Total Underground Solutions (TUS) provides underground electrical and plumbing infrastructure for major electrical companies including CitiPower and Jemena. TUS has enjoyed steady growth and now employs 25 staff who work in teams each with a truck, team leader and labourer. The business is based in the City of Hume, Victoria.
While the business was growing, TUS were struggling to manage their efficiencies in a way that remained profitable as they expanded. Management were under increasing pressure because the business lacked effective processes to reduce costs, identify inefficiencies and ensure employees connected with business goals that would lead to improved profitability.
TUS needed to identify waste in its current business model in order to expand without overspending and renew its processes for improved profitability.
Vative delivered a 12-month Lean training program with about half the TUS staff attending. The staff gained skills across several areas including Competitive Systems and Practices (Lean) and Management. TUS were introduced to a maintenance tracking board for their complex range of equipment, new scheduling projects for trucks and team building exercises to boost morale and accommodate changes with the growing business.
Ten improvement projects were conducted as a result of the training, delivering more than $800,000 in savings for an investment of less than $50,000. The total return on investment was 1500%. The new scheduling scheme for trucks saved TUS an incredible $78,000 per year. All equipment and materials are now packed in colour coded pallets ready for collection by their team every day, improving the business’s time management.
Lean is now a common mindset and language at TUS. The business has continued process improvements since Lean training concluded, and now plans more training for new staff members. Improving profitability also gave the business leeway to put more back into their highly valued employees, rewarding those who show a positive attitude or put their hands up for extra responsibilities.
“The Vative program has taken TUS to a new level because we now have far more information on the business, can calculate the return on investment in staff and have many tools to better manage growth,” – TUS Managing Director, Ben Koutoukidis.