NINTEX partners with specialist business transformation company S A Partners

Digital transformation powerhouse NINTEX partners with specialist business transformation company S A Partners


S A Partners is delighted to announce a new partnership with the world’s leading digital transformation specialists NINTEX.  The partnership will support S A Partners to deliver it’s world class transformation and training solutions with digital capability. 


Today, over 10,000 public and private sector organizations, including more than 50% of the Fortune 500, turn to the Nintex Process Platform to accelerate digital transformation. Their process management and automation software improves the way you work with easy-to-use tools for visually managing, quickly automating and continuously optimizing business processes and workflows.

For over 30 years S A Partners has supported organisations around the world with cultural change and organisational transformation.  This partnership will allow them to support their customers with the solutions they need.

Simon Grogan, Managing Director of S A Partners comments:

“The workflow solutions that NINTEX provide, compliment the S A Partner offering so well it seems like a natural extension to the way we work.  We work with a diverse range of companies on business transformation, cultural change and workflow optimisation. Supporting our customers with their digital transformation in this space is the next step and I believe we have chosen the best possible partner to do this.”

Image of Simon Grogan

The Nintex platform supports a wide range of functions in process mapping, management and automation. It makes it fast and easy to manage and optimise processes within every area of an organisation. It also allows for the all-important continuous improvement element.  Integrations with other leading platforms such as Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce and Sharepoint ensure it fits within existing digital frameworks.

Keivan Zokaei, Partner and Head of Financial Services

“As we grow our enviable list of blue chip clients across four continents, we have recognised the need to enhance our digital offering either directly or through partnerships to our customer base. At the same time that we create and grow direct digital services such as virtual coaching, virtual Enterprise Excellence© Assessments and our bespoke Learning Management System. We can now also provide our clients access to workflow mapping and automation through partnership with Nintex.”

image of keivan

To discuss how we can further support your business with digital transformation please contact Megan James at or call us on +44 2920 881014.

For further information, please contact:

image of ailsa carsonAilsa Carson
Partner, S A Partners LLP
Phone: 0783-222-3453

Useful resources on Covid-19

Here are a list of useful resources that should help you cope with the crisis a lot better. We have split these into two parts, information and Inspiration.


Gaining better understanding about COVID19

These are resources that give you a better understanding of what’s actually going on, from health to financial markets and economic outlook.

Covid-19 Advice & Guidance for Manufacturers by John Quirke of S A Partners

Goldman Sachs research and insights relating to Covid19

Rated as one of the best investment podcasts. It sometimes presents fairly controversial points of view. The Investor’s Podcast dedicates its recent release to COVID-19. *Recommended*

Why COVID-19 is hitting us now – and how to prepare for the next outbreak?, by Alanna Shaikh

Bill Gates predicted the pandemic two year ago. But nobody listened. 25 million people have watched this Ted Talk

Podcast by Mark Graban on Gemba Academy that explains some very basic aspects of Covid19 from a health point of view


Improve your psychological well-being in dealing with Covid-19

Convert the crisis into a gift by Shirzad Chamine. *Recommended*

Happiness Lab Podcasts: A series of podcasts with practical suggestions on how to coach yourself through Covid-19 by Dr Laurie Santos of Yale University. Dr Laurie 8 special episodes on Covid-19. *Recommended*

Checking-in Podcast: Susan David, psychologist at Harvard Medical School talks about managing fear and panic during uncertain times.

Free online course at University of Pennsylvania. Resilience Skills in a Time of Crisis.

Simon Sinek explains why Covid-19 is an opportunity, if you approached it as one.

Award Winning Financial Services Book Give Away

To celebrate the success of the award winning ‘4 + 1: Embedding a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Financial Services’ book, S A Partners will be giving away 100 copies to the first 100 applications that throw their names into the hat.

About the book

The authors combine their seventy years of collective experience in Lean and business improvement to present 5 basic habits to the reader that are easy to learn yet take years to master. A culture of continuous improvement in your organisation will start to develop almost as soon as the habits are applied and continue to mature as they are mastered.

Case studies in two of the world’s leading banking organisations demonstrate how the culture of continuous improvement has been applied in real-world situations. The authors also discuss the underlying neuroscience explaining why these habits actually work. This book is essential reading for leaders and business improvement professionals alike.

