Making it Happen: The Art of Strategy Deployment

Listen into this 10 minute overview of our latest popular webinar on strategy deployment.  Dr Keivan Zokaei shares insights into how to create tomorrow aggressively whilst running today successfully.

To view this overview, please fill out the form details below and receive the overview link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

S A PARTNERS receives its 5th SHINGO Award

The latest publication by global consulting company S A PARTNERS has been awarded the coveted SHINGO Publication Award™.  TPM: A foundation of Operational Excellence has received exceptional reviews since it’s first release in 2020.

The SHINGO Publication Award recognises and promotes writing that has had a significant impact and advances the body of knowledge regarding operational excellence.

Praise for the publication from industry has been unanimous:

“This book will become a reference on how it should be done.  A paradigm shift to Total Productive Manufacturing that is long overdue.”

Greg Julich, Director Global Reliability, Pfizer Inc, USA


“I know of no other publication on TPM that comes close to the scope, detail and practical utility of this book, that is likely to become THE standard text on the topic.”

John Bicheno,Professor of Lean Enterprise, University of Buckingham, UK

 “The book provides a road map for success with practical guidance and first-hand case studies that help bring the model to life.”

                          Michael Hempton,Operational Excellence Specialist, Moy Park, UK

This award-winning book was a collaboration between Peter Willmott, Andy Brunskill and John Quirke of S A Partners LLP.  Peter Willmott a Senior Associate at S A Partners is widely recognised as an industry expert on the subject and speaks regularly at conferences worldwide.  Andy Brunskill and John Quirke are Partners at the company supporting customers with the design and delivery of global TPM programmes, along with a  global team of TPM specialists in the US, Europe and Australia.

The book outlines a tried and tested 11 Step model which will support any organisation deliver an excellent TPM programme.  Through the case studies interspersed throughout, the authors observed that those companies that successfully deployed TPM and sustained excellence were those that demonstrated a number of key mind-sets – all of which are outlined in this easy to digest book.  This includes illustrating how TPM can align with the systems thinking and ideal behaviors implicit in the Shingo Model™.

What sets this book apart is the focus on how to engage all employees in the TPM cycle of improvement, not just the maintenance team or engineering.  It is a foundational system that should be at the heart of every manufacturing and utility operation as it provides the reliability and stability required for successful and profitable value adding performance.

The book also acknowledges that the digital and technologically driven Industry 4.0 revolution is an important enabler, but it is the individual and team skills that will continue to make the difference, through top-down proactive and visible leadership to deliver bottom-up engagement

S A Partners has also developed a TPM pathway to support organisations to apply the principles outlined in this book.  There is also an introductory three day TPM Masterclass that supports deployment.

The book is available for purchase from AMAZON here

For more information, please contact:

Ailsa Carson
S A Partners
Phone: +44 (0) 783 222 3453

GWAAC opens new shop in Yate Shopping Centre

Yate’s local air ambulance, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), has become the latest fixture in Yate’s Shopping Centre as they opened their new shop in North Walk.

The new shop was opened in a small ceremony this morning with a few of the charity’s Patrons, including Countess Bathurst and former patient and Trustee, Robin Jaques, who officially opened the new shop with a ribbon cutting. Also in attendance was Mayor of Yate, Karl Tomasin, Councillor Ruth Davis, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, as well as Trustees and volunteers of the charity who came along to support their opening day.

The charity are encouraging the people of Yate and surrounding areas to come and visit their new shop in a bid to increase their local presence and raise awareness of the vital service they provide in our local communities.

The shop is the second one for the local charity, who opened their first retail unit in Westbury-on-Trym last year, and will help to bring in vital funds for the lifesaving service.

GWAAC provides emergency care to people who are in a state so critical that they require the skills of a specially trained team of doctors and paramedics at the scene of the accident or incident. Though it is part of the regional 999 response service and works closely with NHS hospitals, the charity is entirely funded by local people.

Shop Manager and Yate resident, Marwa Bahssali, said: “We’re really excited to finally be open and welcoming customers into our shop. Being based here will give us a vital connection with the local people and the community we serve on a daily basis, enabling them to learn more about what we do, our critical care, and encouraging more people to get involved – whether that be through volunteering or fundraising.”

GWAAC Shop Opening

So far this year, the charity’s Critical Care Team have responded to 21 incidents in Yate, and 154 in South Gloucestershire alone, averaging around 5 people a week in the county in need of their local air ambulance.

“We rely solely on charitable donations and get no national funding so have to work tirelessly to raise the necessary funds to keep the helicopter airborne and our critical care teams on the road,” says Marwa.


For more information on GWAAC please visit:

5 Steps to Enterprise Excellence Guide.

The Five Steps to Enterprise Excellence developed by S A Partners has successfully created over 200 roadmaps globally and has provided a framework for companies, across 20 different sectors, on their journey towards Enterprise excellence.

This free booklet helps answer the following questions:

What is Enterprise Excellence?

How does the Enterprise Excellence model work?

What are the 5-steps to Enterprise Excellence?

S A Partners team members complete the Managing & Promoting Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing Programme

Members of the S A Partners Team have successfully completed the Royal College of Psychiatrists accredited programme – Managing & Promoting Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing as part of our continued professional development.  The training was provided by accredited trainer Stephne Puddy.

The team deliver training, coach and mentor UK and international candidates on our Improvement Coach and Leadership programmes.

We work with global leaders and managers from shop floor, first line management up to executive level, in sectors as diverse as Defence, Aerospace, Utilities, Process, Food & Drink, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Financial Services and Retail – in design, manufacturing and service environments …..

Prior to and especially during the Covid 19 pandemic, mental health and wellbeing has increased its profile and we understand the importance in having the knowledge and skills to identify mental health issues, and sign post people experiencing these towards the right help and support, from a range of professionally recognized bodies.

If you would like to know more about our Leadership and Improvement Coach Programmes and how we can support you, your people and your business, please contact

Continued Success of Virtual Training

Over the last two years we have delivered our popular White Belt training virtually, demand has undoubtedly increased in recent months as we all transition to a virtual world.

There are some great benefits to virtual – flexibility, accessibility for remote teams and cost.  Whilst we still advocate face-to-face training we are seeing high levels of engagement, enthusiasm and success with the virtual teams.

The course is accredited to the Cardiff University Lean Competency System – Level 1a.  This is globally recognized as the foundation for lean and continuous improvement learning and a ‘must do’ for anyone looking to progress their career in this area.

This popular certified training course provides an understanding of improvement principles and concepts.

Our training takes place in a virtual, facilitated learning environment.  We have developed exciting new ways to interact and make virtual learning dynamic and thought-provoking.

S A Partners delivers two variations on this qualification:

Lean Awareness Dates are to be confirmed but other virtual training is also availiable.

Total Productive Maintenance’

Feedback has been outstanding:

  • Thank you for a comprehensive course. It was the first time I participated in an on-line course and I will say it was a very well organised experience.
  • Thanks Michael for the support from you and the team it was a great course.
  • The course was enjoyable and a good learning experience
  • Really enjoyed the course and leant a lot- thanks for everything. Hope to work with you again in the future for yellow/ green belt.

The course is delivered over two days in two hour blocks and combines presentations, interactive workshops and self-study between sessions.

The assessment standard seeks evidence of knowledge, via a multiple choice test, plus practical application of learning via a ‘Waste Walk’ at the workplace and a summary of a Harvard Business Review paper on learning to lead in a CI environment.

Successful candidates have already identified real business improvement projects to eliminate wastes and improve productivity, performance and change behaviours at the local/team level.  Many now wish to continue their personal development through continued virtual learning for Yellow and Green Belt.

