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Extract from Bridgestone ‘Real Answers’ Magazine Nov 2010 ~ see : (no password required)


Cost cutters 

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Today's economic challenges mean companies throughout the world are looking to cut costs.

Real Answers speaks to Ian Godfrey from CIP Development Services, a British consultancy that provides a time and waste management programme for companies in the motor industry

Who are CIP Development Services? We're a specialist consultancy for the motor industry based in Bedfordshire, England. Since establishing in 1994, we have successfully completed contracts for the World Bank, the European Union and major vehicle manufacturers, distributors and dealer groups around the world, including General Motors and DaimlerChrysler AG. I'm one of the directors along with Terry Indge. We both have a vast amount of international industry experience, having each worked in the sector for over 40 years.

Which countries can benefit from your collective expertise? Between us we have conducted the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) programme, for over 100 clients in many different countries. We'd say that we are able to conduct the process in virtually every country in the world. Although the challenges vary from country to country and from company to company, the process has always proved beneficial; the participating company always saves much more than the cost of the exercise after just a few months. From then on the company continues to reap the benefits. Our experience is particularly strong in the Middle East and Africa since we have both spent the most significant proportion of our working lives in the area. In fact, there's not a single country within the two regions that has not been visited for business by either Terry or myself.

What is the CIP programme and how can it help a business to cut costs? It's a programme for companies in the motor industry which runs over five days or longer if translation is required. The programme highlights areas or practices that, if modified, would result in significant cost savings, improved customer satisfaction and enhanced profit potential.

How is CIP different from other cost-cutting programmes? It's unusual as it focuses on specific details rather than providing a broad overview of an operation. It also works with the company's own personnel to ensure they own the situation and will therefore be enthusiastic in implementing the changes they suggested. Our philosophy is that a company suffers from a lot of inefficiency in specific areas that, when combined, result in a significant drain on profitability and reputation. We often hear people say 'it only takes a couple of minutes', but we ask 'how many times a day?' and 'how many people do this?' and then multiply the answers by the number of working days in the year. We often find that a particular practice is costing a company thousands of US dollars a year based on the normal retail labour rate. A simple change to a procedure would save that cost, get the vehicles out quicker and make the customers happier. This is clearly a win-win situation, as the technicians or management would not have to work any harder, just smarter.

What's the process of the CIP Programme? The CIP programme hands the analysis of the business to its employees. A team of about six (depending on size of operation) is asked to analyse various operations and suggest where time and material savings can be made. Managers are discouraged from participating as the other members may feel obliged to agree with their comments. The team is led by us - this focuses a new set of eyes on the business and we question practices which have come to be taken for granted by existing personnel.

Why is It necessary to have an external viewpoint? In many cases, employees do not identify issues within their company as they are too close to them. Often companies do things a certain way because they always have, and therefore they believe it is the best way. Issues develop over time for a variety of reasons, not necessarily due to incompetence or negligent management. CIP Development Services believes that there is a vicious circle - companies don't have time to look at the situation, they continue to waste the time that could have been saved and consequently have even less time for vital analysis.

What type of issue will the exercise highlight? The programme looks at how an activity can be improved or streamlined. For instance, is a well paid, skilful worker performing a low-skill job? Is each task being performed by the most suitable person in the most efficient way, without any duplication? What is the 'geography' of the operation? For example, we visited one company where the washrooms were a five minute walk from the workshop. The technicians were (rightly) encouraged to wash their hands between working on each vehicle, and this was a frequent task in a quick service operation. Within half a day of the CIP exercise an industrial sink was fitted near the centre of the workshop and the calculated (and proved) saving was in the region of US$12,000 per year. You might say this was very obvious, but it was only noticed with the help of an outside pair of eyes. The toilets had 'always been there' and the business had grown without consideration of this aspect.

Will a company always remain on the right track after the exercise is completed? It's possible but unlikely. Just as the name of the programme suggests, all operations need to be assessed continually to make sure a company is always adapting its procedures to fall in line with changing customer and business requirements. As well as a detailed 'Action Plan' for implementation, the company is also left with the full programme in Excel format to help them keep track, with the option for CIP to monitor progress as and when required. We advise that the team involved in the exercise regularly reviews progress to ensure that the recommendations are implemented and that the implications of any changes within the business are assessed. Sometimes improving one procedure may have an unforeseen influence on another practice.

What other services do CIP Development Services provide to customers in the Middle East and Africa region? As experts on the motor industry, we also provide feasibility studies, market research, recruitment, business upgrading, training, trade mission organisation, industry reference publications, locum management, workshop re-organisation and many other services within the automotive sector.

Ian, what is your background? I got into the industry through a service apprenticeship with General Motors and I was later responsible for both marketing and service for various regions in the UK. Following this I took charge of dealer development throughout Africa, covering all aspects of General Motors' vehicle operations. I subsequently spent four years working for a multi-franchise dealer/distributor in the Middle East where I set up after-sales operations and a dealer network throughout Saudi Arabia, as well as developing marketing operations. Then in 1994, Terry and I started CIP Development Services.

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What was Terry's background before CIP? He was an apprentice with Vauxhall Motors before holding senior positions with GM in Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Singapore the United Arab Emirates and the UK. From these bases he was responsible for General Motors' products and services throughout Africa, Asia/ Pacific and the Middle East. He started work on the service side for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles and moved to sales and marketing, with a particular emphasis on dealer development and local assembly. He then progressed to become area director and GM vice president responsible for marketing all General Motors' products in the Middle East. Terry is a real asset to CIP due to his broad experience in manufacturing, wholesale and retail levels. Individually we have worked in a great many areas of the automotive sector.

How would you describe yourselves? We are both very down-to-earth and we are used to mixing with many different nationalities. We're both family men – I have two adult children, two grandchildren and a three-year-old son. Terry has a large family living in the US, Africa and Europe, including four great grandchildren. Collectively, we have a lot of hobbies and passions, such as gardening, DIY, music, photography and fishing.

To find out more about the Continuous Improvement Process, and other services from CIP Development Services, visit,

call +44 (0)1582 867897 or email

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