Award Winning Financial Services Book Give Away

This has now been paused, but feel free to fill in the form for any future campaigns we might run for this.

About the book

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

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

The Award

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

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

How to win

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

Good luck!

4+1 Book Entry Form

S A Partners Gain Investors In People Recognition

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

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

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

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

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

Certified Shingo Training – Discover the Principles of Enterprise Excellence

SHingo Discover excellence badge

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.

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!


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

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.

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!

Next Shingo Workshop Host Wins World Class Manufacturing Award

S A Partners are pleased to announce that the company hosting the next Shingo Discover Excellence Workshop in January, Accolade Wines, have won the much coveted title of World Class Manufacturing at The Manufacturer MX Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner, which was held on November 26 at The ICC, Birmingham.

A crowd of around a 1,000 guests from manufacturing companies and supporting organisations attended and the winners were congratulated by Levi Roots, Musician, Entrepreneur and Founder of Reggae Reggae Sauce and Conor La Grue, Engineering Lead, BLOODHOUND SSC.

This award is recognition of all the hard work the organisation has put in over the years for sustainable continuous improvement, and highlights how the culture within the company is deeply embedded at all levels of the organisation.  We have a case study available on our site illustrating how the company has gone from a Push Lean approach, to one of Pull Lean.

Accolade Wines are the number one wine company by volume in the UK and Australia, with a portfolio of brands ranging from the historic Hardys, the number one Australian wine brand in the UK and significant wine brand in Mainland Europe, through to Kumala, the number one South African wine brand in the UK.

The company has more than 1600 employees in Australia, the UK, Europe, North America, Asia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa.

Why is it so difficult for us to demonstrate constancy of purpose?

Surveys show that failure to display constancy of purpose contributes most to dissatisfaction within organisations- more than any other Shingo principle.

From my experience it’s down to token strategies, boardroom mission, vision and values, leaders who cannot communicate, not knowing your market, process or people.

Within constancy of purpose we need to be strong and champion the strategy. This means creating a simple concise vision that is understood and influenced by everyone. As leaders we need to show empathy and understanding for our people, constant re-enforcement of the WHY message.

Leaders need to show they are willing to take personal risk to maintain constancy of purpose, our people, our processes and our people are the way we do things around here.

A huge contributing factor is maintaining trust within the strategy – trust is developed when leaders show integrity (we are vulnerable) benevolence (we care) and capability (we know what we are doing). An alarming statistic is that 90% of change programmes don’t make it past year 2- blame for this is often put down to a lack of engagement, but is it more down to a poorly defined change programme built around a lack of trust.

Success can be achieved, but it requires a constant reinforcement of the reasons why, via conversations with people who do the do. Walk the walk, talk the talk.

Staying Lean Competition

This draw has now taken place.

We’re giving away some copies of the award winning publication, ‘Staying Lean, Thriving not just surviving’ written by Prof. Peter Hines and Gary Griffiths et al, both of S A Partners.

About the book

The book draws on the story of a multi-national company that has successfully implemented Lean in its manufacturing and commercial areas to help turnaround the organisation’s financial performance. 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.

The Award

Staying Lean: Thriving was awarded a Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence in 2009, for the Research and Professional Publication category. The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is named after the Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo who distinguished himself as one of the world’s leading experts in improving manufacturing processes.

The Shingo Prize, established in 1988, recognises organisations and research that is consistent with its mission and model. Staying Lean was developed as part of the SUCCESS (Sustainably Channelled Change at Every Scale and Situation) project that was funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) grant to Cardiff University Innovative Manufacturing Research centre (CUIMRC).

Being World Class & Angry Frank the boss

Frank Moreton Operations Director of PMT pressings,  addresses B shift. “OK boys gather around we are going to be a World Class Company, we will do this by introducing tools and techniques such as SMED, OEE, and TPM.”

Loopy and Gez from B shift, “What is he talking about Gez?”

“I think he is going to build a SHED Loopy”

“What do we need a SHED for then Gez?”

“Put all his tools in I expect Loopy, the boys on A shift have nicked all the spanners and allen keys already!”

“Ask him why Gez go on, it’s great when Frankie loses it”

“Ok then, Frank why do we need a new SHED then?”

Frank replies

“It’s not a SHED Gez, I am talking about SMED single minute exchange of dies very popular in Japan.”

Loopy pipes up

“Single minute exchange of Dai’s… will take more than a minute to get Dai out of the canteen, he won’t budge when he starts one of his pies.”

“Not Dai’s Loopy I am talking about die’s as in press tools” Frank replies.

Gez chips in “A minute to change a tool –never going to happen, Ivor won’t have rolled his first ciggy by that time, and besides we have to find him and prise him off the daily mirror.”

“It’s all about co-ordinating our activities working in parallel and not series, analysing our internal and external activities, working as a team- we will be the Harlem Globe trotters of the changeover world. We will do this to fight off the threat from Poland, Turkey and Even China.” Frank proudly states.

