ABB: Quality Transformation

ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while reducing environmental impact. The group operates in over 100 countries with more than 140,000 employees.

Oakland was engaged to help  create a global quality and operational excellence programme across ABB – one that would equip its employees with the skills and infrastructure to generate improvements in the on-quality, on-time, on-cost delivery of their products and services.

Oakland worked with senior management to agree the strategic direction, objectives and efficiency targets for the programme along with building the supporting infrastructure across Europe and Africa, North Asia, South Asia and the Americas.  Internal trainers and coaches were selected across the entire operational footprint and they were developed through an intensive train the trainer/coach programme.

This gave the programme early momentum bringing credibility and support for improvements in all divisions and regions across ABB. This programme is now the established approach to continual improvement across ABB with the CEO recognising outstanding achievements in terms of improved customer satisfaction, on-time delivery and cost opportunities.

To date, more than 13,000 ABB employees have been trained and more than 500 trainer/coaches and 100 master trainer/ coaches are operating across the business.  A total of 4000 projects have been completed, with $1.3bn US documented accumulated savings already achieved.

Partner Robert Oakland led this programme of work with ABB.  He said: “There were five critical success factors for a global operational excellence programme of this nature and scale:

  • Senior management set the direction for quality and operational excellence and ensured the programme supported wider strategic goals
  • A common approach for improvement was developed which accommodated the wide diversity in operations and cultural sensitivities across such a large, complex and global organisation
  • Internal trainers and coaches provided the basis for skills development and project support across the business
  • There was a structured approach to coaching improvement projects that ensured the planned benefits were realised
  • A reward and recognition program acknowledged the people and teams that made a significant contribution to quality and operational excellence in ABB.