If you would like to learn more about our virtual learning, please contact

S A Partners join the European Mentoring & Coaching Council

S A Partners have a number of professional coaches amongst the Executive Leadership Team, Partners and Consulting community.

Our coaching and mentoring services complement consulting and training on our Improvement Coach and Leadership programmes.

We work with global leaders from shop floor, first line management up to executive level, in sectors as diverse as Defence, Aerospace, Utilities, Process, Food & Drink, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Financial Services, Retail and Creative Industries/Film Making – in design, manufacturing and service environments.

In 2020 we joined the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (UK) to recognize our levels of development, experience and expertise.

S A Partners Coaching programmes are underpinned by the EMCC Global Competence Framework.

EMCC was formed in 1989 and is a global organisation.  When professional coaching and mentoring in Europe was a new business practice, a group of like-minded practitioners came to the view that there needed to be a common code of practice and shared ethical base for coaches and mentors.

This group included people who are now regarded as the pioneers and original thinkers of the profession, many of whose books have become essential reading:  David Megginson, David Clutterbuck, Eric Parsloe, Sir John Whitmore, Myles Downey and Peter Bluckert).

They wanted to introduce a shared ethical standard not only to guide their practice, but to enable people who employed them to be able to rely on this as a mark of quality. They established the EMCC, a highly regarded Code of Ethics, and developed the European Quality Award.

Since 2020 , 2 of our team have successfully been accredited at EMCC Global Senior Practitioner level:

Dr Toni Whitehead

Juliette Packham

imageof Toni WHitehead

Toni Whitehead

Image of Juliette Packham

Juliette Packham

2 more of our team are currently going through the Accreditation process for Senior Practitioner level:

Richard Lynch

Dr Donna Samuel

If you would like to know more about how we coach Leaders and Continuous Improvement coaches, please contact

Enterprise Excellence Podcast Series

In these podcasts we interview experts on all things Enterprise Excellence, sharing their story and their insights. Experts who believe in achieving sustainable change that betters more than just an organisations’ profit line. Experts who help organisations achieve a symbiotic relationship between environment and economics. Experts who believe in a culture of continuous improvement. We share world best practice and knowledge in achieving a win-win outcome for people, profit and the planet. Join us on this journey to excellence and help to create a better world for organisations, people and the planet.

To listen to these podcats, fill out the form provided, the link will be emailed to you on  completion.

Celebrating Joscar re-certification

Celebrating JOSCAR re-certification

It’s not just a badge we need to gain the trust of our customers, it is more than that.  We are genuinely delighted that we have received re-certification to the JOSCAR register.  This certification means that S A Partners continues to be recognised as a fully compliant supplier to the defence industry.

The JOSCAR register is a central register of approved suppliers used by several major defence organisations including BAE Systems, NATS, Rolls Royce, Airbus and the MOD when implementing new projects. The register is strictly invite only and requires successful completion of a qualification process.

Being included on the register means that S A Partners have been hand-picked by some of the most established organisations in the country.

Robin Jaques, the Head of Aerospace and Defence at S A Partners commented:

“It’s fantastic to receive this re-accreditation – it means current and future customers can have confidence that we have the technical capacity and skills to deliver on projects of a significant scale.  It is also significant as the strict security requirements that these organisations require means that all our customers can be assured we meet the highest levels of protection when working with them.”

The Defence industry is one of our largest sectors, we work closely with organisations in the UK, Europe and the US, supporting them with Leadership, Operational Excellence and culture change programmes.  We have become a chosen supplier as our focus is always on building capability within the organisation by creating a culture of continuous improvement – not simply a focus on the latest Continuous Improvement tools.

For more information, please contact:

Robin Jaques

Partner & Head of Aerospace & Defence
SA Partners LLP
Phone: +44 29 208 1014

Approved Supplier for the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth

S A Partners are delighted to be an approved supplier for the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth (C&G) funded programme. Leveraging our long history in both Supply Chain and Operational Excellence we have a team of skilled experts ready to help support your journey. 

Using our model for Enterprise Excellence, S A Partners takes a balanced approach to training, coaching and implementation to ensure that training and skills development is truly embedded within the organization, is sustainable and delivers a return on investment. Our improvement coach (yellow, green & black belt levels), first line and senior leadership programmes and TPM support is all accredited via the Lean Competency System (LCS) leading to qualifications backed by Cardiff University. 

Working with a number of tier 1 defense suppliers, the MOD and the Defense Supply Chain we bring industry best practice to businesses looking to truly drive a sustainable business improvement programme. 

For more details on C & G modules supported and options for training delivery and workplace support then please contact our Aerospace and Defence team on: 

Robin Jaques: +44(0)7977 131933 

Megan James: +44(0)7967007452 

11 Step TPM Model Brochure Download

The 11 Step TPM Model developed by S A Partners has become a benchmark for excellence. This model has been deployed in companies worldwide and was the foundation of the awardwinning book TPM: A foundation for operational excellence – written by our team – John Quirke, Andy Brunskill and Peter Willmott.

This free TPM brochure download helps answer the following questions:

  • What is Total Productive Maintenance?
  • What Can TPM do for you?
  • How does the 11 step TPM model work?
  • How do you do site wide deployment?
  • How do you develop your TPM capability?

The Future of Lean, Embracing Digital

This interactive workshop where we looked at how emerging technology can be used to unlock productivity and performance, by engaging all employees in CI. During the workshop process automation experts NINTEX who showed how organisations have embraced digital, the types of platforms available and how to get started with digital transformation.
Guest Speakers: Keivan Zokaei & Andrew Murphy

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

TPM, the Foundation for Operational Excellence

The highly successful book for Total Productive Maintenance written by Peter Willmott, John Quirke and Andy Brunskill is now available to purchase at Waterstones. Titled Total Productive Maintenance, a foundation of Operational Excellence. The book provides the following 5 essential outputs:

book cover image

  • Provide a practical guide of how to deliver sustainable benefits using the TPM enabling system
  • Show how TPM can deliver your own Company’s vision, values and aspirations by positioning TPM as a foundational element of Sustainable Operational Excellence
  • Illustrate how TPM can align with systems thinking and ideal behaviours implicit in the Shingo Model™
  • Recognise that the digital and technologically driven Industry 4.0 revolution is just an enabler and that it is our people who will continue to make the difference
  • Understand the likely resource commitments of People, Money and Time of running your own in- house TPM Program & how to prepare a compelling cost / benefit business case.

The book is aimed at 3 target areas within a particular Business Enterprise, and these are The Continuous Improvement & Engineering Specialists,  the Business Leadership Team and the  ‘Practitioners’ at the sharp-end of that Business Enterprise to use the TPM System as the bottom up ‘enabling tool’ to help deliver the company’s business drivers , vision, values and culture.

A while ago, we published a series of TPM white papers to help readers gain a better appreciation that TPM is often a fundamental foundation of Operational Excellence and as such, is a key enabler to deliver the principles underpinning your own Company’s vision and aspirations, or for example- helping to deliver the principles embedded in the Shingo model.

Its aim was also help readers be better able to assimilate the likely resource commitments of People, Money and Time of running your own in- house TPM Program & how to prepare a compelling Cost / Benefit business case.

