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Individual Impact Award Winner: Alex Satizabal

Alex Satizabal – LCS Impact Award Showcase

“Using CI has been a game changer on how I see processes and projects on my end… it was interesting in learning how to identify an issue and not only figuring out the root cause but how to put a plan in place to avoid future issues. This has helped me see processes at a whole new level and now we have reporting in place for this and other projects I’ve been involved in to ensure everything stays on track.” – Alex Satizabal


Accounts Receivable is responsible for the oversight of accounts, paying their invoices in a timely manner to ensure the organization meets their cash targets. Identified over a 3-month period in 2023, approximately 251 accounts had significant past due amounts totaling $3.8M.


To clean up past due balances, Alex began looking at each account to identify similarities between the accounts that would identify the root cause of the past due amounts. Alex was able to identify that the accounts with past-due balances did not have a collector assigned to them. The collector follows up with customers as their accounts are approaching past due status to obtain payments. This ensures satisfaction of cash targets.

Alex collaborated with his team beginning mid-June 2023 to identify, assign, and reassign collectors to the accounts. Completed with successful education and implementation within the Accounts Receivable team by late August 2023, he also created a daily aging report to keep track of unassigned accounts for the Accounts Receivable team to review.

He then collaborated with the customer on-boarding team resulting in the customer on-boarding team assigning collectors to new customers during the on-boarding process to prevent future past due balance issues. This work began in late August 2023, included education of the onboarding team and the accounts receivable team, and completed implementation in October 2023.


Due to the activities Alex completed, the Accounts Receivable department saw a 90% reduction in past due balances.

Individual Impact Award Winner: Darren White

Darren White has been the recipient of an Individual Impact Award by LCS this year ‘Introducing Lean and OPEX thinking to a FTSE 100 with a single resource.’

  • Background

I’ve been a Lean Sigma BB for circa 20 years, but normally working as part of a Consulting team or being embedded 100% of the time within a single business unit; two very standard approaches which I’m sure we all recognise. I was extremely fortunate that my employer, St James’s Place, were progressive in their thinking, and gave me the opportunity to develop a fulltime Operational Excellence role, after I had successfully demonstrated the value of Lean thinking with a small number of Practices. My remit was to build a culture of Lean and Operational Excellence thinking within our Partner network by providing consultancy services, where I would be the only OPEX resource, and where there was no existing collateral in place.

  • Activity

From early 2022 through to the mid-point of 2023 my typical OPEX consultancy engagement would be 100% bespoke. I would work with the senior management of the Partner business & SJP Field Management Team to assess their issues, capability, and growth opportunities. We would jointly devise a coaching plan, which would typically be delivered over 2 months.

By mid-2023, several key and repeatable themes had emerged, allowing me to create my first OPEX Directory of services i.e. 10 topics which had most strongly resonated with the those I had worked with so far, and had always added value to those businesses. The OPEX proposition V1.0 was born.

  • Impact

One of the most frequently conducted engagements has been a topic I call “Volumes v Capacity”, where I help the Partner Practice assess the amount of incoming work to the back office and compare this to the resource available, ensuring suitable allowances are factored in. I have guided over 30 Practice businesses to make appropriate resourcing and hiring decisions, as well as unearthing circa £410k of spare capacity.

Together with my Business Processing & HR colleagues, two other elements of the consultancy team, we have achieved to date a Net Promoter Score of 98.9% and a 4.9 average Sentiment score, which I understand sits well above the “world class” standard.

Individual Award:

  • Senior Operational Excellence Manager: Darren White

AS Watson Benelux: Making Impact with Improvements

A case of customer satisfaction, employee engagement and impact!


AS Watson Benelux is the company behind iconic brands Kruidvat, Trekpleister and ICI Paris XL. It’s Customer Care department services around 2 million customers through various channels for in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg. With a headcount of around 110 employees, it’s one of the larger departments at AS Watson’s headoffice, the team being spread out over thre sites in The Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey.

Prior to 2021, there were challenges arising in client response times, leading to long waiting times (>10 mins) and low answering rates (<60%). There weren’t many other insightful parameters as data was scattered and KPI’s were only partly tracked in management reports.

