Logistical logic helps charity cut project completion times

24 October 2012

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24 October 2012 | Adam Leach

By applying lean processes and supply chain management principles, the Football Foundation has slashed the amount of time it takes to complete projects, its CEO has told SM.

When Paul Thorogood joined the organisation in 2006, he discovered the average time between receiving a funding application and finishing the construction of a sporting facility was three and a half years. Today, thanks to his supply chain and logistics experience, it takes less than a year.

Thorogood, who has more than 30 years of experience in logistics, predominantly in the RAF and other areas of defence, told SM that there are a number of similarities between military logistics and distributing £30 million of grants to improve sports facilities across the UK. He said: “It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s nowhere near enough, so you’ve got to make sure that wherever the money goes, it’s going to have the biggest impact. It’s the same as getting a very expensive spare part sitting in a depot and making sure it’s where it’s needed.”

The Football Foundation is responsible for delivering local community sports facilities across the country. Formed in 2000 and funded by the Premier League, FA and UK government, it awards £30 million in grants to local communities to build new or renovate old facilities. Reducing the amount of time to process applications and construct the facilities helps the organisation get the most out of its funds. “Velocity is important because the longer a building takes to get built, the higher the cost gets,” said Thorogood.

Explaining the importance of the lean approach, he said: “If you look at the lean methodology as trying to simplify the supply chain and make sure there are as few moving parts as possible, the same thing applies to a sporting facility that may cost £1.5 million-£2 million.”

☛ You can read more about the Football Foundation in the November issue of SM.

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