You can still download and read this series of articles by following the links below:

    1. Is the Effectiveness of your Equipment Assets your Weakest Link?
    2. What can the TPM Best Practice bring to the Operational Excellence Table?
    3. Delivering sustainable TPM
    4. The ‘Pinch-Point’ Solution for Delivering Operational Excellence
    5. Team Recognition through People
    6. How do you measure success in TPM?
    7. Applying TPM to different Sectors & their specific Production Facilities
    8. The 5th Founding Principle of TPM –Early Equipment Management (EEM)

Adapting TPM to a Major Water Utility Environment

This utility provider in the UK serves 1.4 million homes and businesses. The companies assets include 26,000 KM of water mains, 30,000 KM of sewers and 838 sewage treatment works.

The organisation identified an opportunity to address the reliability and productivity of its assets through a TPM programme. Two sites were selected for a pilot study as they had the highest reactive costs and the biggest issues in relation to reliability. Both sites had significant high value capital intense physical assets.

Together, with our customer we developed a 10 step journey to launchtheir Asset Optimisation programme. The change in terminology away from TPM was deliberate and was made to reflect the language of thecompany and to aid engagement.

Improving Asset Reliability in a Bottling Plant

Our customer recognised that in order to fulfil an increase in sales of one of their main product lines to retail customers they needed to improve productivity.

Together, S A Partners reviewed options with the team on site and agreed that the next phase of their improvement journey would be a TPM programme.

This case study highlights the use of Overall Equipment Effectiveness to measure productivity and subsequent productivity improvements which was used t unlock the potential of the team and ensure that this drove engagement and ownership in both TPM and continuous improvement – Today People Matter.

This would ensure change was seen as a new way of life and not just a project based approach.

Reimagine – Refocus Strategy & Maximising Value

Rethinking Finance & Growth following on from the Reimagine & Refocus Conference series. Hosted by J Frank Holmes, Partner, Gambit Corporate Finance LLP

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Reimagine & Refocus with Acuity Law

Join Steve Berry and the Acuity Law Team for their thoughts on Reshaping Business Structure.

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.


Gemba walks and Leader Standard Work (LSW) have the power to transform organizational culture.

Done well, they ensure a presence and engagement with managers and leaders at every tier of the organization.

We support organisations on their journey to enterprise excellence and sustainable business results. Our belief is that true enterprise excellence can only be delivered by engaged, well trained and aligned people working within well designed systems and processes.
One of the most powerful business systems we develop to help organizations improve and reach their potential is LSW with Gemba Walks at its heart.
Gemba Walks
Gemba Walks have been popularized by a number of thought leaders such as Jim Womack in “Gemba Walks” and Michael Bremer in “How to do a Gemba Walk” (two great books worth looking at). The practice originated within Toyota as a critical part of their standard work practices.

The Gemba Walk is a powerful tool, but to use it effectively, it is important to understand its purpose and how this element fits within the wider LSW system. When we understand the purpose, we can then define the interactions and behaviors necessary to achieve this purpose.

According to W Edwards Deming (1993):

image of W E dwards Deming ‘A system is a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish the aim of that system. The aim of that system must be clear to everyone in the system”

LSW ensures leaders within an organization develop and maintain the right culture and performance by supporting and undertaking the right activities, in the right style and at the right location.  Gemba Walks are a tool to help leaders achieve this.


In organizations, we talk about work systems and having standards for those work systems and processes. Any well-designed system will consist of several component elements.  These elements will include standards that detail how procedures or policies work. There will be reports outlining how the system itself is performing.  The system will also define: the necessary patterns of repeatable activities; a feedback mechanism; and how opportunities for continuous improvement are captured.
Under pining all these components are expectations on the required ideal behaviors the system should enable.


The purpose of LSW and Gemba walks is to ensure standardization and improvement in both the physical nature of the work and the underlying culture and behavior necessary to ensure ideal and consistent results. The core element of LSW is the interaction between people and the identification of those common and sometimes unique coaching moments. These coaching moments allow leaders the opportunity to understand the alignment between expectations, capability and understanding. They also provide an opportunity to observe the presence, or absence of, ideal behaviors.

LSW achieves its purpose in several ways:

  • By defining the roles and responsibilities of Leaders at all levels
  • Ensuring that activities are standardized and consistently checked and reinforced.
  • Recognizing people’s contribution to success through the improvement of standards.
  • Identifying and acting on coaching and development opportunities within a pattern of regular habitual activities.

Designed well and embraced appropriately by all team members, LSW will engaged the whole organization in delivering its purpose.

The Components of the LSW System

Whether an activity involves making a product, supporting a critical asset or delivering a service, the LSW system has 4 main components:

  1. Management meeting systems or rhythm: For example, daily huddles, weekly action and idea review meetings
  2. Standard work audits (Gemba) – checking compliance to a standard of work
  3. Personal standard work commitments – choreographed patterns of work that are repetitive and habitual in nature.
  4. One to one coaching and development – performance review meetings and development conversations

The Role of Human Interactions in the LSW System

The differentiator between the LSW and other systems (such as Learning & Development or Continuous Improvement) is that it focuses less on results and more on the necessary behaviors and standards required to achieve the results.

How we talk and listen to people is the basis of human interaction. How we communicate and convey messages to colleagues has a profound effect on how people ultimately feel and behave. It can also impact the quality of subsequent interactions they have with their own colleagues.

It is important to understand that the purpose of the system is to facilitate the interactions which support, and enable ideal behaviors. These are the behaviors that an organization needs to see in order to deliver the desired sustainable results it seeks.  Gemba Walks (and the conversations and coaching moments that are created as a result of this activity) must focus on getting the balance right between confirming standardization, individual development and improvement opportunities.

Benefits of LSW

 This system is one of the pivotal parts of any Excellence journey.  Done well, it has the ability to standardize and systemize leadership interactions and expectations in relation to culture and observed behaviors.  LSW eliminates guess work in relation to what a leader should be doing and by implication, it identifies what a leader should not be doing.

LSW also promotes the discipline of having consistent and repeatable habits both in daily and weekly routines but also in how leaders respond to challenges and non-conformance.  Leaders become more comfortable with the ‘compliance conversations’ which are backed up by actions and followed-up within the routine.

There is an expectation that the emphasis of a leader’s standard work may change. Team leaders should focus on how standard work procedures function to deliver consistent results, whilst senior leaders should focus on how people behave, how they interact with each other and how they can be developed.

In summary, LSW is a powerful lever to influence culture, activity, and team capability. It moves the focus on to behaviors, by defining the role of leaders in the development of observable ideal behaviors. It sets the expectations for the leader’s own performance and behavior as it clearly defines the things a leader must do habitually. And finally, patterns of standard work should interlock to ensure senior leaders review activity across tiers and functions within the organization.

The Gemba Walk

At the core of the Gemba walk is the servant leadership model where the senior leaders’ role is to ensure teams have the tools, systems and support necessary to succeed in their task. It also provides the opportunity to coach and develop teams
to help them define meet their challenges.

“Data is of course important, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts. You cannot understand if you have not seen…. The Gemba is a reflection of management”

Taiichi Ohno


The message behind this quote is clear – leaders cannot lead remotely. They need to see the patterns, get the facts firsthand and see what is really happening on the ground. This is one of the powerful aspects of the Toyota Way.


At the heart of Lean thinking is the need to undertake detailed observations of systems and processes.  The famous Taiichi Ohno observation circle which was the origin of Five S springs to mind. The Gemba Walk is just that a detailed observation of the systems and processes operating within an organization.

What is a Gemba Walk?

It is a horizontal journey along the value stream of a business which shows how value is created by following systems or processes as they move through initial creation to completion. It is the best way to truly understand what is happening within an organization and enhances knowledge and insight.

