The Fundamentals Programme

A 3-day course, delivered in-house


Vicky Harston, one of the course leaders

Change does not take time. You will be amazed at how fast the change can be – measured improvements in bottom line results in months not years, palpable improvements in morale in weeks.

Discover how much scope your own organisation has for improving service, reducing costs and improving revenue on this 3-day programme.

This course is delivered on site on 3 consecutive days by two senior Vanguard experts.


Programme content

Day 1

On Day 1, we challenge fundamental ideas about the way we design and manage work and establish systems principles as the better way.

  • The history and background of systems thinking in manufacturing: what did happen in Toyota?
  • How managerial thinking governs performance
  • The fundamental differences between service and manufacturing
  • The weaknesses in command and control – how current thinking about the design and management of work sub-optimises the way work works
  • Systems designs: the better alternative to command and control
  • Overview: the Vanguard Method

Day 2

Applying systems principles to studying you own organisation. Seeing things that were previously invisible.

  • Change based on knowledge
  • The Vanguard model for ‘check’ (getting knowledge about the ‘what and why’ of current performance as a system)
  • Practical action-learning: Participants use the Vanguard model for check on their own organisation. Through action-learning they will assess the ‘what and why’ of current performance as a system – studying customer demand, organisational capability, waste and the causes of waste. Hence participants will have practical knowledge about the scope for improvement using systems principles

Day 3

Implications of systems designs for managing change. Opportunities for improvement and the means/methods for achieving them.

  • Scope for improvement: Pulling together the action-learning from day 2
  • Changing measures to drive better methods
  • Leading and lagging indicators
  • The test of a good measure
  • Principles for the re-design of work: tactics for designing against demand
  • The steps to making successful change… the Vanguard Method and rationale


What is different about service organisations?

In service organisations the customer is involved in what is ‘made’. There is, inherently, more variety in customer demands on service organisations. This makes the need to adopt systems designs even more compelling than for a manufacturer; if a service organisation cannot absorb the variety inherent in customer demands, costs will rise as service worsens. And that is precisely what has happened in our service organisations – being managed in a top-down functional way they carry high costs and poor service. The secret is to learn how to design against demand – it is to design the organisation’s work outside­ in rather than top-down. The Vanguard solutions are practical and relevant – you will wonder why these things have never been pointed out to you before.

The Vanguard Method – helping you change to a systems design

Taiichi Ohno’s innovation – the Toyota Production System – showed how a radically different set of ideas about the design and management of work, had an incredible impact on operational performance. Instead of managing the organisation on command and control principles, Ohno was the first to develop methods for managing the organisation as a system. Vanguard leads the field in these concepts for service organisations. Vanguard has developed and tested what are now proven methods for the systems approach to service design.

Systems designs are, in the simplest terms, different ways of designing and managing work. They are the antidote to ‘command and control’ and, paradoxically, give you more control, lower costs and better service.


The Fundamentals programme is designed for 12 participants at any level although we recommend a ‘diagonal slice’. And we strongly recommend that you include a senior decision-maker.


£12,000 + VAT

Book your fundamentals programme

To arrange an in-house fundamentals programme, please call Vanguard on 01280 822255 or email: