Cash is king


De La Rue provides governments and commercial organisations with products and services that underpin the integrity of trade, personal identity and the movement of goods. It is a fascinating organisation producing currency for 150 countries plus passports and tax stamps.

The market place that De La Rue operated was heavily relationship based, however in 2013 this began to change. Governments, state banks, intelligent customers like microsoft all began pushing on the industry for better quality, faster delivery at a more competitive pricing point. De La Rue took up this challenge and set about driving “Operational Excellence” into its supply chain.

If we want to secure our future and to remain the world leader that we are, we must stay ahead of the market. At De La Rue, every employee should understand the flow of value to the customer and feel empowered to make sustainable improvements to performance. Operational Excellence is an operating model that is tried and tested and will deliver results in Quality, Cost and Delivery. This will ensure our current customers get the best experience from working with De La Rue and will remain loyal, while attracting new customers to this incredible brand. Not only that, but for all of us working towards Operational Excellence will make De La Rue a more exciting and enjoyable place to work; after all, who would not want to be a key contributor to a great success story? By being Operationally Excellent, we can secure the future of De La Rue and ensure we are a relevant business that is fit for purpose and fit for the next 200 years.

Rupert Middleton - Managing Director, Supply Chain, De La Rue Plc


Embed Operational Excellence across the supply chain in order to reduce costs and maintain profit, in a market that is more competitive.

With 12 global manufacturing sites stretching from Gateshead to Texas, Basingstoke to Columbo, Bolton to Nairobi, any transformation project is a complex challenge. With differing cultures, a variety of leadership behaviour and mixtures of capabilities, each site was unique. This was no easy feat.


A small focus group was put together to assess best practice within the manufacturing sector. The group consisting of subject matter experts then put together a learning and engagement framework, that would take every leader with the supply chain on a personal journey. A journey that enables each leader to understand themselves better in order to understand others. A journey that created the environment for each leader to lead a high performing team, and increase engagement at every level. A journey that equipped each leader with the basic knowledge and skills set of lean, so that their teams could generate improvements in their workflow.

Our founder Aaron Penwill was part of this focus group which designed the framework and latter as part of Lean Practice he delivered the majority of training to De La Rue leaders in the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Malta and the US.


The learning and engagement framework was a huge success, with many delegates regarding it as the best programme they have been involved with. The framework went on to become a finalist for the 2016 Learning Awards as “Internal Solution of the Year”.

Team members became more engaged and drove improvements within their work areas.

Leaders were able to spend more time on strategic interventions and continual improvement activities as opposed to reactive firefighting.

Key KPI’s, Safety, Quality, Cost and Delivery all improved.

Key tenders were won on the back of having an Operational Excellence framework in place.


  • Focus on building better leaders is key as opposed to focusing on process

  • Improvements to be implemented with and through team members as opposed to leaders doing things their way.

  • The need to dig deep and deal with the real issues and not skirt around the edges giving a false sense of momentum.

  • Don’t under estimate cultural differences and how to adapt delivery whilst maintaining the principles

As part of Lean Practice’s consulting services we can help your organisation embark on a similar journey to De La Rue. If you would like to discuss further use the contact button below.