Gez turns to loopy and says,” He has completely lost it, I think we are now going to build a Shed so Ivor and Dai can play one minute  basketball and then go and take on the rest of the world in some crazy tournament.”

Loopy nods, “another ‘flash in the pan’ scheme, that reminds me, what are they cooking in the canteen today?”

“Well its Thursday real proper Welsh grub, curry. Anita told me it’s going to be an extra hot one this time so we’d better get the loo’s ready! Gez replies

“Loopy, Gez will you just concentrate,  these tools and techniques will save us, this time next year we will be GEMBA walking, using DAMIC maybe some of us will be carrying out a design of experiments ….DOE for short” Frank shouts

“Experiments? did them in school Frank, hated chemistry, Gez here set fire to Mr Rich with a Bunsen Burner” Loopy responds

“Arghhhh why do I bother, I attend a fancy course run by a bunch of smart arsed consultants, read a fancy book written by some stuck up professor go out on a limb to involve everybody at the point of activity, I’ve even cancelled curry today and asked Anita in the canteen to do us sushi instead. Thought it would get us in the mood for some Japanese thinking” Frank bellows

“Listen Frank you’ve gone too far now, I can handle basketball, shed’s and crazy experiments, but you’ve crossed the line by cancelling curry. I’m off to see Bonkers Brian the Union Rep” Gez bellows back

And off everyone slopes leaving Frank in front of his flipchart, with his pack of pens, post it notes and blue tack.

So mindless ranting’s again.

Too often change programmes are copied from other organisations. People copy tools and use too much jargon. Shingo tells us to concentrate on the WHY and not the HOW. Build systems to help people fix the WHAT and then upskill as appropriate with the right HOW’s at the right time.

I used to work for PMT pressings- we developed Welsh Class rather than World Class, we had a SHED programme-Single Hour Exchange of Dai’s, we banned all jargon and developed systems that gave us materials when we needed them, people who were skilled, machine and tools that ran at the right speed and sales that ensured we stayed in business. Making it simple is the hardest thing to do.

Lean Transformation – It’s a journey!

How often have we heard that 5s, OEE and SMED are all old hat and past their sell by date. There is nothing wrong with 5s, OEE and SMED, they are all fabulous tools and all can deliver great results. The problem arises when the tools are used at the wrong point in the improvement journey of a business.

Within a lean transformation we need to develop improvement systems that address what is in front of us and what needs to be improved. We need to consider the long game. I have seen companies survey their customers when they have not stabilised their operation. The salesman comes back with a load of great things to do, but we have not capacity to do them, as a result we do nothing – other than disappoint our customers.

Customer management should be considered as a system, first fix QCD, once QCD is stable, talk to them about what they would like in addition-customer value surveys, so a stabilised process is developed, now we can look at market research and the completion to further develop, once this has delivered we can then think about integrating our offer further with the customer….timeframe for this 5 years.

We need to look at our business and identify what are our business critical processes then develop improvement systems around these. We should consider our long term plans within these systems and designed the appropriate tool implementation logic to ensure the journey is a success.

What are some of the Myths and Realities of OEE?

Myth No 1 -An Overall Equipment Effectiveness level of 85% is ‘World Class’
It certainly is not if you are running, say, a flour mill or an off-shore oil platform !! In this case if you’re not hitting 90% + OEE then you’ll soon be out of business. We didn’t let the Japanese finish off the sentence of what they told us 20+ years ago –and that is that ‘’85% is World Class……..(we then rushed out of the room, before they added)…. for a typical Machining Centre that has a significant number of Changeovers’’

Myth No 2-OEE is a Management tool to use as a benchmark and comparator-
This misses the point of the OEE being a Manufacturing Floor problem solving tool.
If however, ‘Corporate’ insists on benchmarking, then beware of not comparing like with like-Not just ‘apples with apples’ But ‘Bramleys with Bramleys’!!!
Also 5 x questions to answer

  1. What is the impact of the number and variety of product changeovers?
  2.  Who sets the standards for performance rates when running? (Production Planning; Equipment Supplier or Engineering?)
  3.  How big an impact does manning levels and skill levels have on cycle time?
  4.  Are all minor stoppages recorded?
  5.  Are we measuring all aspects of quality including packaging materials?

Myth No3 –OEE should be calculated automatically by computer
The computation approach is far less important than the interpretation. Whilst initially calculating manually or inputting manually you can be asking ‘why? x 5 times’ .Once you’ve proven the manual measurement process-then mechanise it.

Myth No 4-OEE on non-bottleneck equipment is unimportant
OEE provides a route to guide problem solving. The main requirement is for an objective measure of hidden losses even on equipment elsewhere in the chain especially if it is generating controllable waste or non-value adding.

