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This is a set of NCQ tests to be used within new units.

An introduction to Costing & Financial Control in support of productivity improvement.

This unit introduces the concepts and principles of 5S - a key component of the Lean philosophy.

If we are to improve the productivity of an organisation, we have to bring about change - to what the organisation does or how it   Successful and productive businesses are those that can introduce new processes, system, procedures and working methods easily and quickly, with minimum disruption.

This course looks at the process of change – and the ways it can be managed.  It examines why people – individually and in groups – resist change and then explores how such resistance can be minimised and managed.


Waste in the Lean philosophy is anything that does not add value for the customer.  If we are not adding value but we are incurring cost, then we are reducing our productivity.  All organisations should be looking to identify waste and then eliminate - or at least minimise -it. Waste also impacts on sustainability.  Wasted natural resources deplete the resource available to future generations.

Budgets are an essential part of financial planning. Successful businesses plan ahead. To do this they need to know what costs to expect, how many items they may need to sell etc. Without this, they cannot operate efficiently.

 Budgets generally, are a detailed plan of a business’s future time. Budgets are planned for short or long- term, so they may comprise of plans over a week, year, 5 years or longer.

 This course takes delegates through the principles and practices of setting budgets as part of the planning of operational activity or projects.

Translating a product idea or prototype into a working manufacturing process is the job of production engineering.  The aim is to design and build a process that makes the product reliably and cost-effectively. To do this, the production engineer adopts a number of approaches and a range of tools and techniques. This course will take you through the concepts of production engineering and introduce a number of these tools and techniques.

Starting a new business is a risky venture - and therefore needs to be done carefully, with full preparation, and with as much help and advice as you can get.  This course takes you through the key issues involved and is designed to help a budding entrepreneur take their idea from formation to the core of a successful business. 

Most companies can take advantage of some form of digital technology - to improve their contact with customers, to improve the efficiency of their operations, or to improve their planning and decision-making. However the introduction of technology should be done strategically to minimise costs and risks and improve the chances of success.

Customer Service is a shorthand term for all the interactions with customers that offer them information and support before, during and after any specific transaction.  It is a key function in attracting and retaining customers - and part of the promise your brand makes to the marketplace.  Because retaining customers is much more cost effective than attracting new customers, good customer service makes the organisation more successful - and improves its productivity.

New Product Development is clearly a success factor in maintaining organisational success - but importantly also in our terms is its effect on the productivity of the organisation. New products must be designed and developed to meet market needs; but they must also be designed for cost-effective manufacturability and for long term sustainability in terms of their impact on the environment during manufacture, during use ands during disposal.

Communication is central to most business activity - and certainly to management and leadership. Leaders and managers need to refine the messages they wish to communicate - and then adopt channels and media appropriate to the message and to the selected audience(s).  This course introduces learners to the various choices available, to the barriers that often prevent effective communication  and to the factors that should shape decisions relating to communication strategy.

This course explains the differences between - but also the links between - creativity and innovation ... and then goes on to explain how processes of creativity and innovation can be promoted, facilitated and supported within a business organisation.

This programme is made up of a set of mandatory units (or modules) which collectively lead to the award of a level 5 Diploma.  Each unit is built as a separate 'course' and each of them ends with an END ASSESSMENT which must be completed and submitted online for marking.

The objective of this course is to introduce the glue that binds together a business or team’s drivers for change & improvement and effectively determines the level of success – The Leadership. 

A world class plan to deliver productivity improvement, organisational change or people development, using all the best & most relevant tools and techniques, will falter without the appropriate application and level of Leadership.

Building and maintaining good working relationships within and across an organisation - and with external stakeholders - is a vital underpinning of high performance and high productivity. This course takes learners through the characteristics of good relations in the workplace, the attributes needed by leaders who wish to create and encourage good working relationships - and through problematic areas such as negotiating and managing conflict.