Gemba is the actual place where value is created such as design centers, the manufacturing floor, testing labs, distribution centers, operating rooms, warehousing, service functions and goods receiving stores.  Gemba provides the opportunity to confirm that practices are as described, meet the required standards and that the development opportunities, both in terms of practice and people, are being acted on.

Gemba Walks are not a window dressing exercise but, contrary to its name, they are about standing and observing people and practices. They are not intended to catch people out, and should definitely not be used as a form of management control. They are not about commanding or disciplining.  Nor is it a process where leaders gather and take on problems and try to solve them on behalf of their team.

At the Gemba the leader is not responsible for the problem,
but they are responsible for the quality and intensity
of the conversations about the problem.

It is fundamentally an opportunity to serve, coach and develop people and includes the process of Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) which itself will promote continuous improvement to ensure standards are complied with.

Since we learn by doing and we learn the more we do, the better and more insightful we become as we continue to habitually practice. The result will be improved conversations in a more respectful and trusting environment which is one of the foundations of Enterprise Excellence.

Gemba Walk Graphic

Implementing the Gemba Walk

To get the best from the Gemba Walk activity, it must be planned in a systematic and organized way. The following steps set out a structured approach:

  • Define the purpose of the interaction: Know why it is being done. Possible reasons could be to habitually visit people on the shop floor in order to control and standardize or to visit the workplace to talk and support people who want to create and add value.
  • Engage associates in advance: The Gemba walk should not be a surprise. People should be aware of the time, place, pattern and frequency of the visits
  • Agree and define the scope of the area(s) of the value stream that are to be visited.
  • Coach the walk participants before doing the walk: Since interaction is at the heart of the Gemba thought needs to be put into about how leaders will talk to people and the kind of questions they will ask.

Types of Gemba Walks

  • The standard work audits: This focuses on developing and maintaining standards through coaching. The Gemba Walk follows the flow of the service or product. The work audit occurs several times a day and is attended by all levels of management
  • One to one development: This focuses on improving standards through coaching. The Gemba walk is focused on one area at a time. There is a planned approach to the one-to-one development sessions which occur at planned intervals and is attended by various levels of management.
  • System review: Here we focus on particular systems and process such as how we identify and solve problems. How we drive improvement. How we implement effective process change.  How we manage and improve the safety health and welfare of our teams.

It is essential to note that there can be no improvement if there are no standards to improve against. Without standards, variation and chaos thrives.

Focusing on interactions

The most important place where leaders need to be spending their time is where real value is created. This is the essence of the Gemba Walk. It is not about the visit but about leaders developing themselves and others, understanding the process, issues, and people, gaining insight into what is really happening on the ground and servant leadership.

It is therefore important that conversations are skillfully delivered in ways that make people think, feel and act in productive ways. To do this we consider you use tools such as Soundwave or Acoustic Management Techniques which will ensure you:

  • Ask exploratory questions to discover more:
    • What is the process?
    • What is working well or not so well?
    • What is creating strain or stress?
    • How are people feeling at work?
  • Tell directly and calmly to get positive outcomes or to reaffirm expected standards.
  • Suggest in a way and manner that allows for another’s point of view.

In conclusion, Gemba Walks are a tool that help Leaders promote a culture of continuous improvement by focusing on ideal observable behaviors and seeking opportunities for personal improvement and development within their teams.

This is a result of creating a deep insight into people, process and performance firsthand. It is aligned to the Servant Leadership philosophy pioneered by Blanchard – which focuses on engaging teams, promoting confidence and morale through coaching and communication.

Written by John Quirke & Robin Jaques

You can also view the Leader Standard Work and Gemba Walks webinar presented by John Quirke which covered the following:

  • Gemba walk is a tool within a system
  • Leader Standard Work (LSW) is the system
  • LSW interacts across many systems
  • What’s is the purpose of the system LSW
  • What interactions or behaviours support the aim of LSW as a System & inform Gemba walks

Leader Standard Work and Gemba Walks

This Leader Standard Work and Gemba Walks webinar presented by John Quirke covered the following:

  • Gemba walk is a tool within a system
  • Leader Standard Work (LSW) is the system
  • LSW interacts across many systems
  • What’s is the purpose of the system LSW
  • What interactions or behaviours support the aim of LSW as a System & inform Gemba walks

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Reimagine & Refocus Conference 2

This Reimagine & Refocus webinar with Robin Jaques.

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Developing your TPM learning pathway

In the days before TPM an operator in conversation with his maintenance colleague might suggest albeit mischievously ‘I operate, you fix’, I add value, you cost so watch out my friend!’ In order to begin to change perceptions relating to the equipment and it’s operation and maintenance we need to create an ownership culture where maintainers and operators work closely together so that a conversation in the future might go’ I’m beginning to enjoy this TPM stuff where we are both taking ownership for this asset which is helping each other have a hassle-free shift because we are working smarter as a team. By approaching TPM as a system backed by a philosophy of curiosity and learning we encourage conversations based on learning by doing, problem solving and improving. Successful adoption of Total Productive Manufacturing (Asset Optimisation)  within an organisation will drive significant benefits such as: Improved reliability and an increase in Overall Equipment Effectiveness; tangible reduction in accidents; defects, breakdowns and minor stops.  It is therefore a fundamental component in an organisation’s journey to create Operational Excellence.

How then do you create the skills to make TPM, a reality within your organisation.  To support you and your organisation with this, S A Partners has developed two learning pathways one for Individuals and the other for Organisations.

(1) The Individual TPM Learning Pathway includes:

Introduction to TPM
This two-hour webinar includes a look at the core TPM principles and the 11 Step Model, it also includes team based learning and exercises

½ day TPM Certified White Belt Certificate
Certified by the Cardiff University Lean Competency System (LCS); this two 2hr session workshop includes virtual workshops and team based activities, an assessment and feedback presentation.

2-day TPM Masterclass
Through a series of virtual workshops and virtual site visits to a host site, this two day TPM Masterclass provides a deep understanding of TPM principles; organisational deployment; and insight into the 11 Step TPM Model. You will gain an understanding of how to assess your own assets and how to deploy TPM.

(2) The Organisation-wide pathway includes:

  • 1 day Leadership Buy in -Linking TPM with strategy, vision. Key stakeholder planning and awareness of TPM system and governance process.
  • 2 Day scoping study-A loss profile of the pilot line to understand current state and identify potential opportunities. Measurement of the cultural temperature of the business via a perception survey of operators/maintainers and key contacts.
  • 4 Day TPM Interactive Workshop- To provide a thorough understanding of TPM and how to put it into practice through learning by To provide a framework and understanding for Facilitators to work in, and influence the behaviour of multi-disciplines, multi-interest teams.
  • 5 Day Advanced TPM workshop Advanced – To provide a thorough understanding of other tools and systems within TPM and how to put it into practice through learning by doing including Proactive use of FMEA in decision making ,Change Over Optimisation, Effective Centre Lining and Operator care steps 4- 7.

Without question TPM deployed well will add value to your customer, your team, and to your organisation. TPM will help you improve OEE, reduce costs, downtime and defects; it will improve health & safety in the workplace and ensure your team have better working conditions.

There are numerous case studies on TPM deployment available in our resources section, and also 7 white papers and other TPM related material including an exercise in the TPM section.  We would also recommend you invest in the publication TPM: A foundation of Operational Excellence – available on AMAZON.

