Certified Shingo Training – Discover the Principles of Enterprise Excellence

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The Shingo Model™ is not an additional Lean program or change initiative to implement. Rather, it introduces the 10 Shingo Guiding Principles on which to anchor your current initiatives. It fills the gaps in your efforts towards ideal results and enterprise excellence.”

We offer the full range of Shingo courses both online and in-house, and have been for many years. However, for the first time in New Zealand we are excited to be able to offer the foundation workshop, Discover Excellence and two of the follow on workshops, Enterprise Alignment and Cultural Enablers, for those who have already attended Discover Excellence and want a deeper understanding of the Principles.

Successful businesses have a shared vision, they are great places to work where performance excellence is deeply embedded in the organisations culture.

In these workshops developed by the Shingo Institute you will learn about a behavioural based approach to improvement that encompasses the whole organisation in what we call Enterprise Excellence.

“Lean leaders around the world invest substantial time and money on change initiatives that achieve positive results. Most often, they find it is hard to sustain momentum. Each new Lean tool becomes another possible solution or “best practice” only to create a temporary boost in results and a small taste of victory. It doesn’t take many such cycles for associates to feel jaded, frustrated and even burnt out.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Japan Lean Experience

This month I am putting together the final touches in preparation for my trip to Japan in April 2018, attending the “Japan Lean Experience” with my colleagues from Tokyo .

This will be my fourth week long homage to the spiritual home of Kaizen and Lean thinking, and I will be traveling with a small band of brothers from NZ seeking inspiration from the world’s leading practitioners of Lean Management.

Our variety of factory tours provide a perfect combination of education, exposure to best-in-class Lean practices, unique relationship building, in-depth tours, interactive discussion, and comfort.

In addition to the formal tours, there will be time to take in some sights and experience Japan culture and of course a ride on the bullet train!

The Shinkansen, or Bullet Train cruises at between 280-320KPH and is one of those experiences that is not to be missed. I confess that this for me is one of the highlights, and epitomizes what Japan is all about, efficient, reliable, high quality and on time!


Of course, we have the home of 5S, with everything in it’s place, and a place for everything, there is so much inspiration in their factories, offices and even around town!


Japan also has history and culture by the bucket load and there are some amazing things to see and visit whilst you make your way around.

I’ll be adding a few extra days to the tour and our group will take in some of the sights. A personal favourite is Kyoto, the ancient capital, and a deeply religious place.

It is also a place that brings home some of the things that mankind is not so proud of, the atomic bomb. I recommend a visit to Hiroshima for a poignant reminder of the horror of war and devastation it brings.


Finally, there’s plenty of great food to try and taste. I am pleased to announce that Japan has pizza and pasta and Hagen Daas ice cream, but the local cuisine is very special and well worth a try!

S A Partners will be running a one week study tour to Japan in the near future.

Japan Lean Experience – Tokai-Shin-ei Electronics

Back in 2009 I  kept a diary of my Japan Lean Experience and I recall that on our 4th day on the road, and after another great lunch at the Gozarase restaurant we travelled for about an hour to Ena-shi Gifuken, the home of Tokai-Shin-ei Electronics.

Tokai-Shin-ei design and manufacture printed circuit boards their factory is located in a small town in the foothills of the central ranges around Nagoya. Tokai-Shin-ei ‘s long standing President,  Yoshihito Takanaka, gave the initial presentation; he informed  us of his corporate philosophy, based on self discipline, employee involvement through Kaizen and a focus on customer value through Total Quality Management primciples.


During the Gemba tour it was fascinating, to see the high levels of workplace organisation and cleanliness. The 5S program was adopted in the early nineties, as part of Takanaka’s unique philosophy of developing self discipline across the entire work force which encouraged and sustained a highly clean and organized workplace.

TSK’s market is extremely competitive, and due to its remote location, they had focused on minimizing operating costs, by carefully maintaining and even improving the plant and equipment, to maximize the investment. The adoption of Autonomous Maintenance (TPM) has enabled machinery to last well beyond the normal expectations, hence maximizing the assets and return on capital.

One particular example highlighted during the tour was of a 19 year old machine, which has a normal life expectancy of 5 years!

The overwhelming impression of TSK is that of a dedication to Kaizen, they truly believe that everyone has a part to play in improving the operation for their customers on a daily basis. It is also important to remember that employing just over 100 people in this small town is a significant factor, they seemed proud of being able to withstand the years of fierce competition with one of the best reputations for quality and reliability.


5S is certainly a major contributing factor, and without doubt some of the best examples that you will ever see. This must see factory is an absolute highlight, and we are hoping to include a visit in our 2018 Japan Lean Experience tour!

S A Partners will be running a one week study tour to Japan next April.


Lean Leadership Workshop – Update

In the same week as our Continuous Improvement conference hosted at Massey University, Chris Butterworth, MD Asia Pacific, led our world class, Lean Leadership seminar in Auckland.