As this is a Level 5 course, you are expected to work through the courser systematically and completely, but also to undertake some further reading to ensure you have a broad knowledge and understanding of the topic. A bibliography of suggested reading is included at the end of the course.

All business comes down in the end to the planning for, and delivery of, products to customers.  This is the province of 'operations' and is a key determinant of the productivity of the business.  It is essential that those planning operations are informed by the wider strategic goals of the organisation and by the need to create business processes which 'deliver the goods' effectively and efficiently.

This course takes the learner through the key factors and issues that shape that effectiveness and efficiency and uses a series of activities to develop the skills needed by the learner to make a significant contribution to operations management within their own organisation.

This course introduces the basic concepts of project planning and management - but  is focused on projects aimed at improving productivity and performance.

This course takes learners through the essential of financial management including the costing and budgeting of performance improvement projectd.

Workforce planning is the process of  looking at what an organisation needs to accomplish in a given period of time, and then  determining what knowledge, skills, and experience are required to get the work done, and how large and the size and type of workforce that is required to provide that mix of skills, knowledge, and experience.

In brief, workforce planning ensures an organisation has the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right places at the right times to carry out its planned activities.

Benchmarking is an integral part of continuous improvement within an organisation and acts as a tool to ensure that companies are driving to improve their performance.

This course takes delegates through the principles, techniques and benefits of using Benchmarking to compare performance across organisations and improve business performance. Upon completion of the course, delegates will understand the purpose and cycle of benchmarking, the main types of benchmarking and the process of applying  benchmarking and uaibng it to to set performance targets within an organisation.

This course is designed to explore issues that help align people and processes with the mission and strategy of an organisation in the pursuit of high performance, high productivity and competitive advantage.   Organisational development practitioners are capable of addressing major business challenges and leading an organisation through the necessary change processes.

Clearly this overlaps and inter-relates with other units in this Diploma programme and some duplication of content is inevitable.  However, this has been designed to reinforce and extend, rather than repeat the content of other units.

Mobile technologies have the power to transform many aspects of modern life – improving the productivity of many activities. Yet building mobile systems is not a simple process of adding mobile technology to what we do now – this fails to recognise that there are opportunities to do things quite differently, and – perhaps more importantly – to do new things.

This course takes delegates through the technologies, and the way in which they inter-relate. It starts the process by which delegates can see how their own role or their own organisation might benefit from these technologies – and it also shows how social benefits can accrue from applying mobile technology to empower sections of society excluded from older, expensive technologies.

Of course all businesses have problems. Solving a business problem is a bit like medicine – the earlier you diagnose a problem, the more likely you are to ‘cure’ it and find a solution. 

This course takes you through a structured process of identifying, clarifying and analysing problems before looking at how we might generate and evaluate potential solutions. The course introduces a number of tools and techniques to aid in this process and includes a range of activities so that you get to apply, and practice, these techniques. 

 The course uses a structured case study - based on a real-life history - so that the processes of problem-solving are set in a ‘real’ business. .


Most organisations run projects outside of their normal day-today activities – projects to introduce new products, upgrade a production line, move to a new office and so on. Some organisations deal almost entirely with projects – construction companies, event management organisations, etc. Projects normally operate to fixed timescales and fixed budgets – so managing activity is very important.

This course takes delegates through the principles and practises of project management – and uses a variety of real-life scenarios and exercises so that delegates practise the skills they need to be able to effectively manage project schedules and resources.

Things can go wrong - and awkward things happen - in all businesses and business activity.  The things that might go wrong are the risks the business has to face. The things that have gone wrong and the unpleasant things that happen give us issues to deal with. Since we can't operate without these risks and issues, we have t learn to deal wth them ... anticipating and planning for when they occur or/and managing them when they do.

This course introduces strategies for managing risks and issues to minimise any harmful impact they may have on the business.