Reimagine & Refocus Conference

This Reimagine & Refocus conference looked at the following:

  • Sustaining EBIT Approach with Robin Jaques, SA Partners & J Frank Holmes,
    Gambit Corporate Finance
  • Management Motivation & Remuneration Structures with Steve Berry, Acuity Law
  • Growth/Succession Planning with J Frank Holmes, Gambit Corporate Finance
  • Panel Discussion & Questions
  • Conclusion

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

10 Years of Lean Competency Training Accreditation

lcs certificateS A Partners is proud to be celebrating 10 years Accreditation with the Cardiff University developed Lean Competency System (LCS). The accreditation has become a cornerstone of S A Partners delivery with our customers.

It recognises the standards to which our training modules are held, as well as the capability of our trainers, coaches and assessors.

The LCS framework is an international benchmark for excellence within Lean Training and certification is rigorous and structured to ensure individuals and organisations achieve sustainable results.

Simon Grogan, MD of S A Partners comments:

Celebrating 10 years accreditation is significant for us, it is validation of the work our Trainers, Coaches and Assessors undertake on behalf of our clients.  It also ensures our customers can remain confident with the standards set by our Training, Assessment & Certification programmes which align to the Lean Competency System.”

Over the last 10 years S A Partners and LCS have developed a productive, collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship which has benefited over 10,000 individuals around the world.

The Lean Competency System Framework provides structure and rigour while simultaneously being flexible enough to accommodate the contingent needs of a diverse range of organizational clients.

lCS guide

The S A Partners Improvement Coach and Leadership Programmes are underpinned by this internationally renowned accreditation standard.

The Lean Competency System has a global presence:

lcs map

Since 2010, S A Partners have:

  • Consistently achieved Accreditation and Certification to train and formally assess Cardiff University Lean Competency System Levels 1a to 2b.
  • Coached candidates to ‘strategic’ level 3.
  • Trained over 10,000 people to LCS standards
  • Certified over 5000 people to LCS standards
  • Worked with over 72 Companies
  • Worked in over 20 different Sectors/Industries
  • Multi-National/global clients
  • Delivered Millions in £, Euros, $ in ‘Cost’ benefits plus others across:
    • Customer
    • Compliance – safety and quality
    • Colleagues – engagement, commitment and behaviours
    • Capacity – people and process ‘time’
    • Capability – knowledge, competence and confidence
    • Supported companies to establish their own accredited CI Academies

Simon Elias Director Lean Competency System said:

“The LCS is excited to join in celebrating a highly effective, decade long collaboration with SA Partners and is delighted that it has been able to contribute to its success. SA Partner’s continuous improvement approach has proved robust and effective and clearly appreciates how the LCS can add value for its clients

We are looking forward to the next 10 years and supporting further businesses with their training.

For more information on the LCS programme please contact

Effective Gemba Walks as part of leader standard work

This webinar looks at Gemba walk as a tool within a system, how Leader Standard Work (LSW) is the system, what’s is the purpose of the system LSW and what interactions or behaviours support the purpose & inform Gemba walks.

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Shingo Guiding Principle: Lead with Humility

For me, this is one of the most critical principles within the Shingo Model for leaders to grasp at a core, personal level. The power contained within this principle is, I believe, the source of real cultural change within organizations. Leaders, particularly in the technical and compliance-based environments where I spend a lot of my time, often arrive in their position through their technical credentials and process knowledge. Suddenly, sitting now in a position where they must influence wider teams and allow them to grasp and understand their own reality in relation to process performance, these leaders default to conversations that tell, inform, or suggest how things need to be done. There may well be times when this is required, but long-term it is not sustainable. Often leaders forget, in their ‘telling’, that the logic awareness and understanding may not be as current as it needs to be. Technology changes, attitudes change, and for some weird reason the people we often deal with get younger and younger!

Setting the Scene:

The power of the principle, Lead with Humility, was revealed to me during a leadership and coaching session I was asked to support within a multinational pharmaceutical business. During workshops with the leadership team, we grounded the need to focus on behaviors as the basis for sustainable enterprise excellence. We reviewed the potential of the tiered management system to enable key behaviors and conversations. These behaviors and conversations could be tuned into by the leadership team during their leader standard work activity as a key system within the business. All good.

The team began to develop their ideas of what ideal behaviors would look like and the conversations they might hear to indicate whether the tiered management system was either enabling or disabling these ideal behaviors. All good again.

Great dialogue and enthusiasm developed within the team as they practiced their coaching skills around systems and ideal behaviors. Over time, coaching confidence grew, and they began to integrate coaching activity to their leader standard work and gemba. Much of this was observed so that feedback could be given to the leader.

The Weight of History:

However, as with many organizations, there was a weight of history. In the past, behaviors were not so good. To be fair, many of the serious offenders at the leadership level had left the organization, but the scars still remained. Deep scars. At the front-line level, trust in a ‘new’ focus on behaviors and principles, while generally welcomed, was fragile. Communication and engagement had taken place at multiple levels. Many managers and leaders had attended standard training programs and welcomed the core concepts that a shift toward a behavioral-based focus would bring. But a healthy level of skepticism and ‘we will see’ remained.

A Day of Reckoning and True Change:

And, so a day came. I was joining one the most enthusiastic leaders for a morning of go and see to observe coaching activity at the frontline. As is often the case with consultancy, you build trust, become familiar and part of the team. I joined the leader in the morning, and we set out the plan of go and see for the morning. We spoke of the behaviors and systems we would look for, and again grounded ourselves in why these behaviors were important for the organization.

We set off and joined several tiered meetings, and the progress went well. By late morning, we were visiting a team that, while adopting and implementing the tiered process, its maturity was not at the level of other departments. The team was struggling with performance. Many of the issues were due to suppliers and legacy process problems.

As we listened to the supervisor walk through the area and subsequently review the tier board, I could see a change in behavior of the senior leader. This was an area that had reported to him previously, and it had performed better in the past. Not great, but certainly better than the trends that were being presented. As the conversation continued, additional team members gathered to the board.

The leaders began with an effective enquiry into the issues, but quickly reverted to the old style of technical, on-the-spot trouble shooting and finger pointing. It became heated, not red hot, but warmer than comfortable. Suddenly in mid-sentence, the leader stopped the conversation, lowered his head and looked over at me. He paused and walked away to the amazement of the team. There was silence in the group. After a few moments, the leader returned to the group, and in one of the most contrite apologies I have ever witnessed, explained to the team how sorry he was for the way he had just spoken to the them. He explained that he had fallen into the ‘old way’ and that is exactly why the team was struggling with the issues they faced that day. He said that this was not the way to move the business forward. The team was completely taken aback and openly accepted the apology. Other team members were asked to stop their work and join the conversation. It was a powerful moment.

Way Forward:

The leader, through his humble request for forgiveness, opened the stage for a more open conversation with the team. It was a moment of reset, with the leader committing to a more supportive role in helping the team to resolve these long-standing issues. They were now the experts and closest to the issues. Focused projects where initiated to deal with supplier issues. Process expertise was sought to review the legacy process validation issues and get them resolved through effective problem solving. Issues were resolved with massive learning and engagement with the team. The leader played a supporting role, helping with roadblocks reprioritizing and checking-in with the team at regular scheduled intervals. Things got better.

To the credit of this leader, not only did he seek forgiveness from the team, but he also recounted the story to his peers within a coaching workshop. Again, it was a powerful moment.

“Improvement is only possible when people are willing to acknowledge their vulnerability and abandon bias and prejudice in their pursuit of a better way.”

It is only when leaders cede their perceived power, do they enable powerful organizations.