The Award

The book has been awarded the prestigious Shingo Publication Award for 2019. By design, the Shingo Award represents the highest standard of excellence in the world.

This award recognises and promotes writing that has had a significant impact and advances the body of knowledge regarding operational excellence. The Shingo Institute is most interested in recognising thought leadership.

How to win

All you have to do to win a copy of this award winning book is fill outthe form below, we will then be pulling out the first 100 names and posting them out.

Good luck!

4+1 Book Entry Form

National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition

We are pleased to announce that S A Partners will be attending the National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition which is being held at the City West hotel in Dublin on the 29th & 30th January 2020.

With an impressive line-up of manufacturing leaders, academics and government agencies who will engage in a stimulating blend of key note addresses and debates.  Our head of Irish operations, John Quirke, will be attending along with other members of the S A Partners team, so why not  come along to our stand and have a chat with themto find out more about what S A Partners can do for you, how we do it, along with the impressive results we help our clients achieve.

S A Partners Gain Investors In People Recognition

We are pleased to announce that after carrying out the IIP Assessment in accordance with the requirements of UKCES, the Investors in People organisation have confirmed that S A Partners have been awarded Investors in People Silver Standard, and thus recognised as an Investors in People organisation.

This is a significant achievement for S A Partners after a year of change, and one that demonstrates the strengths in the organisation and its commitment to continuous improvement for itself and its clients.

Their prestigious accreditation is recognised across the world as a mark of excellence, and is based around optimising performance by championing best practice in people management and equipping organisations with the tools to succeed. Organisations that demonstrate the Investors in People standards achieve the accreditation through a rigorous and objective assessment to determine performance.

Investors in People is owned by the UK government, managed nationally by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).  Investors in People provides a best practice people management standard, offering accreditation to organisations that adhere to the Investors in People framework. Investors in People assessments are conducted locally through seven local Delivery Centres.

IIP was formed in 1991 to protect the integrity of the Investors in People framework. It was a non-departmental public body and received funding from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Webinar: Gaining true commitment to the revised 91XX series of standards

Whilst many organisations already meet the requirements of the 91XX series of standards, the question remains, is the intent and commitment to high performance and a culture of quality truly met?

In this webinar hosted by Megan James, Robin and Leigh will share their experiences deploying quality and enterprise excellence systems within industry and discuss:

  • Going beyond conformance: Discover how to meet the intent behind the revised requirements based on leadership, strategy and a culture of continuous improvement
  • Driving best practice: Understand how the leading companies are embedding and sustaining a high-performance culture through purpose, process and people
  • Building a culture of quality and improvement: Deploying high performance behaviors at all levels of your organization to ensure you meet and exceed the 91XX series requirements
  • Creating alignment: Building a bridge between quality, operations and HR to build one approach to Enterprise Excellence that will create competitive advantage and provision for growth
Fill in the form below to receive the webinar link

Toyota Production System in House Building

To view, use the green download button.

Professor Hines illustrates how quick changeover methods have been deployed requiring a high degree of precision in the manufacturing process alongside modularity. The company also actively involves their supplier in what might be described as ‘high pressure’ improvement collaboration.

While the advantage of Japanese car makers over their western counterparts is well-documented in the existing lean literature, Professor Peter Hines identifies that interesting applications of lean can be found in other parts of the Toyota Corporation. For example, evidence of the application of lean thinking can be found in Toyota’s house building operations.

Toyota decided to enter the prefabricated housing market in 1975 in order to leverage the competitive advantage accrued in the car industry. Their customer order to final production leadtime is less than a month, typically 20-25 days, with 80% of the construction activity taking place within the factory.

25 Years of Lean Publishing

To view the full white paper, use the green download button.

The purpose of this paper is to take a critical, analytical approach to explore the growth and spread of Lean through the academic and practitioner community over the last 25 years to understand the impact of the book The Machine that Changed the World on management thinking.

A comprehensive and systematic review of the extant literature of lean was undertaken and analysed critically to observe patterns and trends that could explain the acceptance of Lean as an operations management philosophy. The review spans from 1987 to 2013. To enable us to effectively manage and understand the diffusion of this literature a database, the Lean Publications Database, was constructed. The number of publications has been adjusted to compensate for growth in the total number of articles published in the same period.

