Encourage growth in your company and its people while working less and working smarter


In an industry that places well-being at the centre of its success, how can a double figure growth rate be achieved without overwhelming the company and its staff with work and, consequently, stress? Probios, a leader in Italy in the production and marketing of organic products, also present on the German market, took up the challenge of combining high performance with individual and corporate well-being, while escaping from the confines that can see an enterprise fail to build a sustainable growth model, based on lean processes and widespread leadership.

Critical issues

At the start of the improvement project, Fernando Favilli, the owner of Probios together with Rossella Bartolozzi, was the focal point of all decisions on product quality, marketing and purchasing. The important task of compiling the price list for a new catalogue occupied weeks of his time, in an unstructured process in which information, often incomplete or incorrect – and therefore late – was passed back and forth between the commercial and purchasing departments.

The objective was finally achieved, but it was often heavily influenced by entrepreneur’s intuition as well as those who were knowledgable about the market.

This is one of the many examples of a critical operation that resulted in a bottleneck for the whole company and a great source of stress for everyone, despite the fact that the company was growing on the market.

The main critical issues revealed were:

  • Unstructured, chaotic processes across the board.
  • Minimal  information sharing.
  • Lack of clarity in defining roles and responsibilities.
  • Inadequate communication.
  • Poor delegation.
  • Excessive amount of overtime and extra work.
  • Frequent  high-pressure environments  (fairs, campaigns, sales, etc…).

The key prerequisite for change, therefore, was for people to grow, with a focus on the combined development of human skills and business processes in order to simultaneously achieve increased productivity and greater well-being, while resolving the critical issues identified during the project’s initial phase.

Project areas

The starting point was precisely working onManaging Director Fernando Favilli and his personal growth, by learning and applying the principles of Lean Management and Lean Lifestyle ®. Only after that was the training extended to other people within the company.

The pilot project for the company-wide extension was in the product development area: Roles were revised and responsibilities assigned. The process has become more defined and transparent, supported by shared tools and working standards.

Other sites followed later:

  • With regards to the price list management process, focusing initially on just a few people, standards have been introduced for database management and structured problem-solving activities to correct any errors that prevent the list from being updated.
  • In the marketing and trade fairs area, visual management tools have been introduced.
  • The administration area has undergone an operational management review.


  • Productivity + 30%
  • Errors and rework -80%
  • Time to market -67%  (6 months to 2 months)
  • Customer satisfaction +2 (on a 10-level ranking)
  • Employee satisfaction +3 (on a 10-level ranking)

These are just some of the tangible results measured.

Fernando Favilli and Rossella Bartolozzi found themselves in a new role: rather than playing several instruments, they are now more like conductors of the orchestra. In particular, thanks to theLean Lifestyle®journey, they have learned and understood how to apply  delegation  mechanisms in order to lighten both workload and stress. Their colleagues, on the other hand, have undertaken individual journeys to improve their individual and corporate performance.

“Sometimes we do not realize how much we can increase our motivation and our performance at work with small changes that give balance and support to everything else. I’ve learned that the habit of recharging my batteries is the most sensible way to have more energy at work” – Daniele Novi, commercial director of Probios

Today, the company is growing at a much higher pace than the market standard (+10-12% in the last two years), achieving record turnover in 2015, up 30% compared to the previous year.

The most important victory was to see an increase in people’s peace of mind, thanks to a model of sustainable growth and a new awareness arising from learning to combine personal well-being with higher professional performance.

If you want to find out more about this case study, discover: “Toyota way for Lean Leadership. Achieving and maintaining excellence in business”

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