This article is written by John Quirke, Partner and Global Life Science Sector Lead at S A Partners

GWAAC’s Big Give Christmas Challenge

GWAAC are only called to the most serious medical emergencies, and bring with them skills and equipment normally only found in a hospital operating theatre. All of the funds raised from GWAAC’s Big Give Christmas Challenge will go towards essential training for our Critical Care Team. One of the courses to be funded is a surgical skills course, a bespoke course that gives GWAAC paramedics and doctors the opportunity to practice complex procedures that are rarely used in the field, but when they are, are critical to saving a life. GWAAC Critical Care Doctor Tim Godfrey knows better than most what difference this training can make.

air ambulance helicopter“To be able to be there at the point somebody is injured, doing everything you are able to do in hospital but doing it at the roadside, or in someone’s house, or place of work is incredibly rewarding. But I can only do it because of the bespoke training courses available to me. The invaluable experience of being able to practice these complex surgical procedures in the most authentic way possible, alongside my colleagues, means we can be prepared for any situation we face as a team. It enables us to continue to bring that high quality of care that we deliver in hospital all the time, forward, to where it can make the most difference.”

Related items:

Air Ambulance Anniversary

A Visit from the Air Ambulance Charity on Valentines Day.

Driving Change in Financial Services Conference

View the latest conference which took place on the 4th December called Driving Change in Financial Services presented by Dr Keivan Zokaei of S A Partners and Dina Patel of S & P.

To view this conference, please fill out the form details below and recieve the conference link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Helping Tommy Box Provide Free Meals

Jeff Williams, Global Business Development Director at S A Partners has donated a proportion of his allocated Partner profit share to a local cafe The Tommy Box.  The community café is based in the town of Treharris where Jeff grew up.  The donation was to support the café in cooking and delivering over 60 free meals to the elderly, vulnerable and lonely in Treharris and surrounding areas during the 2 week covid “circuit breaker” lockdown that took place across Wales

Jeff said “ Even though I moved from Treharris over 30 years ago, I still have a lot of family and friends who live there and this was a gesture that S A Partners has enabled me to make to help vulnerable people through this difficult period“

Deborah, from the Tommy Box said “ I would like to thank Jeff Williams and his company, S A Partners for the donation to enable us to provide 60 free meals over the last few weeks for our vulnerable customers. Thank you for your support it’s very much appreciated”

S A Partners Perform Higher Than The Industry Average

S A Partners latest NPS score of +75 is seen as testimony that the customer remains at the heart our consulting business. The challenges of the current market have moved much of our delivery into the virtual space.  Our consultancy, coaching and training is all now delivered to our customers teams across the world – providing enormous benefits in connectivity and responsiveness.

Richard Lynch, part of the Leadership Team at S A Partners has been supporting a number of our key clients with Leadership Coaching virtually for some years. He isn’t surprised that organisations have seen some positive results from a focus on virtual delivery.

“Virtual coaching, definitely has benefits, instead of a situation where it was necessary to deliver back to back coaching sessions onsite, we can now flex to the needs of individuals. The more regular communication at times to suit the customer provides a better platform for dialogue and therefore improvement”

The Net Promoter Score, is an internationally recognized benchmark for customer service. It relies on customers being asked one key question “Would you recommend the company”.  The scoring is weighted calculated and weighted between Advocates, Passives and Detractors.


According to Retently ( the average NPS score for the consulting sector is +51, so S A Partners are performing significantly higher than the industry average.


retently score graphic

retently score

In this changing world, S A Partners is proud to see such fantastic feedback from our customers.

For further information on our NPS Customer Survey please do contact

Webinar: Aligning Learning & Development to Organisational Strategy

We often see significant misalignment between learning and development activity and the real needs of a business. During a survey of a large organisation employees stated that less than 20% of the learning and development activity they had been involved with in the last twelve months was directly related to the work that they do. This is an astounding waste of effort and in effect acts as a disengagement process rather than an engagement process within the organisation.

In this webinar John Quirke and Professor Keivan Zokaei will discuss the design of an effective leaning and development system that is truly aligned to the strategic needs of a business and supports the desired culture within and organisation. In particular in these challenging times, where knowledge islands are a very real risk, how can we effectively capture critical knowledge and ensure that it can be transferred effectively and in the shortest time when the need arises.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Moving from Operational to Enterprise Excellence

Why Enterprise Excellence not Operational Excellence?

At S A Partners, we believe that Lean and the philosophy of continuous improvement can and should be applied to all parts of the business, not just operations or manufacturing. In the same way, we also believe the approach is equally applicable to service and transactional processes.

Operational Excellence vs Enterprise Excellence

The phrase “Operational Excellence” through its wording assumes that the continuous improvement approach is just “an operations thing” or “only applicable to manufacturing” which is just not true and we are passionate about changing this thinking.

Comparatively, Enterprise Excellence assumes that every organisation can and should be excellent and be able to deliver sustainable business results. It also assumes that every single part of the organisation plays a critical part in driving that excellence.

By embracing this thinking, an organisation extends performance efficiencies and effectiveness to their whole value stream, increasing their ability to deliver ideal customer results as well as grow the business in a sustainable way. Understanding how Lean thinking can be applied to all core and supporting processes is key to delivering competitive advantage, for instance, sales, HR & L&D, finance, procurement etc. Equally, the approach and philosophy is something that is generating increasingly impressive results in business service companies such as financial services, retail, and online services.

This thinking is also reflected in the  world renowned Shingo Model for Enterprise Excellence, which expects organsiations to have applied the thinking and model to all parts of the organisation and is increasingly seeing more service sector companies recognized with the prize:

So why aren’t more organisations doing this?

The cultural stigma behind Lean as just Lean Manufacturing is strong and there is still the perception that Lean cannot be applied within service-based processes. This however is a cultural perception and should be challenged.

operational Excellence graphic showing table

If you go back to the core principles of Lean, the primary focus is driving value to the customer (whether internal or external) and then creating flow and pull to drive optimal value in the most efficient way.

Although it can be more difficult see, touch and feel the processes and key wastes in a service environment, they still exist and can have just as much impact on the performance of the organisation and value creation for the customer. Arguably even more so in a service businesses that thrive on excellence in the customer experience. The principles remain the same – its merely the application of the approach that needs to be adjusted to suit the service environment.

But does it work in practice?

There are many case studies of service organisations that have delivered step changes in performance through embracing an organizational wide approach to Enterprise Excellence.

One of the best-case studies around this topic is the Commonwealth Bank which became the first financial services organisation to win a Shingo Prize. They succeeded in not only driving Lean processes but by creating a Lean system and culture.

Looking to get started?

If you are looking to get started on your Enterprise Excellence journey, you may like to take a look at the recent Webinar recording with Carne Group, one of the leading Asset Management Services business based out of Dublin who have been on the journey for less than 12 months and have already seeing significant improvements.

If you are in the service sector and think that you could benefit from a more effective approach, then please do contact our service sector team on to arrange an initial consultation, or drop Megan James a message and she will give you a call.

Webinar: SHINGO: Deploying Ideal Behaviours – Part III

Join us for Part III of our webinar series on Deploying Ideal Behaviours. Part III will focus on how you put in place the right systems to measure and monitor engagement. Without this, behaviours can revert back to ‘the way they were’. You can catch up on Parts I and II by visiting our website

The Shingo Enterprise Excellence model focuses on the identification of Ideal behaviours that will enable your organisation to achieve sustainable ‘Ideal’ results. These behaviours must be supported by key systems within the business. But what does this really mean? How do we identify Ideal behaviours? Who identifies them? How do the Shingo Principles help in identifying Ideal behaviours? Do we need a behaviour for every principle? What if our behaviours have been far from the ideal in the past or even now?

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Download the Award Winning Publication, Staying Lean

S A Partners are pleased to offer the Shingo award winning book, ‘Staying Lean, Thriving not just surviving’ as a full, free download using the link provided.