Whilst the team was working hard, it was unable to turn the tide. Simultaneously however, from an AS Watson perspective, the importance of good customer experience and satisfaction was becoming increasingly recognized.

Something had to change.



Halfway 2021 a new phase started. Starting with a reorganization of the team into a new structure that more clearly separated teams by functions, including one team exclusively focussed on continuous improvement. Next to this, reassessment of all roles within the team’s led to clearer role definitions with demarcated responsibilities between them. A new mission; “We ensure that customers feel helped, heard and happy by our accessible service.” was crafted in cocreation with the team. New operating principles were devised committing the team to organize its work to be customer centric, as leans and simple as possible, flexible and scalable, fact based and data driven, and integrated within the rest of the organization.

One of the main objectives was to instil the Lean mindset throughout the department. Not just a change of structure but equally a change of mindset, a change of heart. This included getting used to new roles, ways of working, setting up collaborations, goals and getting focused; not only on output, but also on throughput. The next step was attempting to get data in and getting a clearer view of how the team was doing and where it was going.


The team was starting to get more insights, drew up processes, and created instructions; linking them to the available data. The baseline expanded and the team was starting to determine its gaps, losses and what was influencing its goals. A first group was trained in Lean and the first results of all these new initiatives were starting to show in quick wins that were initially still  internally focused. The baseline was set on data, but also on standard procedures.


More grip on processes led to more control experiencing and less sudden surprises. The first multiple year plan was created, using the OGSM-model, an import-effect matrix to determine quick wins, projects, and stakeholders which lead to an increase of steady answering rates of >80%, client satisfaction >4 (out of 5) and an average waiting time of 1:18 min. Despite these efforts however, there was still a variation when actions went wrong and the team remained reactive on many unexpected incidents. At the same time however, 11 Green belts and 1 black belt certifications were achieved, improvements were happening fatsre and faster and alignment with the complete department was forming.

The new mindset was clearly alive!


The first quarter of 2024 showed consolidation of the big results, lowering variation, and also expanding collaboration within the organization. Other departments are now even actively asking for Customer Care’s data to improve cross-departmental processes.

Next to this, the team evolved from a reactive approach to looking forward. More capable of acting pro-actively, whilst data continues to analyse and determine actions. There are sessions with all employees about each own influences and engagements and each subteam has its own OGSM-framework aligned to the greater goals of the overall department, so really everybody is involved and making impact.


The largest business-impact was reaching Customer Care’s main goals: An answering rate above 80%, waiting times of less than 2 minutes and a customer satisfaction above 4 out of 5. Regardless of the results, greatest pride can be derived from the change in the people, truly the biggest change. A new mindset, a new way of working and a new approach to the work. Amazing collaborations have arisen, and impact followed.

Although we this transformation is ongoing, there truly are improvements every day and the team is able to set them up and guarantee them which is something thought impossible only 3 years ago.

GuideWell Impact Awards: Cultural transformation & Process Improvement


GuideWell has undergone a massive Lean cultural transformation over the course of the last 3.5 years, that has saved millions to its members and providers, thanks to the leadership of Service Center and Enterprise Shared Service Vice-President, Gregory Szkotnicki, and Program and Community Developer, Sr. Director, Eduardo Curros, with the sponsorship and support of President & Chief Executive Officer, GuideWell and Florida Blue: Pat Geraghty and Executive Vice President, Medicare & Chief Innovation and Experience Officer: Camille Harrison.


This year alone the community has expanded by over 900 members and the program has added 4 instructors, 19 Black Belts, 30+ Brown Belt Coaches, 100 Operational Excellence Green Belts and 200+ Continuous Improvement Green Belts. With current totals of over 2,300 members, across 100 teams and growing in all 50 states and Puerto Rico; in addition to multiple GuideWell entities such as Triple-S, Florida HealthCare Plans, Diagnostic Clinic Medical Group, Emcara, and WebTPA.

Of the 2,300 members, over 700 members have a Continuous Improvement Green Belt, 250+ with Operational Excellence Green Belt, 65+ Internal Brown Belt Coaches, and 38 Black Belts, and 5 instructors. In addition to the internal benefits, the program has done external community integration with the University of North Florida Master’s in Health Administration Program and the Jacksonville Humane Society. Team Recognition:  Lean Team and Engagement Team saved millions in Cost Aversion (Soft Savings) and Cost Aversion Crystallization (Hard Savings).

