A range of testimonials from our clients, describing how Improvement Architecture helped them with their business issues or concerns and how they benefitted from our help.

34% Reduction in Manufacturing Costs– Mainetti Ltd. 

The Company 


The Mainetti Group is the largest manufacturer and supplier of hangers in the world. Mainetti was established in 1961 in Italy and now operates in over 40 different countries, employing over 4,000 people worldwide. 

Mainetti lists a number of blue-chip high-street customers, however, has been seen to have slowed down due to the economic recession by approx 20%.  Even with this, the local management team are committed to continuing a restructuring operation to enable Mainetti in the UK to continue to compete in a global market.  

To complement these growth plans, the company has a strong vision for lean manufacturing to become a way of life, even given the traditional culture on which it is based. The company has shown great commitment to continuous improvement, lean and culture change no matter how challenging.   


The Challenge 

 The challenge of conducting business in the middle of economic recession highlighted the need to change the business.  It was soon apparent that the organisation needed to focus on key business wins, rather than a traditional lean implementation programme. The culture of the organisation and previous attempts at lean implementation had left some degree of resistance and a general nervousness of what this programme would mean to the organisation.  This uncertainty was shared at all levels throughout Manetti. 

The decision was therefore taken to look for external support in order to look at reducing internal costs in terms of materials, Labour & space utilisation, that’s where Improvement Architecture Ltd came into assist.   


What We Did  


  • Structured an ongoing programme through completing an “X” chart of potential projects.


  • Focused the initial learning at the operatives themselves around the tools and skills required for the specific lean implementation project required, whilst still enabling staff to gain an overall appreciation for the overall philosophies and additional tools available. 


  • Used a variety of real-life issues that arose to solidify the grounding for lean, and support for the overall culture of lean. 


  • Covered broader issues around facilitation and change management which arose during the discussions. 



Improvement Architecture Ltd 

  • A strong partnership was developed between  Improvement Architecture Ltd and Mainetti management which has helped to improve the business through continuous improvement and culture change. 
  •  Improvement Architecture Ltd offered the skills and experience in lean tools/techniques needed to help progress Mainetti down the Lean Journey. 
  •  Improvement Architecture Ltd has provided external structure and project management support to control improvements being made whilst not becoming a barrier for management internally. 


Lessons learned 


Although the lean training has successfully gained improvements in the short-term, it is critical that further standardisation of people, systems and processes is required to ensure ongoing sustainability. 


There is a skills gap at Team Leader level which can act as a barrier between operatives and management.  Further development of this area is required in order that Kaizen programmes may be created successfully. 


The proactiveness shown within the shop-floor areas needs to be further developed with programmes including Engineers and more technical staff across the organisation.  These will be critical to long-term continuous improvement culture and reduction in quality issues. 




What was the impact for the Company? 


In addition to the benefits from the 3 key projects identified below the training has encouraged and enabled the participants to review and use the data already collected in the factory with more confidence.  


High Raw material prices.  An 84% reduction in material cost has been achieved through the use of regrind material, rather than 100% virgin material. 


High Labour Cost.  A 29% reduction in labour cost was achieved through the reduction of operatives from 6 per shift to 4 per shift.  A total reduction of 6 operators per day. 


Overall Machine Cost.  It was determined that an opportunity existed to reduce the overall cost of manufacture by using the 4-cavity tool rather than the 12-cavity where possible.  This resulted in £1.057 saving per 100 parts (or 34% reduction in manufacturing cost).  Further to this, a machine which was used within the original area “just in case” was sold for a saving of £21,000 per year for the rental period, and generated a one-off £40k for bottom-line. 


Further improvement projects are being identified on an ongoing basis due to the change within the cell culture giving increased sustainability to this area. 


There are also further programmes being ongoing for additional cell improvements to link to an overall culture change within the business. 




After having struggled previously with the implementation of lean, SMAS through their deliverer Improvement Architecture Ltd was extremely successful in delivering our needs and structuring the programme to fit our culture.  This project has given significant business benefit.  Good job everyone.” 


Keith Charlton 

MD – Mainetti (North Europe)   


Nicky Gordon, Continuous Improvement Black Belt

Lean Strategy -Gates Power Transmissions Case Study

My name is Nicky Gordon and I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with eight years of business improvement experience across the manufacturing and financial sectors.  I am currently employed as the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Gates Power Transmissions at our facility in south-west Scotland. 

Albeit Gates Dumfries have lived and breathed continuous improvement for over a decade, the sustainability of a number of the key tools and techniques have faded due to a skills shortage, with trained staff gaining promotion from the Gemba or departing the business.

Secondly, the majority of the available quick wins and low hanging fruit had been exhausted therefore we required personnel trained to be able to deep dive, identifying further improvement opportunities and completing them correctly.

Finally, I decided sigma would be a good capability to install on site as we’d be required to focus on variation reduction for future proofing.