This two-day workshop is designed for business leaders and senior managers looking to embed continuous improvement practices in their organisations, and Chris shares how to create a sustainable continuous improvement culture in addition to the tangible benefits from Lean.

Chris brings a wealth of experience and case studies relevant to NZ organisations who are starting the Lean journey and wish to understand the role that leadership plays in embedding continuous improvement principles as part of the “way of life”.

Many thanks to Chris for bringing Lean to life and sharing his expertise and we’ll look forward to Oct, when he’ll be back!

Workshop Outcomes:

Learn how these results are built upon and sustained also how to engage the workforce and create a sustainable Lean culture.

  • Understand how Lean thinking provides the basis for a profitable, growing and customer focused business
  • Understand the key elements of creating a sustainable culture of continuous improvement
  • Identify the priority actions to achieve this vision and start developing a roadmap to get you there
  • Understand the role of the senior team in creating a Lean enterprise

Dr Kano Would be Delighted to Travel Delta Airlines

I have recently returned from three weeks of sun and scenery in the USA, as part of my travels I took a couple of internal flights, on Delta Airlines to transport me in and out of Salt Lake City,  my starting point, then travelling up through Idaho into Yellowstone National Park.

So for those in the know…The Kano model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano.

Kano informs us that customers are always looking for their needs to be fulfilled and certain features if provided can “delight” customers and generate both loyalty and that word of mouth experience that drives sales and beyond. He also adds caution that you also have to get the basics right and standard performance is expected

So in an example, it’s no good having a chocolate on your hotel pillow if the sheets are ripped and the wifi is so slow, you think you’ve gone back to dial up!

Anyway, back to Delta Airlines.

Their app was a dream and I managed to book everything very easily and I had all the details on my phone, plus when I arrived at LAX, I had a “nudge” from my Apple watch, sent from the app, to tell me where to find the bag drop. It also told me the wait time, which wasn’t great news as it was the 4th July weekend, but comforting, no less.

So once I had dropped off the bags, the tracking number loaded to the app and I didn’t need the little receipt, so one less thing to keep safe.

So here’s the extra delighter, although I’m easily pleased. My Apple watch gave me a nudge about 20 minutes later and I had a message from Delta, that my bag had been loaded safely aboard the plane! How cool was that!

So the flight was smooth and even though this was only a short domestic transfer, they had the full size touch interface screens at each seat and you could watch the latest movies or TV at no cost!

The final touch was whilst coming off the plane at SLC, my watch gave me a nudge again, and told me that my bag was safely in Salt Lake City and I’d find it on bag carousel #4…totally Awesome and a sense of relief combined…what excellent customer service!

By the way, Yellowstone was awesome too!


LCS 1a Lean Awareness Certified Training

We are pleased to announce that we are running our 1a Lean Awareness training on Friday 22nd September. This workshop will cover the foundations of Lean thinking principles, some of the essential tools and techniques to recognise and eliminate waste.

This 1 day workshop is designed for anyone looking for an introduction to lean, raising awareness of it’s potential. This also serves as a stepping stone to further accredited training such as the 1b Lean Practitioner certification.

This seminar will be hosted at Manurewa Pools and Leisure, who will also share some of their own lean journey.

Auckland Leisure – Shingo Update

Early April saw 16 participants for our Discover Shingo Awareness seminar, kindly hosted by Auckland Leisure and presented expertly by S A Partners.

Our Shingo training is brought to our clients as we are a fully affiliated to the Shingo Institute https://www.shingoprize.org/

The Shingo Training Discover Excellence programme is a foundational, two day workshop that introduces the Shingo Guiding Principles and the Three Insights to Enterprise Excellence. It is designed to raise awareness amongst Leaders and Managers on how Enterprise Excellence can benefit their organisation.

The course is a blend of expert input, discussion and best practice learning combined with real time application of learning via “Go and See” assessments.

On this occasion we were hosted at West Wave Recreation and Leisure Centre which gave the participants the opportunity to apply the learning first hand, to see how Shingo principles drive behaviour throughout the entire organisation to deliver world class results.

At the end of this Shingo workshop participants were be able to:

  • Understand the principles of enterprise excellence.
  • Learn the key insights of ideal behaviours.
  • Understand the relationship between behaviours, systems and principles.
  • Learn how systems and behaviours drive results.
  • Learn how KBI’s drive KPI’s and how this leads to excellent results.
  • Use “Go and See” to understand the practical application of the Shingo Guiding Principles.

Many thanks to Chris for the opportunity to get to grips with Shingo and we look forward to next time and further Shingo insights on your next visits.

News from the AME Conference – Melbourne

In early March I took my first ever trip to the AME Conference in Melbourne, and had a chance to enjoy not running the show, but just to rub shoulders with some great people and leaders in all things excellent.

