HillFive delivers Lean Green Belt training to energy company

HillFive delivers Lean Green Belt training to energy company

Energy company RWE Hydro has recently been working with HillFive to embed continuous improvement within its operations.


The improvement programme started in October 2020, when six improvement projects were identified by a project team at RWE Hydro. One of the initiatives was to strengthen the lean and six sigma capabilities of a group of core employees. These employees then acted as ambassadors of the continuous improvement mindset and supported other employees in implementing improvements.

HillFive consultants Bernd Heimbach and Rienk van der Vaart, both experienced Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belts, developed the Green Belt curriculum and provided training for RWE Hydro’s experts. Due to ongoing corona-related constraints, the programme was delivered entirely online.

Four questions to RWE hydro’s project manager about the program and the results achieved:

What was it like to go through the whole program online?

“Running a Green Belt training online is always a challenge, but this hasn’t stopped HillFive and RWE Hydro from starting and making it a success.”

“In the end, everyone was 100% present at every session. The high turnout rate was due to the intrinsic motivation of the participants, which was fostered by the importance of their work. In addition, our coaches have created a sense of mutual trust – ‘what is discussed in the team stays in the team'”

“During the online sessions, attention was also paid to building a personal relationship with the participants. For this, extra breaks were added and one of the participants came up with the idea to create a joint playlist with everyone’s music.”

Why do you think this project was such a success?

“Simply put, because the program was not just a ‘standard’ training. In addition to conveying the Lean theory, a lot of attention was also paid to a number of ‘soft’ factors. Think, for example, of stakeholder management, involving the sponsors per project and change management within the organization. The personal development of the participants also played a prominent role.”

“In the end, they really had to solve a problem that is relevant to the organization. The importance of promoting a feedback loop between clients and participants often plays a crucial role in this.”

How was the success celebrated at the end?

“As the old English saying goes: the more, the better. Before celebrating success with the team, Bernd and Rienk made sure that everyone would actually succeed, so that no one would be left behind. Bernd believes that ‘it’s our responsibility as coaches’ to make sure they get through it as one team.”

“This is only possible if the participants themselves have the confidence, so our coaches emphasize all their successes and ensure that they are sufficiently supported to achieve the end result. To conclude, an official ceremony was organized in which the participants were awarded the official certificate by members of the management team and were thanked extensively for their efforts.”

How was the impact measured?

“Setting concrete measurable goals is an important aspect in our projects; it allows you to think about what is feasible and what you should actually do to realize it. For that reason, we set a project result of €25,000 as the minimum requirement for qualification.”

“In the end, all projects actually yielded more. The motivation during this project was so great that in one case a trainee who had already found € 60,000 in improvement potential, realized even more improvement. The project return on the improvement project rose to no less than €350,000.”

“This aforementioned scenario highlights the elusive aspect of impact. Our approach stems from genuine commitment that manifests itself in commitment to the development of the participants and the achievement of business results. This inspires people to want to go for it and get help when they need it.”

“Our standard is not to simply get the job done; the goal is to leave a lasting impression so that we can take our collaboration to the next level.”


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