Myth No 5-We don’t need any more output, so why raise the OEE?
Management’s job is to maximise the value generated from the Company’s assets. This includes business development .Accepting a low OEE defies commercial common–sense. If you are able to increase the OEE from say 60% to 80% by tackling the relevant 6x Losses, you will have increased the productive capacity of that asset by 33%-which means you can produce the same output in 2/3rds of the current time-or make 33% more in the same time. Either way it gives you a choice of flexibility at 80% OEE that you do not enjoy at 60%

Myth No 6-OEE is not useful because it doesn’t consider planned utilisation losses and, for example labour co-ordination/diversion losses and material supply starvation losses
The OEE is one measure, but not the only one used. Others will include productivity, cost , quality ,delivery, safety , morale and environment. Often these ‘Door to Door’ or ‘Management ‘losses (as opposed to equipment based Manufacturing team ‘Floor to Floor’ losses) are vitally important. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to OEE .The trick is to adapt OEE to your business (as opposed to blindly adopting it in the classic sense) What you must not do however is corrupt it ,so it becomes unrecognisable and doesn’t point you at the problems & hence opportunities

Behavioural Investments in Environmental Sustainability Enable a Culture of Lean Thinking

Dr Andy Wood, CEO of Adnams PLC who is also a Professor of Corporate Leadership at the University of East Anglia and hosted the Lean and Green Consortium’s recent Gemba Exchange visit at Adnams, says: “As a family business with a public listing we are proud of being rooted in our community, sustainability in the widest sense therefore, has always run deep in the DNA of our business.

However, we have had to make tough decisions when investing in future business. For example, when we were planning our state-of-the-art warehousing facility, it required 15 to 20 percent higher investment, at least on the paper. However, we have been delighted with the result both financially and from a brand building point of view. We work hard to create a collective culture of value-based decision making across all levels of the business and the pay back is remarkable. The cultural and behavioural investment in turn has been the key enabler on our lean journey”

5S is not dead-its just upside down!

How many times have you heard “we are implementing 5s and we are up to the second’s” what does that mean? In short we have some consultants in, spent a fortune on buffets and overtime and then paid expensive people to clean up the shop floor, pointless!

We should turn 5s on its head and start from what we consider to be the fifth ‘S’ that of creating continuous improvement.

Why not develop the improvement framework before we start, ensure we are part of the business deployment system, fixing the right wastes and ensuring all stakeholders are aligned. Next go after the 4th ‘S’ and create some standards-or goals-what we want the area to be.

Now the fancy bit becomes using steps 1, 2 and 3 as problem solving to deliver the standards step 4 and 5 want from us.

So 5s becomes a problem solving tool aligned to the business and not a clean up tool. Using 5s in this way also enables us to adapt it for service and link better into Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

So 5s is not dead its just upside down.

First Shingo award winner in Australia

We are delighted and proud to announce that Vistaprint’s Deer Park Plant has, this month, been awarded a prestigious Shingo Award for Operational Excellence by the Shingo Institute, establishing it as the first Australian Plant and first printing plant globally to have been recognised in this way.

The Shingo Institute recognises companies for delivering world class results and demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leading and influencing a strong culture of operational excellence. This is the first time a company has been recognised by the Shingo Institute for its capabilities in the printing industry. Having opened in 2010, Vistaprint’s Deer Park plant is also the first facility in Australia, and one of the youngest ever to receive this internationally recognised award.

“Right from launch, our plant in Australia established a clear vision – to become the best mass customisation manufacturer in Australia,” said Robert Bruce, Managing Director & Vice President, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Vistaprint. “The keys to our success have been establishing a clear and long term vision, assembling an amazingly talented and dedicated team here in Melbourne, setting the bar high from day one; and providing continual encouragement and support to the team in order to bring our vision to life.”

To find out more about our Shingo heritage you can visit our Shingo page.

View the full article in PDF format

Whoooo Hooo we Gemba walking

Just been to Toyota….yes I know their cars don’t stop very well and they are pig ugly to look at, but the GT86 is cool….anyway the latest thing to do is GEMBA walks, so I’m going to do one.

Right I’ve been Operations Manager here for 11.5 years next June so its probably time I went out and had a look, I usually pull the boys in once a week for a meeting…..keeps me up to speed and allows me to let off a bit of steam before the weekend.

So “safety first” lets doll up for the walk around, let’s see I need my safety boots, high vis coat, safety glasses and hard hat. Blimey these boots are a bit stiff and the high vis must have shrunk in the last 11.5 years. Still off we go warehouse first I think.

Great to be outside – I’m sick of being in stuck in that office all day, just wish those contractors would stop whistling the Laurel and Hardy Theme Tune – don’t they know anything else!

Ok here’s the warehouse

“Steve show me around I’m here to do a Gemba Walk”

Steve runs the warehouse – great bloke no trouble with him

“Hello boss, don’t see you often. What’s one of them Gemba walks then? Love the boots by the way and we have a spare XL high vis if you want one”

“I’m fine thanks Steve, always been a medium, keep myself in trim you know – walk the dog for 2 hours every Sunday before going to the pub”

“Ok boss, lets Gemba walk then, do you put your left foot in, or your right foot in?

