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How Lean is that?

Continuous Improvement across the external supply chain benefits suppliers and customers

With the primary purpose of Continuous Improvement and Lean being the “value for the customer”, it is surprising to see how few Lean practitioners actively engage their customers in their pursuit for excellence. It was therefore refreshing to observe Lean in action when the leadership team of Patchell Group from Rotorua recently visited their customer TR Group in Auckland. Both firms have very aligned viewpoints in that the customer is central to everything they do.


Brent Whibley, CEO of Patchell Group: “The Patchell brand is built around Quality and Customer Relationships”. And at the core of Andrew Carpenter’s (TR Group Managing Director) narrative were examples of TR Group’s tagline “Making heavy vehicle fleet management easy for you”. The culture Andrew and his team have created to deliver sustained customer value is among the best Productivity People have seen, and a lesson in itself.


Lean is often seen as contradictory: deceptively easy to understand but hard to implement right. These two firms have the key Lean ingredient right, both in philosophy and in execution: ‘Understand what your customer really needs, and be better than anyone else in delivering that’.