Corus is an international metals company, providing steel and aluminium products and services to customers worldwide. Of the total £9bn turnover, approximately £600m came from Teesside Cast Products (TCP) where Knox D’Arcy carried out a year long Performance Improvement Programme.

Head of Human Resources

Ken Brown said,

We had reached a stage where internal initiatives were not delivering the step change in performance that we needed and felt that the time was right to bring in an expert third party.”

The management commissioned a Preliminary Survey from Knox D’Arcy to ascertain how and to what degree the business could improve performance. In four weeks a team of Knox D’Arcy consultants identified and quantified opportunities for cost reduction across the site. The key findings of the Preliminary Survey showed weaknesses in the management control systems together with some key skills gaps, particularly at junior and middle management level, which was seriously inhibiting the ability of the business to optimise performance.


There then followed a 12-month Programme designed to correct these issues and increase both throughput and labour productivity delivering savings in excess of £10 million p.a.

The Programme team set about firstly agreeing with the management the need to change spending the majority of their time on the shop floor with the people. Only when that had been achieved did they begin to design the specific solutions to the problems and opportunities that had been identified during the Survey.

New systems were designed to facilitate the changes, focussed on improving accountability and highlighting performance issues early and transparently. This included the design of an equivalent unit of measure, which allowed output to be measured independently of product mix, rather then by simply using tonnes.

Additionally a massive training Programme was first designed and then delivered to over 400 managers, involving both workshops and crucially one on one follow-up training with key Managers and Supervisors in their place of work.  The emphasis was placed on adopting a more active management style with more time spent on planning and controlling events. The new systems helped by creating increased responsibility for key metrics with the junior management.

Ken Brown summed up by saying,

Knox D’Arcy is a highly professional outfit who showed a real dedication to delivering the improvements. They are tenacious and challenging, but then you don’t want consultants who simply tell you what you want to hear. These people may make you feel uncomfortable at times, but it is always done in the right way, using fact and evidence - that is how they are able to deliver outstanding results.”

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