“Stop taking the ‘mickey’ Steve and let’s just go the point of activity”

“Ok boss ….the point of activity ….all sounding a bit Star Trek to me….we boldly go where no Operations Manager has been before”

We open the door to the warehouse and I observe 3 guys putting on their hard hats, two Daily Mirrors disappearing underneath the desk, the football being put in the oil spill kit and as if by magic the three packing machines start up and two radios are switched off.

Steve turns proudly to me and says:

“You really got them in that disguise – they thought for a minute you were the customer!”

“Is ok lads it’s only the Boss – stand easy – we are Gemba walking”

“So then Boss what do we do on this Gemba walk?”

I reply:

“We visit the point of activity and use the 5 key kata coaching questions to help stimulate improvement”

Steve responds

“Kata coaching, that will have to be Andy, he’s loves a bit of Judo, up the sports centre every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, trouble is boss ….he is on afternoons”

My patience is starting to go here:

“Steve, Kata coaching and Gemba walking are the “in thing” and we need to do this, I saw it in Toyota on Tuesday…..and before you say it, I know Toyotas can’t stop and they are pig ugly”

“Watch and listen to the master”

I call over one of the operators:

“Hello mate what’s your name then?”

He replies

“Hello, I am Pavel from Krakow, I live with my girlfriend in a house in the village, who are you then mate?”

“I am your Operations Manager and I am Gemba walking, what is your target condition?”

“Excuse me Mr Operations, I do not understand”

“Ok then Pavel, What are you trying to achieve?”

“Ah I see Mr Operations, to make a good life for me and girlfriend”

“Not quite the answer I’m looking for Pavel, let me ask you another question.  What obstacles are preventing you from doing your job and what PDCA process are you using to resolve them?

“Ok Mr Operations, I do what Steve tells me, obstacles are people asking me to leave work station to answer questions.”

“Thanks for that Pavel, one last question then Pavel, what have you learned?”

“Ah that’s easy…..Don’t mess with Andy on afternoons, hide the Daily Mirrors, turn off the radio, put the football  on the oil spill kit and put on your hard hats when customers come in”

I turn to Steve and he smiles at me saying:

“All the boys are fully trained up…just like Pavel here, we run a very tight ship here”

I turn away and leave the warehouse, I cannot see the value in visiting any other areas of the plant. On the way back to my office I think through the value of Gemba walks and Kata coaching, I’m not really sure it’s for us if I’m honest and besides, these boots are starting to give me blisters! Back to normality I think and one of Clare’s coffees, with a few custard creams.  I have reports to write and spread sheets to update…real manager’s work!

Vale celebrate their Business Excellence Award

Following on from the Shingo Medallion award announcement, Vale headquarters have recognised the hard work by all concerned at the Vale site in Swansea and the benefits make impressive reading from a business excellence perspective.

By adopting the Shingo principles implemented with the help of S A Partners, Vale have been able to reach all time production records, had zero lost time through injuries for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and shaved more than 20% off their production costs.

To add to this, S A Partners have now become affiliated to the Shingo Institute and will be delivering Shingo Discover Workshops throughout Europe. Professor Peter Hines, himself a Shingo proze winner, will be taking the workshops supported by our shingo team of Simon Grogan, Gary Griffiths, John Quirke and Chris Butterworth.  The first of these 2 day workshops will be held at the award winning plant in Vale on March the 17th, followed by one held in Ireland on the 20th March.

To find out more about Shingo, and how S A Partners can help your organisation in this area, why not attend one of these Shingo workshops held throughout the year.

You can view the full Vale news story by visiting the Vale website.

group view of the Vale crew




Systems Thinking: From Heresay to Practice

An exploration into the application of systems thinking to a variety of public and private sector service organisations. Written in accessible language by leading experts (practitioners and management theorists) it draws out the distinctions between conventional approaches to change in both service and manufacturing organisations and those using systems thinking methods.

The work illustrates the counter-intuitive truths revealed by studying service organisations as systems and uses case studies to demonstrate how organisations have been re-designed using systems principles and the strong impact these have on performance and morale.

Purchase this book.

Staying Lean: Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Staying Lean: Thriving, not just surviving has just been awarded a Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence 2009, in the Research and Professional Publication category. The book draws on the story of a multi-national company that has successfully implemented Lean in its manufacturing and commercial areas to help turnaround the organisation s financial performance.

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.

Purchase this book.

Creating World Class Suppliers: Unlocking Mutual Competitive Advantage

This text examines the competitive advantage for manufacturing and service companies achieveable through forging innovative relationships with suppliers. This text contains international examples and outlines methods, tools and techniques for managers to implement supplier development strategies. Cases include Marks & Spencer, Mercedes, Digital, Harley Davidson and Motorola.

Purchase this book.

