Northern Rock

Case Studies

Operational Excellence

Northern Rock urgently needed to lower its cost base, to be sold back into private ownership.

The Problem

Lean Consulting was commissioned by Northern Rock to help them create the ‘cost architecture’ to support the 5-year business plan. Having come through a turbulent 3 years, the Executive Committee was asked to create a 5-year plan that showed how the business would reduce costs whilst increasing revenue and profit over the next 5 years.


The Solution

Lean Consulting completed a process & performance diagnostics of the entire company (all functions) and determined a potential cost reduction of £32M (comprising a reduction in 791 FTE) available to the business. A key recommendation in the 2011-15 Cost Architecture Review was to implement an “Operational Excellence” programme to deliver benefits identified through the diagnostic.

We executed an Operational Excellence (OE) pilot in a Mortgage Operations department. The pilot reduced required resourcing from 74 FTE to 37 FTE (50% reduction) and delivered an annualised cost reduction of £1.1M. The success of this pilot led the Board to approve an OE programme across Operations and Customer Sales & Service, the 2 largest functions of the bank.

Operational Excellence Case Study

The Process

Having performed the original diagnostic, Lean Consulting was asked to design, implement and manage the OE programme with a team of 14 Specialists (6 external and 8 internal colleagues). Lean Consulting was targeted to achieve a net reduction of 268 FTE colleagues, whilst ensuring that the business was able to absorb the effort required to deliver a plan to grow Savings by 13%, Lending by 26% and Commission Sales by 11%.

The Operational Excellence programme delivered:

  • Development of Target Operating Models (TOMs) and implementation of the new operating models
  • Development of effective Capacity Models and creation of a centralised Resource Planning department
  • Implementation of 145 separate process improvement initiatives
  • Quality Management and Risk Analysis
  • Analysis and Management of Shrinkage from over 45% to 30%
  • Process timing and Productivity Management

Creating a sustainable change culture was extremely important to this client and Lean Consulting worked to develop and embed a culture of continuous improvement. We facilitated this through the delivery of Six Sigma Training to 40 colleagues, Management training & mentoring, ‘Walk the Walk’ sessions, Leadership roadshows, internal communications and internal marketing of continuous improvement practices around the business.


The Results

Lean Consulting successfully delivered a total reduction in the resourcing of 393.5 FTE against a target reduction of 305 FTE. This delivered an annualised cost saving of £9.51M to the business.

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