Lean has evolved to be one of the best-known, yet fiercely debated, process improvement methodologies. It emerged during a proliferation of such methodologies in the business and management literature. Lean has developed from a generic description of Toyota Production System (TPS) to a particular type of organisational and management intervention focused on best practice and process improvement methodologies.

Webinar: Voice of the Customer

In this webinar we will explain a simple yet powerful method for understanding value in the eyes of the customer and show how this insight can be used to redirect your organisation’s improvement efforts. Finally we demonstrate how this approach has been usefully deployed with impressive benefits in both small companies and global multinationals alike.

Understanding value in the eyes of the customer is the first of the original lean principles (see Womack and Jones, 1996). However, companies embarked on an improvement programme tend to focus their efforts on waste removal and typically neglect value enhancement. Often this is for lack of a practical approach to harness understand and improve their customer value proposition.

To view the webinar click on the View Webinar graphical link.

If you have any issues with this download please contact

The Core to Sustainable High End Lean

Citing research from his forthcoming book Peter Hines will provide a framework that will help you understand what core operating systems you will need to develop for sustainable High End Lean.

Not to be missed if you want to reach the higher echelons of lean!

You can also join Prof. Peter Hines’s at his Masterclass which will be carrying out Gemba visits at award winning organisations [view brochure].

Viewers of this webinar will also find out the answers to the following questions:

  • What is core to a sustainable Lean implementation?
  • Where am I on the journey?
  • What do I need to do next?
  • What do I need to do to create a culture of continuous improvement?
  • What are the core systems I need to develop?

Webinar: The Core to Sustainable High End Lean

S A Partners Launch Brand New Promotional Videos

S A Partners start the new financial year with two BRAND NEW promotional videos as part of our online advertising campaign.

Video 1 (Left) ‘Competence, Efficiency, Colleagues and Company’

Video 2 (Right) ‘Minimise Waste and Maximise Customer Results’

More videos are on the way in alignment with; introductions to our various sectors, our Shingo Institute Affiliation and Peter Hines’ Enterprise Excellence Masterclass.

Like, comment and subscribe to our YouTube channel (access via the videos below) to continue being the very first to see our forthcoming promotional content.

We’d very much like you to provide some feedback on what you think about these videos. We’d like to know 1) what you like, 2) what you dont like and 3) what you think it needs.  All submissions will then go into a draw to win the Shingo award winning book, ‘Staying Lean, Thriving not just Surviving‘.

Implementing a Successful Continuous Improvement Journey

Senior and Team Leaders of Musgrave Distribution Centre in Fonthill Ireland, look back at the past few years of their successful CI journey.

They focus on health and safety, behaviours, purpose, standard work and leader standard work. The team talk you through the practicalities of implementing CI from the early stages, and how the culture grows through the entire organisation from the top-down.

retail distribution sector s a partners
Sustainable Continuous Improvement

End of Year, Two-Day Event 2017

On July 13th – 14th 2017 we celebrated the end of our 24th year of S A Partners. As we progressed into the new financial year, all our employees and partners met at our offices in Wales to share their ideas and discuss how the business will evolve for years to come. In the image above you will see this years award winners voted by all people within our company.

Exceptional Contribution:

Clare Pryce – Finance Manager
John Quirke – Partner, Ireland Regional Head, Life Science Sector Head

Continually Putting Our Business First:

Lee King – Senior Finance Officer
Jeff Williams – Partner, Food & Drink Sector Head, Business Development Director

Outstanding Performance Improvement:

Kate Murphy – Finance and Business Support Coordinator
Alex Everitt – Marketing and Design Coordinator
Phil Spooner – Principal Consultant

The two days consisted of various talks and exercises including; a premiere of our brand new videos, an insight into the performance of current offers, plus updates and feedback submissions for future offerings.

Day 1 concluded with a wonderful meal at The Black Cock Inn in Caerphilly. A huge thank you to all the staff there for providing a great service!

Check out some snaps and selfies of our activities throughout the 2 days…

TPM of a world class cyclist

Many of you will have seen the documentaries about Team Sky, following the record breaking Tour de France wins by Sir Bradley Wiggins win and Chris Froome. Team Sky take a holistic and systemic approach to looking after their riders and the team – it’s like applying TPM to people!