The Lean Enterprise: Designing and Managing Strategic Processes for Customer-Winning Performance

The Lean Enterprise is an in-depth study of what it is to be lean, and how to do it. In a lean enterprise, management fuses the core competencies and expertise of the company and its external partners, and focuses on a vital few “strategic processes, ” with the goal of delivering superior value to customers.

The Lean Enterprise presents this groundbreaking system through the recent and often radical experiences of Western firms facing swift and aggressive competitors in the global economy. With years of research and observation behind them in the United States, Europe, and Japan, authors Dan Dimancescu, Peter Hines, and Nick Rich offer a multidimensional view into the implementation of strategic processes. The Lean Enterprise makes a strong case for implementation of the three-tier system by companies of any size.

Backed by their research at the Cardiff Business School’s Lean Enterprise Research Center, the authors highlight several unique British firms whose implementation of the system speaks to the rapid and dynamic evolution of the Welsh and English economies.

Purchase this book.

Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t

The best-selling Built to Last answered the question of what it takes to build an enduring, great company from the ground up. Good to Great answers an even more compelling question: can a good company become a great one and, if so, how?

After a five-year research project, Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organization to make the leap from good to great while other organizations remain only good. Rigorously supported by evidence, his findings are surprising – at times even shocking – to the modern mind.

Good to Great achieves a rare distinction: a management book full of vital ideas that reads as well as a fast-paced novel.

Purchase this book.

Lean Higher Education

In an environment of diminishing resources, growing enrollment, and increasing expectations of accountability, Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes provides the understanding and the tools required to return education to the consumers it was designed to serve—the students. It supplies a unifying framework for implementing and sustaining a Lean Higher Education (LHE) transformation at any institution, regardless of size or mission.

Using straightforward language, relevant examples, and step-by-step guidelines for introducing Lean interventions, this authoritative resource explains how to involve stakeholders in the delivery of quality every step of the way. The author details a flexible series of steps to help ensure stakeholders understand all critical work processes. He presents a wealth of empirical evidence that highlights successful applications of Lean concepts at major universities and provides proven methods for uncovering and eliminating activities that overburden staff yet contribute little or no added value to stakeholders.

Purchase this book.

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

This book is aimed at any manager interested in sustaining growth within their industry. They define “lean thinking” as the elimination of unnecessary waste in business, and by outlining the principles and applications of this, they link their theories to value for the customer.

Womack and Jones demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach through their research in both the U.S. and Europe. Citing examples from both simple and complex manufacturing processes, and from traditional technologies to high-tech companies, they show how their theories have been put into action.

Based on the belief that companies should compete against perfection rather than each other, Lean Thinking provides a valuable new insight into methods of production management. And by applying the theories outlined in this book, managers across all sectors of the economy will be able to reduce waste and increase profitability.

Purchase this book.

Practical Lean Leadership: A Strategic Leadership Guide For Executives

His is the first book to present Lean leadership in ways that are specific and actionable for executives to apply at work every day. It links Lean principles and tools directly to leadership beliefs, behaviors, and competencies in new and innovative ways that connect to workplace and marketplace realities.

It goes far beyond the common understanding of leadership and the training methods used for leadership development. The workbook can be used individually or by a leadership team in self-paced group training. Senior managers will be inspired by the proven approaches to improving their understanding and practice of strategic leadership.

Purchase this book.

The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production

The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production– Toyota’s Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That Is Now Revolutionizing

Based upon MIT’s five-million-dollar, five-year study on the future of the automobile, a groundbreaking analysis of the worldwide move from mass production to lean production”.The fundamentals of this system are applicable to every industry across the globe…[and] will have a profound impact on human society–it will truly change the world”. “–New York Times Magazine”.

Purchase this book.

The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership

Since The Machine that Changed the World (1991) defined lean production (based on the model of the Toyota Production System) as the next new paradigm of management since the mass production revolution, lean has spread from automotive, to the rest of industry globally, to defense, to financial services, to government, to health care, and more. As it expanded globally we have learned to think more deeply about lean as a way of linking a company’s business strategy to operational excellence through a culture of continuous improvement. Lean organizations constantly surface problems, find the root cause (Plan), attempt countermeasures (Do), check what happened, and act on what they learned (PDCA). The role of leadership in a lean organization is to live the values, show the way, and develop others to improve processes using PDCA through daily coaching.

Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix recipe to transform leaders from a short-term focus on quarterly returns to a long-term focus on developing people to achieve operational excellence. The typical leader is almost 180 degrees away from a model of lean leadership. Changing values and leadership behavior is every bit as challenging as trying to convince overweight people to change their lifestyle to healthy eating and regular exercise.

They must want it badly and transform themselves. Leaders that succeed in changing themselves to lead, teach, and coach on the long-term journey to continuous improvement throughout the organization will change the game in their industry. In this book we define a model of lean leadership based on Gary’s 25 years of experience with NUMMI, Toyota, and then as CEO of Dana and Jeff’s 30 years of deep study of Toyota. We explain the model through stories from our collective experiences and give practical advice for the long hard road leaders must commit to in order to truly self develop.