This course takes delegates through the principles and the practice of performance measurement - helping delegates build a framework which will allow them to establish a performance measurement regime within their own organisation - a regime which is comprehensive and balanced, measuring the performance of groups and individuals. 

Innovation is considered one of the essential attributes of effective and successful organisations. Yet, the number of companies that are held up as exemplars of innovative thinking and activity is very low.

This suggests that, though companies realise the need for innovation, they find it difficult to build the capacity for innovation. This course looks at what innovation is and how to relates to overlapping concepts such as invention, and research & development. It then goes on to give examples of processes, and of tools and techniques, that can be used to build innovative capacity.

Finally, it looks at the concept of Open Innovation – one of the latest approaches to innovation, made possible by networked, socially- based technologies. The course includes a range of case studies and examples...and practical exercises that develop skills and competencies, so that those completing the course develop their personal capacity for creative thinking and innovation. 

If we are to improve the productivity of an organisation, we have to bring about change - to what the organisation does or how it   Successful and productive businesses are those that can introduce new processes, system, procedures and working methods easily and quickly, with minimum disruption.

This course looks at the process of change – and the ways it can be managed.  It examines why people – individually and in groups – resist change and then explores how such resistance can be minimised and managed.


This course introduces the concepts and practises of quality management - both quality control and quality assurance.  It does not cover the details of statistical quality control but it does introduce the principles and should allow students to contribute to the design and development of an effective quality management process supporting operational efficiency and higher levels of customer service. 

This course is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to enable a delegate to participate as a member of a strategic planning team within their own organisation either to undertake a complete strategic planning process or to carry out a ‘strategy health check’ on the organisation.

The course begins by exploring the strategic planning process and the need to build it on a secure and shared corporate mission and vision. It then moves on to explain the use of a number of ‘diagnostic tools’ before working through the process of identifying critical success factors, and key performance indicators, that underpin the achievement of – and measurement of progress towards – corporate objectives. The course then takes students through the practicalities of the planning, monitoring, control and evaluation process.


This course explains the principles and processes of Continuous Improvement  and provides students with the knowledge and skills required to make a significant contribution to av programme of continuous improvement in their own organisation.

This course explains the concept of as Balanced Scorecard and then takes students through the process of working through the issues required to create an effective Scorecard, useful both for performance measurement and as a strategy development tool.

Leading productivity and performance improvement sits within overall strategic leadership - and within the overall vision of the future of the organisation. Leaders are, or should be, constantly trying to change the organisation - for the better - making it more efficient, more competitive , more productive. All leaders need ot understand the issues that surround change management - the real strength of a leader is probably his or her ability to successfully manage change.

The most successful productivity improvement programmes are successful because they involve and engage everyone in the organisation in the process of creating and implementing change. Kaizen is one of the approaches that support and facilitate such involvement and engagement, creating a culture of continuous, incremental improvement. 

Operations management is a large subject, but it can be approached specifically. Essentially, operations management relates to the development, implementation, and upkeep of effective processes that creates an organisation's goods or services. By designing and controlling a process which is needed to convert input into output, efficiency and effectiveness in using resources can be focused on, whilst also meeting customer requirements. 

In a competitive market, innovation is important ... both in terms of what we do and how we do things.. The things we do (the products or services we deliver to customers) must appeal to the market - and how we do things governs our effectiveness and our efficiency. Both have a massive impact on our productivity.

We might be a great, successful company today ... but if we cease to innovate, we are unlikely to be a great, successful company tomorrow.

We need to build an organisation that is creative - to underpin the innovations we need in our future products, processes and business models.

Improving organisational performance and productivity requires a positive contribution from all employees.  A key role of leaders and senior managers is to attract talented staff, develop their skills and abilities, and ensure they are fully engaged, motivated and rewarded.  This course examines the Toyota Kata methodology which uses skills improvement and development to underpin continuous improvement. 