I recently read Geraint Thomas’ auto-biography which provides excellent insights into the Team Sky world of ‘marginal gains’ and the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) of its world class riders.

Learning from experience – and especially mistakes is important in continuous improvement.  Everything is subjected to Plan > Do > Review in a systematic and systemic fashion.  The obvious areas for improvement are technological advances to materials, kit and equipment (e.g. bikes and helmets) and measuring and analysing rider performance, but personalised training plans, diet, clothing, bedding & mattress toppers, the team bus, warm down regime and recovery care are all subject to this scientific level of scrutiny.

Psychological ‘mind management’ support is available from Professor Steve Peters and the approach he has developed  – called ‘The Chimp Paradox’ – for example, time and effort lost on emotions and worrying is still a waste.

Famously, riders have stated ‘it’s not about the bike’ – the system that supports the world class rider goes much further than the bike.  Marginal gains come from everywhere. And many sports are now adopting this systematic approach to improvement!

So how do you look at your ‘production system’ and performance?  Any lessons from cycling?

Visit our Total Productive Maintenance or TPM page to find out more about our experience and offering on this subject.

Glastonbury Festival, a Lean Operations Management Challenge

If you have just been to, or watched the Glastonbury Festival – this is a real feat of ‘Lean operations management’ that we may not usually consider.

For example:

Last year there was 3 Days of production planning and operations. This year there is 4 as Thursday hosts the ‘surprise act’.

10 stages – or production lines per day, but there are somewhere between 90 and 100 places where music is played.

Min 12 hour shifts per production line (less set ups and planned down time!).

Thousands of food traders, charities, campaigning organisations and peddlers of the bizarre and unique apply to trade at Glastonbury Festival each year.

8 ‘quick changeovers’ per day, per line.

Inbound and outbound logistics management.

Delivering ‘On Time in Full’ to around 135,000 ‘customers’ at the site plus millions around the world via a global distribution network 24/7.

Micro and macro benefits for the UK economy (I won’t talk about the traffic – a constraint outside the control of the festival organisers).

The team are already carrying out a Plan>Do>Check>Act to learn from this years’ experience and continuously improve all aspects for the 2017 plan.

Thanks Glastonbury – another great festival – the clean-up operation begins …..

Funding for Lean Projects in Ireland

SA Partners work closely with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland client companies introducing lean principles, partnering & driving business improvement projects and company wide transformation projects, you can visit our Ireland regional page to find out more.

Both Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland support their clients Lean business activities by offering a suite of supports:

LeanStart – provides an introduction to Lean concepts and allows organizations to gain an understanding of what lean tools and techniques can do for your company in a short, focused engagement.

  • Companies can apply for grant support towards the cost of hiring a Lean consultant.
  • Assignments will typically be carried out over 8-10 weeks.
  • Companies will be eligible to receive support for a maximum of 7 consultancy days.
  • Maximum funding is €3,150

For more detailed information or to apply, go to LeanStart.

LeanPlus – is a medium-term business process improvement project, which results in sustained use of Lean techniques and related methodologies by the company, and will achieve significant measurable gains in capabilities and competitiveness. The LeanPlus assignment should:

  • Deliver significant productivity improvement and cost reductions
  • Embed a culture of business improvement and lean techniques to a cohort of trained staff
  • Introduce a programme to pursue company-wide improvement
  • Assignments may vary in size and scope but will typically be completed within 6 months and will not exceed a total project cost of €70,000

For more detailed information or to apply, go to Business Process Improvement Grant  .

LeanTransform – is a large scale, extensive and holistic company transformation programme delivered by an external training team of international reputation. The main support mechanism is by training grant; support is available for consultancy costs for SMEs, but not large companies. Lean Transform projects should:

  • Deliver company-wide transformation in culture & productivity performance
  • Embed the competencies necessary for on-going competitiveness gains in the company
  • Result in sustainable improvement in the business and across its supply chain
  • The LeanTransform initiative is primarily designed for larger companies with significant operations who can demonstrate to Enterprise Ireland that they have existing capability and resources to implement a programme of this scale. Assignments will typically run for at least 1 year.