Purchase this book.

Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity

The definitive inside account of Toyota’s greatest crisis—and lessons you can apply to your own company.

For decades, Toyota has been setting standards that are the envy—and goal—of organizations worldwide. Its legendary management principles and business philosophy, first documented by Jeffrey K. Liker in his influential book The Toyota Way, changed the business world’s approach to operational excellence.

Granted unprecedented access to Toyota’s facilities worldwide, Liker, along with Timothy N. Ogden, investigated the inside story of how Toyota faced the challenges of the recession and the recall crisis of 2009–2010. In both cases, the company was caught off guard—and found that a root cause of the challenges it faced was its failure to live up to its own principles. But the fundamentals were still there, and the company has ultimately come out of the most challenging years of its postwar existence even stronger than before.

Toyota Under Fire chronicles all the events of the recession and the recall crisis in detail, providing valuable lessons any business leader can use to survive and thrive in a crisis, no matter how large.

Purchase this book.

Why Toyota’s System is Four Times More Productive and How You Can Implement It

Whether a group of engineers is developing new cars, software applications, aerospace equipment, kitchen appliances, controls, sensors, or any of hundreds of different items, the process they follow is pretty much the same. Except in one company – Toyota, perhaps the most innovative and highly respected car company on the planet.

What is most startling is that Toyota’s product development engineers are four times as productive as their counterparts in other companies, according to a study by the National Centre for Manufacturing Sciences. Most follow a linear process in developing new products. Toyota’s engineers do not.As this book reveals and explains, Toyota’s development engineers rely on a development paradigm that is totally different than that found in the West. Companies that are early adopters of the Toyota product development system are certain to realise tremendous advantages over their competitors. This is a change that is coming to businesses everywhere and this book shows the way.

Purchase this book.

The Importance and Impact of the UK Automotive Sector

According to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the UK produces around 1.5 million cars and commercial vehicles and 3 million engines, accounting for 9-11% of the UK’s total exports. The sector generates more than £55 billion in annual turnover, employs around 700,000 people and delivers around £12 billion in net value-added to the economy. There is little doubt that the UK remains key global player within the global automotive sector and that the industry is a significant contributor to the UK economy. It is therefore delightful to hear that the government’s policies to reinvigorate this sector appear to paying dividends. This Industry Week article suggests that Britain is accelerating away from its European competitors with investment flowing into the factories of Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover.

It is clear that the car sector matters from an economic point of view. However it is also vital from both an environmental and social point of view. The SMMT 2013 Automotive Sustainability Report, based on 2012 data, does a great job at showing how vehicle manufacturers are doing in their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products and manufacturing processes.

However it underplays the importance of role that the sector plays in terms of societal impact. The sustainability report measures social impact in terms of the number of jobs dependent on the sector. While of course this is critical, it is not the only way in which the sector has on contemporary society. The automotive sector has led the way in business and management practice. The car-making sector has a long history of challenging our prevailing mind-sets and shifting the way we think. It spawned the lean movement – a movement that continues to shape business, management, leadership and operational practice. The importance and impact of the car sector is far-reaching and profound.

S A Partners Pays Homage to the late Eiji Toyoda

S A Partners would like to pay homage to the late Eiji Toyota who died this week of heart failure at the ripe old age of 100. Eiji was a cousin of Toyota’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda. He served as president of the company from 1967 to 1982, became chairman in 1982 and continued in an advisory position up to his death. He spent his early years on the shop floor, was one of the key pioneers of the infamous Toyota Production System and engineered Toyota’s growth to become a leading global carmaker. Eiji, for your contribution to the lean movement, we salute you.

Forecasting Performance

In November 2012, CFO Research conducted a survey of senior finance executives at U.S. companies to examine their current goals, and how they plan to achieve these goals, for planning, budgeting, and forecasting.

They gathered 236 detailed survey responses from companies in a broad range of company segments. Key findings include: companies are putting increasing emphasis on the hunt for growth opportunities and shifting away from the intense focus on cost control that carried them through the economic crisis; there is a slight shift towards conservatism and away from optimism in recent years;  endorsement of business modelling and scenario analysis; and, process improvement is considered as one of the most valuable changes a company can make as part of its efforts to plan, budget, and forecast more effectively—one that merits substantial management attention.

Jonny Wilkinson and Kaizen!

As an avid reader of fitness and adventure magazines, I actually couldn’t believe what I was reading the other day. Jonny Wilkinson writes a column in ‘Outdoor Fitness’ and in a recent edition he give his opinion on the appeal of sport. This is what he said:

One of the most appealing things about sport is the way it fulfils your natural desire to get better. For me, sport has always been about a search for more. The day I stop improving I might as well pack it in.’