This course explains why critical thinking is essential in the workplace - especially for those who have to negotiate, manage conflict and take decisions.  It explains the concepts behind critical thinking and then uses a range of activities and exercises to develop the key skills required to think critically.

Organisations of all types are feeling the pressure to operative more effectively, whether it be due to cutbacks in funding, global competition for limited resources, or a demand for higher-quality outcomes. To overcome such challenges, improvement is required, and this can only be achieved through a cyclic process of improving an organisation, its teams, and its individual staff members performance. 

An organisation that strives to successfully satisfy their customers can only do so by understanding their wants and needs. By better understanding their customer, a business can provide a better quality product or service, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Strategies deployed with regard to increasing perceived value are essentially based on low cost and price, or high cost and performance, all of which typically stem from the supply chain. Where the latter is concerned, it is essential to generate perceptions of high-quality to increase consumer inclination towards paying higher price for the brand. By maintaining quality and a brand, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profit margins can be increased. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a valuable tool to use when improving business performance. It introduces the voice of the customer as a key asset for organisational success, whilst being enhanced by the use of digital analytics. The business becomes more profitable because it ensures that during the lifespan of the customer, all interactions are positive (where possible), and their product or service is delivered in-full and on-time.

It's not enough for a business to plan for its long-term objectives without assessing for, and managing, any potential risk. Risk creates uncertainty in any organisation, both via internal (non-compliance, information breaches, lack of talent management, and so on) and external (political issues, interest rates, environment, and so on) sources. An organisation can counteract such risks by taking steps to proactively manage them. This course aims to address all the needs for risk management in a business, both on a global and national level.

Leadership and leadership development is continuing to evolve as technical advances and social and political structures shift, and whilst much continues to change, leadership is broadly seen as the ability to achieve direction, alignment, and commitment, with personal leadership used as a means to enhance this capacity.

Communication and relationship-building within a business is essential when an organisation is looking to increase its innovation, productivity, and industry competitiveness. Strong communication is key, both in the workplace, and between a business and its customers; as too, is relationship-building. Further, with novel developments in technology and Social Media, such automation can either help or hinder an organisations ability to effectively communicate and build relationships, both internally and externally.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become somewhat 'fashionable' in recent years. Informed and concerned consumers are increasingly demanding that the companies they buy from act in an ethical, responsible and environmentally aware  manner ..... demonstrating that they are concerned about the effects they have on the environment and on the communities in which they operate and which they serve.

However, some organisations fear that adopting a CSR approach will add to their costs and distract them from their main purpose - the pursuit of profit.

This course aims to show that CSR can be a business development opportunity if business leaders approach it in a strategic way. It helps build company/brand recognition and value, create customer satisfaction and increase attractiveness to potential investors.

In business, understanding the value of an organisation and how more value can be created is important for success. Value typically involves the monetary worth of something/someone, the principles or standard of behaviour, and/or considering something or someone to be important or beneficial. The value chain approach has proven useful in providing important information for decision-making in industry development as a means of identifying improvement opportunities. By undertaking a value chain approach, a business can subsequently enhance its competitiveness, productivity, and performance. 

"A picture is worth a thousand words".  Often, this is true. A picture, chart or diagram can convey information more easily and more effectively than text.  In a business setting, leaders and managers need their staff to follow a vision, to work to established processes, to take informed decisions. Those staff need the information that underpins effective action and secure decision-making.

This course introduces the principles of visual leadership and visual management and covers a range of tools and techniques that can be used to aid the representation and analysis of complex information in forms that make that information easier to understand, to assimilate and to act upon.  These tools  ensure that workers have access to the information they need to carry out work instructions and planned schedules according to the specification, maintaining the quality of output.  They also ensure that managers have access to the information they need to plan and control operations effectively - and that they are aware of quality issues or process errors before too much damage is done.

This is a set of NCQ tests to be used within new units.

This is a set of NCQ tests to be used within new units.

This is a set of NCQ tests to be used within new units.