Individual Award Highlights: Eduardo Curros: Lead the Black Belt Program, certified four new instructors and the certification of 38 new internal coaches. Each of the Lean Program Team: David Maltese, Maria Baar and Reba Phillips: Completed: Instructorship, Black, and Coaching Brown Belts and Certified a minimum of 40+ Green Belts. Ernest Patterson: Completed: Instructorship, Black, and Coaching Brown Belts and Certified a minimum of 15+ Green Belts and spearheaded multiple large-scale engagements.

It is our pleasure to announce that GuideWell has been awarded Seven Lean Competency Systems Impact Awards.

  • Corporate Level Award: GuideWell
  • Team Level Award: Lean Program and Engagement Team
    • Program Creator, Sr. Director, and Instructor: Eduardo Curros
    • Engagement Team Sr. Manager and Instructor: Ernest Patterson
    • Lean Program Team Lead and Instructor: David Maltese
    • Lean Instructor: Maria Baar
    • Lean Instructor: Reba Phillips
    • Engagement Specialist: Ashley Butts
    • Engagement Specialist: Paulette Kellawon
    • Engagement Specialist: David Goldfield
    • Engagement Specialist: John Charwinsky
  • Individual Awards:
    • Program Creator, Sr. Director, and Instructor: Eduardo Curros
    • Engagement Team Sr. Manager and Instructor: Ernest Patterson
    • Lean Program Team Lead and Instructor: David Maltese
    • Lean Instructor: Maria Baar
    • Lean Instructor: Reba Phillips

IPO Team Award – Creation of a Bespoke Workplace Booking App


The Intellectual Property Office is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property rights including patent, designs, trademarks and copyright. With new working practices evolving from the pandemic our organisation needed an innovative approach to site attendance across our estate.

To support these vital changes, we introduced a bespoke workspace booking app and visitors management software, which has significantly transformed the way our organisation operates, providing a transformational return to buildings, enhancing staff autonomy, fostering collaboration, facilitating hybrid working, and eliminating external, fee-bearing desk management and visitor management software.


One of the key benefits of our app is the empowerment it provides to our people. They have gained full autonomy over their attendance, eliminating the need for coordination with their wider teams. This newfound independence has allowed our people to refocus on their core responsibilities and has greatly influenced the culture of the organisation as more and more people start returning to on-site working.

Furthermore, the introduction of the app has had a positive impact on security operations. The security team can now easily grant site access by simply viewing an iPad screen, which reduces delays at our external main entrance and reception areas. This improvement in operational efficiency contributes to a smoother and more secure building access process.

As our organisation mandates a return to the physical workspace, the app has proven invaluable in supporting all staff through its user-friendly interface, virtual tours, and overall ease of use. It plays a crucial role in facilitating the cultural shift towards increased in-building attendance.

The business area representatives have seamlessly resumed their substantive roles within their departments, contributing to the broader transformation of our organisation. The app’s integration into daily operations has become second nature for our people, fostering a culture of hybrid working, collaboration, and team building.


The introduction of the app has allowed our organisation to develop flexible, autonomous and a hybrid ethos, embedding our values:

  • Delivering for customers
  • Innovating for success
  • Valuing our people

Not only has the impact supported the changes, but our app has also enhanced security measures, which has resulted in significant cost savings. By mitigating the need for external software and hardware, we have avoided installation fees amounting to approximately £40,000, along with ongoing yearly administrative fees. Additionally, the reduction in staff time translates to savings of over £45,000.

The streamlined management ownership of our dedicated app team allows for prompt updates, customisation, and troubleshooting, ensuring that the app stays aligned with our organisation’s requirements and any changes in the technological landscape.  This structure ensures continuous improvement and the evolving services provided,

In summary, the cost-effectiveness, coupled with efficient management and integration with existing licensing, positions our apps as a sustainable and valuable solution for meeting the dynamic needs of our organisation, supporting transformational change to behaviours and flexibility for site attendance.

