A Focus on Food & Drink

focus on food and drink

At S A Partners we have a team of experts working with Food & Drink companies in the UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond, delivering real benefits to our clients.

Previously, we have introduced our specialists Jeff Williams, Partner and Head of the Food and Drink Sector, Juliette Packham Partner and Andy Brunskill, Principal Consultant.

This month we would like to introduce Dr Toni Whitehead and Dr Donna Samuel.

Toni Whitehead Toni is a Business Analyst who provides Research, Analysis & Evaluation and Programme Management services to clients across a number of sectors, with a special focus on Food & Drink. Toni’s background is in Procurement, Change Management and Supply Chain Management. She has a Masters degree in Lean Supply Chain Management and a PhD in Lean Supply Chains and Regional Economic Development from Cardiff University. Outside of work, Toni has a real passion for Italian Opera, Welsh Rugby, all things ‘environmental’ and the great outdoors.


Donna Samuel Donna is also a Business Analyst, who heads the S A Partners Lean Academy, and who also works with a number of high profile and innovative clients in the F & D sector. Donna started her career in manufacturing but quickly moved into the higher education sector where she accumulated over twenty years of teaching (graduate and post graduate). She has considerable research experience in the areas of lean, business and process improvement, purchasing and supply chain management. Donna has a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a doctorate. Her PhD study focused on the range of factors impacting on the diffusion (or spread) of lean in the UK over the past three decades. She has recently had a paper accepted for publication by a high ranking UK academic journal (IJOPM). Her forthcoming journal paper is based on her PhD study’s literature review.

The S A Partners Lean Academy training programmes are accredited to the Cardiff University Lean Competency System (LCS).

In 2015, ‘Cardiff University has broken into the “Golden Triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London, and confirmed its place as a world-leading university’.

Source: Cardiff University Web Site.

Lean competency System logoOur Lean Academy programmes develop internal capabilities within clients using an experiential learning-by-doing (LBD) approach, to help them sustain Lean and continuous Improvement (CI) programmes themselves. Donna and Toni are accredited to carry out to mentor and/or complete formal portfolio assessments against LCS Levels 1a (Lean Awareness) to 3 (Strategic).

image of the Cardiff university logo and girl holding an Lean Competency Certificate with S A Partners on it

Below is an example of a fully accredited Lean Academy Programme with a global, branded F & D manufacturer.

Client/ Programme No of People on LBD/Coach Programmes Accredited LCS Level Country/ Region Tangible Benefits (Financial) Other Intangible Benefits (Cultural, etc)
Global Branded Food & Drink Company.    S A Partners designed the global Lean Academy as an integrated   Learning & Development System – accredited by Cardiff university. Assessment & Accreditation Services. 100 (70 of these successfully completed the programme).We are currently training and coaching 500 Shift Leaders and new Lean Coaches. 70 Lean Coaches (2a) Global – e.g. Netherlands, Poland, Russia, France, China, USA, Japan, Middle East Over $70m USD in reduced inventory and procurement requirements, utilities costs, lead times, scrap, re-work. Increased capacity. Business aligned to the strategy. Improved quality, customer experience, associate/ employee engagement, cross functional/ organisational working, relationships with 3rd party hauliers/ suppliers, competitive advantage, capability. Developing a sustainable culture of CI.

If you require more information about our consulting, training and coaching services to the Food and Drink sector, please contact Jeff Williams by e-mail.

And don’t forget, our Lean Business System Food & Drink Group in LinkedIn facilitates discussions around the challenges facing Food and Drink companies and the implementation of lean in this important sector. Why not join the group and debate issues that are relevant to you?