This publication won the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize in 2009, and it takes you through how to create and sustain a Lean business. It followed Cogent Power’s first two Lean Roadmaps along their journey, and how it successfully implemented Lean in its manufacturing and commercial areas to help turnaround the organisation s financial performance. YOu can view the video case study below

The story is based around the Lean Iceberg Model of sustainable change and addresses the often invisible, and hard to copy, enabling elements of successful Lean Management in manufacturing organisations: Strategy and Alignment, Leadership, Behaviour and Engagement as well as the more visible features: Process Management and the application of Lean Technology, Value Stream Tools and Techniques.

Staying Lean is designed to be used as a practical workbook to guide practitioners along their own Lean journey so that Lean becomes embedded in the organisation and sustains the performance improvements over the long-term; often enabling them to outperform low-cost economies and thus compete in a global marketplace.

Cogent Power Inc, the Full CI Case Study

Webinar: Achieving Enterprise Excellence in the Service Sector

This webinar has been developed to support our Service Sector Customers – please do join Megan James & Garry Corbet to explore the benefits of undergoing an Enterprise Excellence journey. Using the S A Partners Enterprise Excellence model it will look at how purpose, process and people can be aligned to drive superior customer results and drive efficiencies across the business. Drawing on case studies of successful application within the service sector, we will look at the critical success factors, how to get started, and the importance of cultural transformation to drive sustainable change.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Webinar: SHINGO – Deploying Ideal Behaviours – Part II

Join us for Part II of our webinar series on Deploying Ideal Behaviours. Part II will focus on how you Deploy and Engage your teams with Behaviours once they have been identified. You can catch up on Part I by visiting our website here but it’s not required

The Shingo Enterprise Excellence model focuses on the identification of Ideal behaviours that will enable your organisation to achieve sustainable ‘Ideal’ results. These behaviours must be supported by key systems within the business. But what does this really mean? How do we identify Ideal behaviours? Who identifies them? How do the Shingo Principles help in identifying Ideal behaviours? Do we need a behaviour for every principle? What if our behaviours have been far from the ideal in the past or even now?

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Webinar: SHINGO – Deploying Ideal Behaviours

The Shingo Enterprise Excellence model focuses on the identification of Ideal behaviours that will enable your organisation to achieve sustainable ‘Ideal’ results. These behaviours must be supported by key systems within the business. But what does this really mean? How do we identify Ideal behaviours? Who identifies them? How do the Shingo Principles help in identifying Ideal behaviours? Do we need a behaviour for every principle? What if our behaviours have been far from the ideal in the past or even now?

In this informative practical based webinar, John Quirke, Shingo Alumni and Facilitator will help you answer these questions and point to a process by which you can begin to engage your whole organisation in discussions around ideal behaviours that are accepted and ‘truly lived’ in your organisation.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Why TPM (Total Productive maintenance)?

There is no doubt that TPM, whichever definition you use (Preventative or Productive) can significantly improve the reliability, longevity and performance of machinery (assets); and those companies that have deployed it effectively have seen significant returns.

TPM Book coverFundamentally, TPM is a series of methods, originally pioneered by Toyota to ensure every machine within a production process can perform its required tasks – so that production is never interrupted.

The definition of TPM I like to use is:-

  • Total – Involvement of everyone
  • Productive – Maximised equipment effectiveness
  • Maintenance – Action to preserve the standard

Terminology – a note of caution

The TPM definition has been a sticking point for many – it has often been seen as the remit of Engineering and not owned by all, yet machine reliability can impact every person in an organisation.

As Peter Willmott / John Quirke and Andy Brunskill points out in their book TPM: A foundation of Operational Excellence it can cause a them and us mentality –  Similar to having a ‘lean guy’, having someone responsible for ‘TPM’ is not inclusive, it is in fact detrimental to the overall programme – A TPM prograamme needs to actively link and compliment  your Operational Excellence Journey for your assets and people through leadership.

What is the purpose of TPM

It’s worth reflecting on the five founding principles of TPM developed by S Nakajima; T Suzuki and colleagues at the Japan Institute for Plant Maintenance. These set out why an organisation should deploy TPM.

These are:

  • Increase the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
  • Improved existing Plant Maintenance Systems
  • Make Routine asset care part of the job
  • Increase Skills (hand and operational, team working and problem solving)
  • Early Equipment Management

Our team have also developed a sixth point to add to this:

  • Fully Engage your Teams– and  ensure the team see the results of their effort, and equally it focuses on the mind on whether you are winning or losing.

Operationally many manufacturers use the WCM (World Class Manufacturing) target of Zero as a desired future state. This means a focus on:

  • Zero Accidents
  • Zero Defects
  • Zero Breakdowns
  • Zero Minor Stops
4 milestones graphic
4 milestones of TPM & team performance


Thinking of deploying or improving your TPM system?

My colleagues and I have developed an 11 Step TPM system to support organisations deploy TPM effectively.

These steps are carefully designed to ensure there is a focus on:

  • Measurement
  • Condition Appraisal
  • Problem elimination; and
  • Sustainability

TPM = Today People Matter

At S A Partners we often encourage people to think of TPM as ‘Today People Matter’. In any asset-based enterprise the effective and efficient operation of your assets is a critical factor in the consistent delivery of customer value. Therefore, we can consider our ability to maintain and optimise the performance of those assets as one of the critical systems within a business. As a system therefore it must be designed to support and encourage ideal behaviours of those working within and supporting the asset optimisation system.

Be mindful that TPM does not just focus on equipment but is seen as a philosophy to support improvement.  It should be focused on people and establishing the correct relationship between people and their equipment.  This will enable ‘ownership’ teamwork and personal development. The key is about unlocking the installed productive capacity of our equipment by unlocking the innovative capability of our people. A simple fact which is regularly overlooked is the users or operators of equipment, machines and processes who can catch the information on the performance of the equipment and prevent it from breaking down. Without securing the teams co-operation and interest no fully effective maintenance or asset care system can be established.

What TPM can do…

Without question TPM deployed well will add value to your customer, your team, and to your organisation. TPM will help you improve OEE, reduce costs, downtime and defects;  and when deployed correctly effect your teams engagement, performance and  health & safety.

There are numerous case studies on TPM deployment available on our website (, but I have included an example below of a recent activity undertaken and the results achieved over three years:


If you are interested in further information about TPM please do contact our me directly or the wider S A Partners team on

Further information

Useful video’s covering the 11 Step Model can be found here:

Also, please do refer to our latest award winning book: TPM: A foundation of operational excellence – available on Amazon here: CLICK HERE

Greenyard Fresh UK awarded Lean Gold validation

Jeff Williams, Business Develpment Director, is pleased to announce that Greenyard Fresh UK has been awarded Lean Gold Validation which recognises the organisational transformation and continuous improvement in the Greenyard Fresh UK business through our Food & Drink sector work.

image of jeff williams at Goldfresh UkJeff Williams said of the award: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with such a dedicated team of people. The improvement journey hasn’t always been easy, however the passion and motivation of the team has been inspirational to observe.”

Greenyard’s Fresh division is a worldwide market leader in fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers and plants, and fresh produce logistics. Developing extensive global partnerships with their growers enables them to offer an exceptionally wide range of high quality fresh produce to their customers, which are the majority of the key retailers within Europe. They work closely with customers to continually meet and exceed their needs and expectations; their drive in industry leading packaging, promotional and product innovation helps them grow together in a mutually sustainable way.