Ingeus Team Award – Continuous Improvement Academy Team Impact

Summary: Launching a CI Academy drives increased capability, better decisions, effects change
and boosts customer service.
Ingeus is a leading people services provider, delivering long-term, impactful projects to enable better
lives across the employability, health, youth, and justice sectors. It employs 2,300 people, based
remotely and across 100+ office locations. In our mission to harness the talents of our contrasting
teams, and to continuously improve, we launched our three-year Continuous Improvement Strategy
in October 2021.
A 2021 skills audit on CI capability identified a lack of enterprise level awareness around CI Lean Six
Sigma Methodology, with only 7 employees experienced in Continuous Improvement practices and
accredited in Lean Six Sigma.
Without CI awareness and capability, employees were not equipped to identify improvement
opportunities within non-performing workflows and processes. Furthermore, a lack of capability and
knowledge of key tools was affecting the ability to apply root cause analysis techniques to business
problems and make evidence-based decisions on performance improvements.
The Transformation Director and CI team identified this was impeding Ingeus in its goal to improve
the service excellence delivered to customers and commissioners of our services. It also put Ingeus
at a disadvantage as direct competitors had CI capability. It posed a potential business risk as service
commissioners expect providers to invest in continuous improvement.
It was agreed that Investment in an Academy would help employees recognise the role they play in
contributing to CI to achieve service excellence, and to apply its methods day-to-day to become
more efficient, effective and achieve the best outcomes. Flexible Academy pathways would equip
employees in key roles to make better decisions and drive effective change that balances business
Fully supported and sponsored by Ingeus Executive team, Transformation Director Lisa Jasper
developed a CI strategy which included an Accredited internal CI Academy to drive up capability.
One of several projects undertaken as part of an ambitious three-year plan, the Academy was
launched in May 22 to support the implementation of our strategy to increase CI awareness and
capability, and a create a culture of continuous improvement.
To ensure the successful achievement of future CI ambitions, which included increased company-
wide CI capability to a minimum of 5% of the Ingeus employee population. Across all divisional
contracts and supporting services that would amount to a CI capability of over 100 people.
Offering a flexible and blended Lean Six Sigma accredited training programme, the first three cohorts
were delivered August 22 – June 2023. Ingeus has achieved a significant increase in CI capability
leading to 141 Change Agents by June 2023.

  • Impact
    Investment in a CI Academy has helped employees recognise the role they play in contributing to
    service excellence for our customers and Ingeus is now achieving a 7% Change Agent capability at
    organisation level. Just a few of the impact outcomes are outlined below:
    Quantifiable Outcomes
  • More than 1700 people have completed White Belt training so far creating significant awareness
    around CI and Lean Six Sigma.
  • 51 employees have completed a full programme (36 Yellow Belts and 14 Green Belts) with 1 in
    progression towards practitioner accreditation.
  • Three rounds of refresher training for existing Change Agents have supported the completion of 30
    improvement projects, with a further 14 complete by June 2023.
  • 80 per cent of surveyed Academy completers stated that their CI knowledge at the start of the
    process was one out of five, and on completion 90% stated their awareness was four or above.
    Qualitative outcomes
  • White Belt Induction training provides early understanding of our vision for continuous
    improvement and the role it plays in team efficiency and effectiveness, and customer excellence.
  • Academy has created a supportive and collaborative environment, enabling interaction and the
    sharing of CI improvement insights from around the business.
  • Employees have a greater understanding of CI and are keen to get involved – 185 expressions of
    interest received for Lean Six Sigma training.
  • Teams now look for the most efficient and effective ways of doing things and appear more aware
    of wasteful process activity.

Adam Hart, Chief Operating Officer, Ingeus UK
“By implementing a continuous improvement methodology across the entire UK business, Ingeus
has successfully and significantly reduced the very real risks of reputational damage and competitive
disadvantage, whilst simultaneously increasing service efficiency and effectiveness. Establishing a
talented team, able to effect real change – at scale and at speed – was paramount.
From a standing start, our Transformation Director supported by a small CI Team, along with central
marketing support, has more than surpassed the Executive Team’s expectations.
Working tirelessly to educate, motivate and enable Ingeus colleagues to refine and improve their
performance has been a real labour of love – and the results speak for themselves.
Change is positive when it’s owned and driven by the people at its heart – not imposed on them but
developed by them. Our CI Team is expertly making that happen and the excitement around the
business is palpable.”