Sample Client Initiatives...

Performance Improvement Case Studies

At Cambridge Consulting, our professionals have been engaged with helping client organizations successfully implement performance improvement initiatives since 1983.  While many clients are reluctant to take the time to assess actual benefits associated with a performance development initiative, those that do can enjoy dual benefits.  First, they can clearly see the ROI associated with their efforts.  Second, they tend to get greater management support for subsequent efforts.

Below are a few examples of initiatives where our support was instrumental in assisting client organizations in achieving performance improvement that adds to the bottom line. 

The Situation

An 18-month consulting engagement where we worked with senior management down to shop floor personnel to improve manufacturing performance for a major U.S. automotive manufacturer facility in Michigan.  As a significant part of this initiative, we used the elements of our workshops entitled A Systems Approach to Project Management and Managing Problems and Decisions.

The Results

In a measured improvement effort using these new techniques in the new component manufacturing facility, they experienced a 30% increase in productivity along with a 50% reduction in overtime.

The Situation

A global advertising agency was looking for ways to substantially increase their profit margins and client satisfaction in the face of less retainer work, increasingly more complex digital projects, and clients looking to stretch their advertising investment.

The Results

Through the targeted and measured use of Cambridge Consulting project management techniques on major accounts, they increased margin performance by an average of 15%. The ultimate return on their performance development investment was 6 to 1 (i.e., $6 dollars for every dollar invested).

The Situation

A major Global Professional Services Firm did a detailed needs analysis and found that there was a need for fundamental project management skills throughout the organization.  They had worked for over a year with different approaches, but found that they lacked the flexibility to be effective in a diverse professional services organization of 11,000 employees.

After an extended evaluation period, they contracted with Cambridge Consulting to certify 17 facilitators who in turn have trained about 500 employees per year since 1999.

The Results

As part of this initiative, they gathered field test data where they asked participants what they used, how, and what kinds of results they achieved.

Within the first year, they calculated that the entire program had paid for itself in project savings and cost avoidance.  In addition, people tended to feel far more confident about achieving results the first time out.

The Situation

A Global Financial Services/Investment Firm initiative was conceived after an internal survey revealed that client focus was a top priority for employee development within the firm's Investment Management group.  A secondary need was to improve team effectiveness in serving clients.

The decision was made to design an initiative with much greater reach and impact than an isolated event (i.e., a training class).  Experience had demonstrated that post-training fade out is a predictable and rapid phenomenon.  The goal was to initiate a continuous improvement process designed to enhance both client service and teamwork over the long term.  The phrase "The race for excellence has no finishers but many winners" was used to drive home the point that this initiative represents an ongoing focus on improving client service in a way that will provide a competitive advantage.

Cambridge Consulting was selected from a group of prospective vendor/partners to support the client on this initiative because of their use of a systematic approach to service improvement and team development.  The initiative was completed in two phases:

Phase One:  To ensure a common frame of reference on the competencies required to provide excellent service, and to begin identifying and removing systemic barriers to service excellence.


  • One-day workshop for all targeted employees
  • Strategy sessions to address systemic issues, projects and quick hits to resolve systemic barriers to service excellence
  • Initial survey of internal clients

Phase Two:  To document and share best practices around client service, and to provide employees with the opportunity to identify personal plans for improving the level of service provided to internal and external clients.


  • Custom developed one-day advanced session for all employees
  • Follow-up survey
  • Draft copy of "Guide to Service Excellence" which included best practices for successful relationship management
The Results

Phase One:  

  • By Q2 1999, all quick hits and projects were completed on time and within budget

  • All targeted employees completed Phase One workshop

Phase Two:  

  • First version of "Guide to Service Excellence" (i.e., documented best practices) completed

  • Follow-up survey in U.S. showed that 83% of client respondents observed some or great improvement in the level of service received from participating employees

The Situation

A major U.S. Airline had a need to quickly get their people up to speed on a problem solving methodology.  They decided that the most cost effective option was to have their professionals certified to deliver a workshop in-house.  They chose Cambridge Consulting over Kepner Tregoe because, after reviewing both programs and approaches, they concluded that the Cambridge offering was superior because:

  • The Cambridge process, approach and materials were more flexible, intuitive and easier to use.  This was important in an environment where nothing gets used unless it's easy, fast and highly applicable.

  • Cambridge was extremely easy to work with.  They had been using the Cambridge Consulting project management workshop, and the level of service provided was excellent.

  • The cost of both conducting the training and facilitator certification was more attractive with the Cambridge Consulting option.

The Results

The client was able to quickly get their facilitators certified and key people trained in a cost effective manner.

The Situation

A Global High Technology Manufacturing and Professional Services Organization was experiencing costly warranty problems due to the inability of field technicians to quickly and correctly diagnose the cause of customer problems with their products.  We helped them to deploy a customized problem solving process for their field service technicians.

The Results

Use of the problem solving techniques enabled the client to significantly reduce warranty and repair costs associated with misdiagnosed problems.  We also helped them to identify and remove key systemic barriers to skill application.

The Situation

Cambridge Consulting collaborated with a major U.S. consumer products manufacturer on a project to develop and implement a Quality Improvement initiative designed to improve quality and profitability while reducing costs. As part of this effort, Cambridge worked with the client to develop and implement key components of the initiative including:

  1. A Quality Improvement Process that formed the nucleus of the initiative. It included:
  • Processes for setting goals and analyzing barriers to their attainment

  • Tools for analyzing problems and verifying root cause

  • Processes for developing, evaluating and selecting solutions

  • Techniques for ensuring support for recommended solutions within the organization

  • Tools for planning and implementing the appropriate solutions

  • Approaches for measuring and monitoring the results over time

  1. A Strategic Quality Leadership Process for use by management to ensure the appropriate level of involvement and support at the middle and senior levels.
  2. A Quality Awareness Program to ensure that all employees knew what was happening, why, and what their role would be.
  3. Facilitator training, certification and consulting support for all of the above.
The Results
  • Hundreds of project teams at over 40 locations throughout the U.S.

  • 85% of projects were non-capital. In those projects, an average of less than $5K per project was spent on hardware and equipment.

  • Over 80% of projects hit budget and schedule targets

  • Average cycle time per project reduced from 180 to 86 days

  • Average project result: $143,000 in revenue improvement or real cost reduction