For more detailed information or to apply, go to LeanTransform.

For further information on all of the Lean supports listed above please visit the Lean Business Ireland site.

Please contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser or IDA Project Executive to check your companies eligibility for the above supports.

Funding support for a Lean Start, Lean Plus and Lean Transform is based on application to Enterprise Ireland/IDA and cannot be guaranteed by SA Partners.


Jeff’s Top Tips for a Continuous Improvement Journey

Jeff Williams recently attended the Asda Sustainability Conference which was held on January the 13th with great success. At the Conference Jeff went through what sustainable continuous improvement looks  like, and covered the key essential points on what is needed to implement  a Continuous Improvement journey that is sustainable, and that delivers real, measurable results. He also covered in detail why this approach is the right way, and why its always successful.

We’ve attached the essential points that all organisations need to adopt for a successful Continuous Improvement journey.  Just click on the down load link, and if you want to learn more about what we can do to support Food & Drink companies, contact Jeff directly.

Jeff Williams works with Food & Drink clients in the UK, Ireland and internationally.  His wealth of experience has brought him to the attention of conference organisers in the UK and beyond and he is increasingly being invited as a guest speaker to provide thought provoking presentations at high profile to Food & Drink and wider Lean & Continuous Improvement audiences.

You can also read some great case studies from the Food & Drink sector by following the links below, and downloading the case study document.

A case study on Lean Business Improvement & Transformation at Vimto

Implementing TPM in a Food Processing plant to improve OEE and productivity

This case study looks at Creating an accredited Lean Academy for a food & drink multi-national

4 + 1: Embedding a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Financial Services

The authors combine their seventy years of collective experience in Lean and business improvement to present 5 basic habits to the reader that are easy to learn yet take years to master. A culture of continuous improvement in your organisation will start to develop almost as soon as the habits are applied and continue to mature as they are mastered.

Case studies in two of the world’s leading banking organisations demonstrate how the culture of continuous improvement has been applied in real-world situations. The authors also discuss the underlying neuroscience explaining why these habits actually work. This book is essential reading for leaders and business improvement professionals alike.

Purchase this book

Purchase this book

Please note that all profits will go to Redkite – a Children’s cancer charity – their logo is on the front cover.

For more information about the book and how to embed a CI culture in Financial Services, contact sector head and author, Chris Butterworth.

S A Partners Attend Asda’s Sustainability Conference

The new year started with a bang as Jeff Williams, Head of our Food & Drink Sector at S A Partners was invited to run a break-out session workshop at the Asda Supplier Sustainability Summit on how to embed improvement journeys within Food & Drink businesses and supply chains. Over 400 delegates attended the event and delegate feedback on Jeff’s sessions was excellent. Why not read Jeff’s top tips on a sustainable Continuous Improvement journey.

Below is a picture of Asda’s President and CEO, Sean Clarke, addressing the conference audience.

image of Asda CEO Sean Clarke

Predictions for 2017

My predictions for 2017

Given the curveballs that 2016 threw at us, I can’t help feeling a bit foolish in trying to predict what will happen in Sustainability in 2017. Brexit, Donald Trump’s election and a number of forthcoming elections across Europe have created unparalleled uncertainty for the 12 months ahead. Having said that, the big global megatrends are largely positive: growth in global carbon emissions has stalled, population growth is easing off and extreme poverty is falling. So there is an argument that short term noise will do little to derail those patterns.

So, looking into my crystal ball:

1. Coal Takes The Hit

Coal is the climate’s worst enemy, both in terms of pollution and its historically cheap price. But with two of biggest markets India and China turning towards cleaner fuels, it looks like game over for the coal industry. The big uncertainty of course is Donald Trump’s championing of coal to appeal to working class US voters. However, it takes a lot longer to build a coal fired power station than it does to close one, so I suggest a US resurgence in coal is very unlikely to happen.

2. Investment in Renewables Continues to Rise

I keep reading apocalyptic predictions of what will happen to the renewables industry as various Governments water down their subsidy schemes. However, these analyses tend to ignore the dynamics of supply and demand. As renewables’ prices fall to levels which are increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, investors will continue to invest on a purely commercial basis. And that’s how we want it: clean energy standing on its own two feet. The fact that many corporations are investing to meet their own Sustainability targets (see 4. below) will help renewables navigate any bumps in the road.

