring by Mike to ensure that the projects would be successful and deliver practical solutions to the problem resulting in financial benefits. To gain qualification as a PPI Process Manager I was fully supported by Mike who not only sponsored me but also observed me training, coaching and mentoring two cross functional teams through the Eight Step Method over a twelve week period. This involved his attendance and critique at each of the formal, review and Report Out days. I was provided with a detailed written summary of my performance both from a positive perspective and opportunities highlighted for possible improvements. I found this invaluable providing me with the confidence and knowledge to continue in this role training teams and delivering financial benefits to my employer year on year”
Barry Cunningham, Continuous Improvement Coordinator, Cramlington, UK
Barry Cunningham, Continuous Improvement Coordinator, Cramlington, UK