This was also a chance to meet up with some of the SA Partners team and to support Louis Sylvester from Auckland Council, as he was one of the key note speakers, telling the story of their lean journey over the past few years.

Congratulations Louis on an engaging presentation and well done for all the hard work. It is always good to hear how focusing on the right behaviors and strong leadership can achieve remarkable results in transforming the culture of an organisation.

Stories from Airbus, CBA, Kmart and the Goodyear tire company brought the event to life.

I particularly enjoyed Billy Taylor from Goodyear who got the audience involved in his presentation, and introduced us to the “2 foot rule”. Anyone that gets within 2 feet of Billy gets a handshake or even a high 5!

I managed to find this you tube link which gives you an insight in to Billy’s infectious passion or people and culture.

Finally, it was also great to meet and catch up and network with others on the excellence journey and nice to see a few Kiwi’s attending too.

Well done AME for putting together this event!

Chris Butterworth

Welcome – Tenison Maingay

It is with great pleasure to introduce our latest team member at SA Partners NZ.

Tenison is a recent Massey University Graduate who studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Majoring in Product Development and minoring in Mechatronics.

Over the past 15 months he has been working for S A Partners New Zealand on a number of business improvement projects. The practical and technical skills learned at varsity have been the foundation for assisting CI specialist teams and client projects with data analysis outlining key opportunities with mathematical reasoning.

Tenison’s specialties are in Total Productive Maintenance and Sustainability.

Tenison began lean education in 2015 and is developing skills through as a Lean Coach the Lean Competency System and practical improvement projects working alongside Richard Steel.

Hold the Date – 3rd Annual NZ CI Conference – 30th August 2017

Join us on the 30th August for the third annual Continuous Improvement Conference hosted at Massey University in Albany.

Building on the success of the past two events we are looking to bring you a great event, and a chance to network and learn from others

Our event also features the NZ book launch of 4 + 1: Embedding a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Financial Services by Dr Morgan L. Jones, Chris Butterworth & Brenton Harder

We are in the early stages of lining up a great selection of key note speakers and stream activities including additional speakers and workshop activities to make the day informative, engaging and fun. Our current line up includes:

Dr Morgan Jones – Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Paul Salmon – Lean IT

Chris Till – HR Institute NZ

Farah Palmer – Former Captain, Black Ferms

Adam Bentley – Countdown Supermarkets

Rob McGee – Auckland Leisure

We are finalising the full programme this month and aim to have the full details ready in early March.

So mark the diary and join us on the 30th August to join the throng!

CI Coaching for Leaders

Back in  November we ran our second CI Coaching for Leaders,training seminar in Auckland with Chris Butterworth.

We are repeating this public course on the 27-28th February and also will be repeating later in the year (31 August and 01 September 2017)

Chris explains why this course is an integral part of enabling leadership to be more effective in their roles.

“What we have found is there is often a lack of understanding by many organisations on how to create and sustain a coaching culture, often described as KATA.

Our recommendation is that inquiry based Coaching has a pivotal role in the development of an organisations capacity for Continuous Improvement and is one of the key enablers to sustaining an improvement culture.

Inquiry based coaching will accelerate the development of organisational performance and capability by teaching people to become self-managing learners. This only happens if leaders make inquiry a central feature of everyday discussions at work.

It is only through their own personal example in practice that leaders can bring others to recognise the pivotal role that inquiry plays in managing every operational state and every stage in the development of an organisation’s capacity for continuous improvement.

In this workshop we will teach you about the ‘Language of Leadership’, which will enable you to have the sorts of conversations that make successful coaching cultures.”

Update from the Auckland CI Conference

Auckland, Sept 7th saw our second annual Continuous Improvement Conference, hosted in partnership with Massey University and Minitab (presentations available for download below).

Above, Chris Butterworth gives the  opening keynote speech to over 80 attendees there on the day, and it was a great opportunity to hear some great stories, learn from others and the lunch was quite good too!

This year’s theme’s were on how to sustain enterprise excellence and some of the leadership challenges in engaging employees in improving value for the customer.

Here’s some of the comments from the attendees:

“Excellent day, good speakers that focused on the Continuous Improvement message over a good variety of industries”

This was a great session. Affirmation of what I’m doing is correct. Left with some new ideas to implement”

” Great diversity of presentation and content, using real situations, not just theoretical principles, really enjoyed the day!”



Those that came in our inaugural year commented that they enjoyed the diverse speakers, in particular Mark Powell, Massey and Chris Till from HRINZ, who complimented other speakers who shared their Continuous Improvement stories.

Feedback was very good and in the spirit of Continuous Improvement the Massey and SA Partners team will look to work together on other events and opportunities to showcase empowering people and organisations to reach new levels of performance.

Chris Till MECC conference presentation

Mark Powell Conference Presentation

Rob McGee's Conference Presentation

Jonathan Elms conference presentation

Nathan's conference presentation