In a bid to enhance its operational efficiency, work environment and customer satisfaction, Immobel has embraced the principles of Lean management. At the forefront of this transformative journey is Wim Galle, Continuous Improvement manager, who spearheads the People For Excellence programme.

Central to the programme is the idea of creating a more collaborative work environment where employees, who are closest to the process and the client, are seen as the main drivers for change. Collaborators are empowered to raise issues, take initiative and address sometimes cross-departmental topics in order to increase internal efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction. The manager takes on a more coaching role and is a facilitator in a process of continuous improvement.

The programme takes a holistic approach, which addresses at the same time employee engagement, customer satisfaction, process efficiency, performance management and organisational readiness. This ensures thorough analysis of problems, awareness among collaborators and the formulation of effective solutions. “We aim to get to the root cause of a problem, not just address the symptoms,” Wim says. He emphasises the need to integrate continuous improvement into the process, carried by collaborators.

Implementing Lean principles has had a profound impact on several departments, including Customer Guidance, Development, Sales and Technical. One of the notable achievements of the People For Excellence programme is the regular integration of customer feedback in the development and construction process. Clients are interviewed at various stages of the project life cycle through qualitative and quantitative surveys. The feedback is discussed at different levels in the organisation and corrective actions are taken where necessary. This inclusive approach has allowed Immobel to tailor its services to meet customer expectations.

The impact of the programme is evident in various initiatives such as standardised reporting, an improved tendering process, Lunch & Learn sessions*, and the creation of a centralised hub for client choices in equipment and materials, known as the One Stop Shop. This has not only greatly enhanced customer experience by unburdening the client but also resulted in better negotiated prices from the outset, fostering a win-win scenario for both Immobel and its clients. Further proof that operational excellence, driven by continuous improvement, directly results in increased employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

The level of engagement shown by collaborators on some projects has amazed management. This is also the common thread throughout the transformation Immobel has gone through. “Efficient processes lead to more engaged collaborators, which directly translates into a better service,” Wim concludes.

*Gatherings where Immobel collaborators have lunch together during presentations that vary from news and performance of the company to the discussions of ESG topics.