My key request was that the training be delivered on site and at a pace set by myself to tie in with site demands.  By taken this course of action it allowed the candidates to be in familiar surroundings where they could visit the impacted area during sessions should the need arise.

Secondly, I didn’t want the training completed in one block as I felt the knowledge would be lost.  By requesting that the green belt programme be delivered in one day sessions on a bi-weekly basis, meant the candidates could put into practice what they learnt in a step by step approach.

From a provider perspective, I required the company to be aligned to ISO training standards, instructors to have experience within the manufacturing sector and the training material to be developed in line with Gates standards.

IA offered training material developed to match my requirements, even to the extent of using company templates.  On top of the basic material were numerous tool guides, linkages to e-papers and practical’s.  Away from the sessions, the IA instructor was always available for support with prompt replies.

The 4 projects aligned to certification have delivered in excess of $100,000 with secondary phases identified to double the benefit.  The candidates who are now green belt certified are putting their knowledge into practice and are aligned to projects in 2017 scoped at delivering approximately $250,000.  We also have them training others in soft skills like project management and 5s.

From commencement to completion IA ensured all our requirements were adhered to offering a high level of professionalism and support along the way.  The level of experience shone through during the training sessions and the fact they offer certification via a well-established body made the decision to partner with them easy.

With the site potentially looking at a yellow belt programme and leadership training in the close future, I will be again looking to link in with IA to deliver a successful and sustainable solution.

Nicky Gordon, Continous Improvement Coordinator, Gates Power Transmissions


The Key -Leadership Coaching

Graham has been an amazing coach and mentor. Graham’s honest, refreshing and liberating approach has helped me to understand not only how I can become a better social leader, but a better person, providing me with his knowledge, expertise, and tools to help me to think outside the box when approaching both professional and personal problems. I would highly recommend working with him!
Victoria Dunn Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) The Key

The Anne Frank Trust UK – Leadership Coaching

I’ve found Graham’s coaching extremely beneficial, both for my professional and personal development. I feel that the work we did together, especially looking at the Gallup Strengths Finder really helped me when applying for, interviewing for and getting an internal promotion. It has also been a real help to have his coaching and support as I have taken on new responsibilities at work. I’m so glad that I saw this opportunity and applied for it, and would highly recommend it to other charity professionals.

Grace Dunne, North East Regional Manager, The Anne Frank Trust UK.

YMCA North Tyneside

What I like most about working with IA is that Graham’s life experiences across a range of industries is hugely valuable and immensely useful. There is a definite sense that we are developing something together. It feels very much like a process of co-creation, not instruction.

Dean Titterton, Chief Executive Officer, YMCA North Tyneside

Roundel Manufacturing -Projected 17% growth for next year.

“The personal support from MGP advisers made us take the time out of our business to consider the future, then create a plan to deal with it. Their advice was so worthwhile. We now expect to continue our growth (17% projected for the next year) with development into new product sales.”

Roundel Manufacturing Sales & Commercial Director Jim Bebbington.

Henry Colbeck Ltd

“Without the help and positive support of BE Group, Improvement Architecture and everyone involved in the Manufacturing Growth Programme we would still be struggling to try to understand a very complex process.”

Bill Colbeck, Chairman at Henry Colbeck Limited


Aim Ath Leisure

“Graham got to work immediately, by sitting down with me, understanding the business and the areas that needed focus. We identified areas of weakness, but also outlined the strengths and achievements which have gotten us to where we are now. “Graham gave us encouragement – we know we have created a good business, and as well as planning for the future we can appreciate where we came from.”

Amy Fettis, Owner, AIM Athleisure

Growth plan for business.

Strategic Growth Plan

Graham Sleep and Kaye Collins from Improvement Architecture have assisted in in my growth plan through the Manufacturing Growth Programme. Their knowledge and advice have helped me plan my next 3 years in terms of growth and a new sales campaign. I felt immediately at ease in their company and was able to discuss the business in detail in an open and honest way. They both made me feel proud and successful in my achievements so far and have encouraged and inspired me to take the next steps with confidence.


Kate Dawson


Business Growth

Manufacturing Growth Programme. Client Testimonial.

We registered for the Manufacturing Growth Programme and Graham was assigned to support us.

Graham was a pleasure to work with and extremely approachable.  He doesn’t overcomplicate the process with unnecessary jargon and very quickly identified the areas we most needed support. The senior team in the business were comfortable to discuss their own pain points and he very quickly built an environment of trust enabling open and honest discussions to flow.

Graham’s report has identified a number of areas where we can make changes to improve both our manufacturing and people processes. It’s up to us now to implement these to benefit from his knowledge and insight.

I believe Graham’s own career has given him valuable insight into a number of different businesses and allows him to take a broad and objective view of the business he is supporting. We would recommend Improvement Architecture to other companies interested in growth strategies”

Catherine Boland,
HR Manager,