One of the ways I achieve the mindset is to follow the Japanese concept of Kaizen, which is about making a change for the better every single day. It might be a small change, like a choice of meal, or something bigger, like the commitment to new training methods. But in effect it is about a process of continual improvement, which makes you commit to bettering yourself. When you think of life in that way, it provides the purpose and motivation you need every day to ensure you never lack the desire to train or improve.

Jonny goes on to discuss how he was introduced to the concept and his coach told him to imagine that you are being videoed every day and to ask yourself these things: Are you happy with what you see? How does it make you feel? Can you see where improvements could be made with only small adjustments?

I have been working with Kaizen for over 20 years.  I started in Toyota over in Japan.  I thought this was a great piece by Jonny and, as an aspiring triathelete, found it really inspirational.

What if all employees and leaders of industry had this same mindset? We would be world-beaters in our manufacturing and other business sectors just like Jonny was in the rugby world cup a few years ago.

I would be interested any views anyone has.

Is Toyota Still a Sound Reference Model for Lean?

In the wake of the sticky throttle scandal of 2009, some have questioned whether Toyota remains a good reference model for the lean movement. This recent industry week announcement about Toyota’s financial performance should put paid to any doubts. Toyota has recently announced a tripling of their full-year net profits in spite of the current global economic crisis.

Read the full article

I think we can safely say that they have recovered from their difficulties and remain a great reference model for lean – but please feel free to comment if you disagree.

Comparing lean transformation as preparation for an Ironman event

I was delivering a lean thinking coach workshop to 5 different nationalities. It’s made me work hard but very rewarding. Each and everyone is starting to understand where they are and their further development needs.

It’s also made me reflect on something I’ve never really thought of before, that is if I think about a lean transformation as preparation for an Ironman event then it goes something like this:

1. Swimming, is a very technical skill and therefor needs to be refined and revisited time and time again to keep up with the latest thinking, it needs consistent expert support ( in our world we need to teach lean thinking skills then ensure that the trainee understands discipline and the need for consistency and to follow the ‘standard’ along with the consequence as a result of the lack of discipline and when new concepts come along ensure they have the opportunity to learn).

2. Bike, has some technical elements but can be done with a lower dependency on expert support, you just need one now and again and to just keep going with one eye on the run (again in our world we must ensure that the trainees have System of support to re-train, adjust  thinking and act as a coach and mentor along with a level of motivation. We allow small mistakes but ensure that we stop big mistakes to ensure they are in a good shape for the rest of the transformation ), after a 2.5 mile swim and a 112 bike ride you have just got to get on with it and keep going until you reach the finish line! (Ok, A constant level of encouragement and confidence that ensures that they know that even with all the struggles of training and implementation, if they stop now the transformation will always be seen as another flash in the pan initiative that ran out of steam when the going got tough, it is our role as lean thinkers to support trainees and businesses through these very difficult stages to ensure success)

Well there you go! I’m not saying that we should all turn into Ironmen but I hope you sort of get what I’m saying.

Let me know what you think!


The Lean and Green Debate is Gaining Traction

In this article Charles Cohen of Prime Devices describes the reduced carbon foot that his organisation’s lean initiative produced as an ‘unexpected windfall’.

Cohen asserts that lean manufacturing can not only cut the carbon footprint of a plant or company, but of an entire industry.

Evidence about the size of the opportunity in integrating lean and green is accumulating. The publication of a new and comprehensive book on this subject is both topical and timely.  Creating a Lean & Green Business System is due to be published later this month. For a sneak overview of the book’s insights the link below details and event run by one of the authors that is due to take place 11th April at Greenwich University.

Evidence linking people and performance

Respect for people is central to Toyota. However, for many lean practitioners, respect for people is an elusive and aspirational concept. In spite of the best efforts of many, there are still lean practitioners out there who simply do not ‘buy into’ the people part of lean.

S A Partners have articulated the importance of people, culture and behaviours in a variety of ways over recent years: we have a people enabled processes element to our Lean Business Model®; we identified ‘under the waterline’ elements in our iceberg model; we continue to develop and research our lean culture offer; and, we focus on coaching as the primary mechanism for diffusing lean competence across an organisation. Our attention to the ‘people side of lean’ is built on our collective belief that this is crucial for successful and sustainable lean transformation. This belief, in turn, is informed and shaped by our experience of working alongside many diverse organisations over the last two decades.

Now, however, others are beginning to gather scientific evidence that good people management is directly inextricably linked to business results. Here are two examples I have come across recently:

First, Shingo have recently announced their new SCOPE product. The SCOPE acronym stands for Shingo Cultural Online Performance Evaluation. The idea is that companies carry out this self-assessment as a precursor to their annual business review and use the information as an input to guide their decision-making during that process. Over time, SCOPE will enable Shingo to gather data and evaluate the relationship between culture and performance. If companies do go ahead and carry out the assessment at different points in time, as Shingo suggest they should, it will allow all sorts of trends and patters confirming (or otherwise) that a focus on the ‘people side’ of the business really does improve the bottom line.