Bill Mathieson, Greenyard Fresh Managing Director says: “Culturally and operationally we have been on a journey to change the very DNA of the business. Working with S A Partners has supported us to unlock the business potential and make a positive impact to every aspect of the way we work. It’s so important to have a modern packhouse facility and be lean, adaptable and transparent in everything we do. The focus of the team has been on embedding a customer first mindset and approach to ensure with our fantastic growers to deliver them high quality produce. This is a tremendous milestone and the good news is we believe we have further opportunities to improve.”

Read the full press release.


Webinar: Future of CI in a Changing World: Panel Discussion with Dr Keivan Zokaei & Guests

Join Keivan Zokaei and his guests from the world of Lean & CI for a panel discussion on the future of Continuous Improvement. We have seen remarkable changes happen within the last few months, with companies drastically changing how they operate. Our panel will consider what this means for Continuous Improvement & Lean deployment both now and in the future. Guests include Mark Graban and John Bicheno.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Webinar: Creating a Roadmap with Virtual Teams

Creating an assessment that can be rolled out and managed virtually will support your organisation to measure and drive improvement and change. Join Gary Griffiths to hear how we can now leverage technology to improve how and when we undertake benchmarks and assessments and how we can deploy the roadmap successfully in a virtual world.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Webinar: Reducing Stress & Building Resilience with Guest Speaker Adele Stickland

Join us for our interview with Adele Stickland, Author & Wellbeing Expert where we will explore how organisations can support their employees reduce stress and build resilience. Investing in health, wellbeing and resilience are critical business strategies that promotes an environment that develops stronger engagement so that disputes get resolved quicker and builds resilience so that employees can bounce back after busy, demanding work periods.

The risk for businesses in terms of loss of talent, knowledge and experience is real with a sixth of workers experiencing a mental health problem at any one time and stress, anxiety and depression

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinar link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Friends of Chernobyl Children get £5,000 Boost

chernobyl pensioner with vitamins
Chernobyl pensioner shown with vitamins

Friends of Chernobyl’s Children are very grateful to S A Partners for their recent generous donation of £5000. This will go a very long way to helping the children in Belarus supported by the charity. It is especially welcome at this difficult time when the charity is not able to hold its usual fundraising activities. FOCC is entirely run by volunteers and so all the money is spent on helping the children.

FOCC supports children and their families who live in the south eastern corner of Belarus. This was the area most affected by the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 and the inhabitants continue to suffer greatly from the effects. The area has been economically neglected since the disaster and agricultural jobs based around collective farms and low paid work, such as sweeping the roads, is all that is available. Many people live in very basic, frequently over crowded, accommodation without running water and are reliant on wells or pumps and outdoor earth toilets, often used by several households. They are dependent on locally produced food, with potatoes, onions, eggs and chickens being staples. The fruit and vegetables are grown in contaminated soil and all these factors contribute to general ill health and low immune systems amongst the population.

A typical Chernobyl house

FOCC primarily helps the children by bringing groups to South Wales for recuperative visits. The children come for a month at a time and return for up to 5 visits on the programme. Spending time in a healthy environment and eating good food really helps to boost the general health of these children. Whilst here they are given check ups by an optician, a dentist and a chiropractor and are given any treatment they need. They also receive a year’s supply of vitamins to take back with them and other useful items such as seeds, toiletries, stationery and a good supply of donated clothing for the entire family. The children stay with host families and often form close bonds with their hosts and the helpers on the programme. They attend a programme each weekday and undertake lots of craft activities and go on lots of fun outings. They return with lots of memories of the good times they have had, the friends they have made and the love they have received, memories which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

You can find out more about the Friends of Chernobyl Children Charity, and the work it does by viewing this video .

Webinar: Leader Standard Work and Gemba Walks

Effective Gemba Walks as part of your Leader Standard Work (LSW) System are essential for developing a culture of Enterprise Excellence. Developing and deploying the LSW system within your organisation will ensure you build and sustain the right behaviours. Join Robin Jaques where he will share some of the key principles of LSW and Gemba Walks. Robin will also share insights on how excellent dialogue skills (speaking & listening) can improve the success of your time at the gemba.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinar link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Covid-19-Coaching through Disruption

Keivan Zokaei, partner and head of Financial Services at S A Partners, recently delivered a webcast for the Chartered Banker Institute where he talks about taking advantage of a crisis situation and turning it into a positive one.

In this webcast you will:

  • Learn the basic principles of well-being and resilience
  • Learn more about the nature of Covid-19 crisis and the profound effect it will have on management practices going forward
  • Learn tried and tested coaching and positive psychology techniques to help you lead and support both yourself and your team during Covid-19 Crisis.
  • Learn why companies that have a culture of improvement are doing significantly better than their competition

There is an interview with senior directors from a leading FS sector company who will explain their response to Covid-19 and how their culture of improvement underpins their resilience through the crisis, with an open Q&A with Dr Keivan Zokaei.

Guest Speakers

Tina Morris – Chief Operating Officer at S&P Global

Dina Patel – Head of Continuous Improvement at S&P Global

Webinar: Creating a Roadmap for Enterprise Excellence

Join us for this webinar with ‘Staying Lean” Author and Industry expert Gary Griffiths to gain inspiration on how to build and undertake a Enterprise Excellence Assessment across multiple sites. Gary will also explore how this will help you develop your roadmap for the future.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Webinar: Essence of Excellence Book Club & Virtual Workshop with Prof. Peter Hines

The Essence of Excellence Book Club & Virtual Workshop webinar with Prof. Peter Hines.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Webinar: Inspiration from SHINGO – Assure quality at Source & Seek Perfection

In this webinar we will look more deeply into two of the Shingo Guiding Principles – Assure Quality at Source & Seek Perfection. These are part of the Continuous Improvement Dimension. We will look at how we can create the right ‘systems’ and therefore ‘behaviours’ to achieve zero defects within our operations.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Looking Forward to the NEPIC Best Practice Conference

Phil SPooner, partner at S A Partners and who heads up our Process sector, will be speaking at the NEPIC Best Practice In Industrial Asset Management Conference this coming 18th November.

The topic Phil will be speaking phil talkooing over a powerpoint slideabout, will be ‘A foundation for Operational Excellence’. In this session, Phil will position TPM as an approach to asset management, as foundational to improving the productivity of your organisation and building a model for sustainable operational excellence. He will also be sharing case studies for how the TPM approach works within different environments

• Asset management as a foundational component to operational excellence
• Asset management in different environments (labs, utilities etc.)
• Building your own roadmap for TPM through the levels of maturity

The highly successful NEPIC event will host speakers and topics showcasing cross-sector best practice to drive forward improvements in productivity, reliability and safety.

Throughout the day they demonstrate transferable lessons from across the manufacturing spectrum, that Production and Engineering Managers can apply to their own operations, as well as showcasing the broad range of asset management capabilities that are available within the region.

Towards World Class Manufacturing

Ten lessons from the world’s best manufacturers & current thinking around Continuous Improvement which will inspire your best practice journey. Join us to hear how world class companies focus on Continuous Improvement and have achieved Enterprise Excellence.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinar link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.

Deploying TPM in Non-Manufacturing Areas

Join Andy Brunskill, Author of TPM: A foundation of operational excellence, as he shares insights on how to deploy TPM in non-manufacturing areas such as laboratories, utilities and healthcare. Join us live to be in with a chance of winning a copy of the book. This webinar is being delivered by S A Partners to support our customers and friends continue on their journey to Enterprise Excellence.

To view this webinar, please fill out the form details below and recieve the webinara link by email. If you have any issues, please email our technical department who will email you the link directly.