3. Energy Storage Moves Up the List

Renewable energy is now becoming such a significant provider of electricity in many countries that energy storage will be required to match supply and demand. While the ideal solution is distributed home/electric vehicle storage, I suspect that the initial moves will come from energy companies and large industrial users. The innovations from these large scale initiatives will filter down into small scale installations over the longer term.

4. Business Drives Change

One of the main reasons for the negativity amongst the Sustainability press is the assumption that change only comes if Governments drive it. However, many of the most significant changes have been coming from the commercial sector. If major corporations such as Google go 100% renewable energy (eg via the RE100 scheme), then that’s a huge deal and one which brings economic benefits to the wider renewable industry. With big names like Ikea going zero waste, I expect the circular economy will continue to move up the agenda.

5. Go Green or Go Bust

While the green economy has its fair share of business failures (as you would expect in a nascent sector), what is more interesting is the increasing failure rate amongst established companies in the fossil fuel industry (eg coal giant Peabody’s bankruptcy). To shift to a sustainable economy, we not only need new green businesses, but to lose the old brown businesses too. The latter have a big decision to make this year: whether to transform themselves or fade away. I can’t predict which way they will jump, but to me it looks like a no-brainer.

So there are my five predictions. What do you think?

Gareth Kane is a sustainability consultant, author and coach. You can follow him on Twitter @GarethKane.

Shingo International Conference

Early Bird pricing ends February 3rd, so don’t miss out!

The 29th International Shingo Conference provides a low-stress learning atmosphere where leaders and managers can learn from transformation gurus. Find the right combination of culture, systems and tools to improve your results. Attend this conference to change the way you think about continuous improvement.

Past attendees have included leaders and managers from manufacturers, healthcare providers, finance and insurance industry leaders, to name a few. Any leader or manager looking for sustainable results should attend.  S A Partners have been affiliated with the Shingo Institute since 2013, and run many workshops in Europe, and in Australia.

To take advantage of the early bird offer, register for the conference on the Shingo website.

Also, this month Ken Snyder, the Shingo Institute Executive Director, has written an insightful blog called ‘An Inflection Point’. It covers recent visits to two companies that the Shingo Institute uses as “benchmark” companies – both started their Lean journey about 20 years ago and both received the Shingo Prize about 10 years ago.
More importantly, both have continued their journey seeking perfection. Read the blog and see what you can learn.

UK Industrial Strategy for Life Science

Breaking News for January 2017

The UK Life Sciences sector is being prioritised under the Industrial Strategy Green Paper issued by the government in January 2017. Work is commencing on a new strategy to make the UK the best place in the world to invest in life sciences.

The Green Paper states that the UK Government is looking for businesses to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as universities and local leaders to produce a clear proposal for boosting the productivity of their sector, setting out detailed plans to address challenges such as:

  • delivering upgrades in productivity, including in supply chains;
  • promoting competition and innovation;
  • facilitating long term investment and coordination between suppliers and primes;
  • accelerating growth across the value chain, including by identifying where the greatest value can be gained from technology development and investment;
  • developing and growing the strengths of particular clusters;
  • increasing exports; and looking at how we can use trade and investment deals to help the sector;
  • commercialising research across sectors;
  • boosting skills and the number of high value, high productivity jobs.

For information on how S A Partners can help support these objectives – particularly in relation to productivity and value chain management, contact our Head of Life Sciences SectorJohn Quirke.

The Importance of the Aerospace & Defence Sector to the UK Economy

The Telegraph recently reported that the UK aerospace industry is helping to buoy the British economy, while aerospace companies are pushing the envelope of what’s possible in the future of travel technology.

The UK aerospace industry is colossal. In fact, it’s the second biggest in the world, with its trade association, ADS Group, reporting sales in the sector of £31.1bn last year – up almost £2bn on the previous 12-month period.

At the same time the closely related defence industry enjoyed a turnover of £23.8bn, up £200m on 2014 figures.

Therefore, the Aerospace & Defence sector is important to the UK economy.

Map of the UK showing aerospace manufacturing locations