Second, Birkinshaw and Caulkin recently reported on an experiment carried out within a sales and service team at a Swedish insurance company. The idea was to test what many years of research had suggested: that the latent talent residing in employees could be released by giving them more freedom and autonomy in how they carried out their work, and by freeing up the manager of the group to spend more time on the sales floor coaching and helping them. The experiment required the design of new ways of working. After three weeks of the new way of working, the results were impressive. The headline results figure was a five per cent increase in sales over the period of the experiment, compared with the three previous weeks.

We will continue to collect and comment on the evidence that is beginning to accumulate that ‘good people management practices’ are not just altruistic aspirations that most of us cannot afford to pay real attention to, but that they really are integral to ensuring our organisations are fit for survival and prosperity.

Are successful Sports coaches really successful Lean leaders in disguise?

I’ve been listening to, and reading some books and interviews, about the world of high performance sports coaching recently. I started to see many similarities in the minds of some of these leaders to those that you see in Lean leaders delivering great results and organisational transformations.

To be specific Dave Brailsfords’ UK SKY cycling team this year delivered 1st and 2nd in the Tour de France, won 7 of 10 Olympic track cycling gold medals and the Olympic time trial – phenomenal by anyone’s standards. So what does Brailsford put his success down to – he often refers to a snappy phrase called the pursuit of marginal gains and in his words,

 The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together,”

 he explains’

 “There’s fitness and conditioning, of course, but there are other things that might seem on the periphery, like sleeping in the right position, having the same pillow when you are away and training in different places.

 ‘Do you really know how to clean your hands without leaving the bits between your fingers?’ If you do things like that properly, you will get ill a little bit less.

 They’re tiny things but if you clump them together it makes a big difference.”

Translating across into the world of lean-speak Brailsford, in a very systematic manner, is driving a continuous improvement agenda., In particular, he is focusing on removing defects and waste, creating more time for value creating activity for his athletes, and doing it incrementally, from the bottom up, and not by a big shift (such as designing a new bike).

He also talks about the culture of challenge and learning within the team. For example, he brings in surgeons to talk about hygiene, psychiatrists from Rampton to create a mentality of phenomenal performance beyond the exceptional, learning from the Royal Ballet – these are all experiences that our research around great lean organisations support where a trait of learning and bringing ideas into the business are common.

If we switch our attention to Sir Clive Woodward, England rugby coach from 1998 to 2003, who created the most successful rugby team in Northern Hemisphere history, winning the 2003 world cup, defeating Australia 6 times in succession home and away and going into the world cup off the back of 10 straight wins against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (apologies to my Celtic & Gallic friends for bringing this up).

Woodard talks about building a culture of team-ship, leadership and partnership and engaging the entire team in understand their mission, each unique role within it and their personal accountabilities – sounds somewhat like Hoshin Kanri or Strategy Deployment to my mind.

He also talks in his autobiography, Winning.  about his and the teams focus on more than just skills and training. He spent much of his time focusing on getting what he calls the critical non essentials right.

These are not necessarily what he would call the value adding moments, the best pass, tackle or scrummage but, rather, making sure the environment around the players reduced wasted time and effort and again gave more time for the essential value add stuff to be perfected . So Woodward and his team of elite coaches drove a collection of small changes such as:

­ CTC – Cross bar, touchline. Communicate – a team discipline to improve their awareness of space in match-play improving game management and opportunism.

­ Shirts – Working with Nike to develop skin tight rugby shirts that were harder to grab onto.

­ Training pitches – digging them up and relaying them to replicate Twickenhams’ turf.

­ Learning – bringing in advice from football, NFL, rowing and F1 among others.

­ TCUP _ thinking critically under pressure – working with Royal Marines to learn how to make critical decisions in the most extreme environments.

What rings true from Woodward’s description of becoming the first fully professional English Rugby coach is that he examined the whole value stream of English Rugby that brought through and optimised the English team – from initial selection through the organisational processes that created an international team.

I’m sure there are more sports coaches out there who would excel as leaders in organisational life, not because they do or need to understand how to make a car, run a hospital, a bank or service system, but because they have proven thinking and behaviour that challenges what we in lean know as waste. They think about the whole stream, they increment and they coach self-accountability and learning.

I’d be interested in your views and experience in the world of sport and how this relates to lean.

Brian Maskell Launches a series of Lean Accounting Blogs

Our friend and colleague Brian Maskell is shortly to start a series of blogs in which he will compare and contrast conventional and lean accounting. Brian is a leaning authority in the area of lean accounting. For those of us who do not come from an accounting background, the lean accounting debate can often be challenging to follow and engage with. This series of blogs should help and should make enlightening reading – watch this space, we will keep you posted.

Read his first blog post: Introduction: Lean Accounting & Traditional accounting compared