Why Do An Assessment?

Enterprise Excellence is the goal for most, however so few organsitions achieve it, and even fewer sustain it. Having worked with many organsiations over the years on this journey I know it is rarely a simple journey, or one that can be copied from others. It’s not something a leader can impose, or build on their own as it’s not just about deploying systems and processes, it is about how people think, act and behave. 

With the right approach and the right leadership, it’s a journey that is possible. However, the journey there can look very different from one organisation to the next, and navigating your way towards “world-class” can often feel overwhelming.  

It doesn’t need to be… 

Step one on the journey is to truly understand your ‘Ideal Future State’, to do this ask yourself a number of questions: 

  • What does good look like? 
  • What does “Excellence” mean for us as an organisation? 
  • What will you hear, see and feel when you get there? 
  • What do the Ideal Behaviours look and feel like? 

To do this effectively it is worth considering using SHINGO as a framework as the model and philosophy focus on how to create the most effective systems that will in turn drive the right behaviours enabling you to achieve your ideal results.  The Shingo Discover Excellence course, or Introduction to Shingo can be really valuable as a starting point. 

Understanding the Gap 

After you understand where you are going it’s necessary to get a clear picture of where you are now, so you can determine the gap.  Ask the following questions: 

  • What is your current level of Enterprise Excellence maturity? 
  • What are your strengths? 
  • What are your weaknesses (your opportunities for improvement) 
  • Do your systems enable or disable the right behaviours? 
  • Do the Leadership and Engagement Systems support Continuous Improvement? 

An Enterprise Excellence assessment can provide you with this insight. This assessment delves deeply into all aspects of your organisation – it’s systems, processes, and behaviours. We use an assessment aligned to both SHINGO and our own Enterprise Excellence Model. 

Identifying your Roadmap  

Once you’ve established where you are, and where you want to go then a clear roadmap can be created to get you there. It’s this roadmap that then acts as a map that helps you navigate the journey from A-B and an assessment is a waste of time unless you translate this into a plan of improvement. It’s only then that you can start to bring an Enterprise Excellence journey to life for your organisation. 

At S A Partners, we have supported countless organisations on this journey.   

To find out what this could look like for you, don’t hesitate to contact me: 


You may also find the following resources useful: 

Team Celebrates Shingo Publication Award for TPM: A foundation of Operational Excellence

On May 19 in Orlando, Florida, John Quirke, Life Science Practice Leader at global consulting company, S A Partners, received the SHINGO Publication Award on behalf of the team for the book TPM (Total Productive Manufacturing): A Foundation of Operational Excellence.  John, along with business colleagues Andy Brunskill and Peter Willmott, are authors of the book which has been hailed as a key reference text in relation to operational excellence.

John Quirke who has been working with S A Partners for the past thirteen years commented:

“It is great to receive this honour from the SHINGO Institute who are recognised as an international benchmark for Enterprise Excellence.  It is also great recognition for the level of operational excellence that exists in Ireland too as, in writing the book, we drew on multiple projects from across the world.

At S A Partners we support businesses in Ireland, UK, Europe, North and South America and Australia with Enterprise Excellence, of which TPM is a critical part.  We are passionate about TPM as it is a mechanism that can drive improved reliability and asset utilisation for any organisation (not just manufacturing); it drives waste reduction, improves health and safety and enables employee engagement”

At a basic level, our approach to TPM is about creating an environment and culture that allows teams to understand the equipment they use and the processes they support in much greater detail.  The approach develops higher levels of equipment consciousness, where teams become more engaged with their work and improving that work.  Teams learn new skills and rekindle old ones that allow them to improve the way equipment and processes perform, eliminating waste, reducing cost and increasing output.

The book outlines a tried and tested 11 Step model which will support any organisation in delivering 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 the 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.  TPM 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. 

At the awards ceremony in Florida, John gave thanks to his co-authors Peter Willmott, Andy Brunskill and the books designer Alex Everitt.

For more information on TPM or how we can support your organisation please do contact our head of TPM services Phil.Spooner@sapartners.com

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
Email: Ailsa.Carson@sapartners.com

Some expert reaction to the book:

“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, 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, Moy Park, UK


About the SHINGO Publication Award

The SHINGO Publication Award recognises and promotes writing that has had a significant impact and advances the body of knowledge regarding operational excellence.  The SHINGO awards are issued by the US-based SHINGO Institute whose mission is to promote the process of improvement by conducting cutting edge research, providing relevant education, performing insightful organisational assessments and recognising organisations committed to achieving sustainable world-class results.


– Ends –


About S A Partners

S A Partners is a leading global consultancy that delivers business transformation programmes.  They also deliver training, events and workshops to support organisations improve and achieve Enterprise Excellence. They are accredited by both the Shingo Institute and the Blanchard Corporation and have offices in the UK, Ireland, North America and Australia.  S A Partners was established in 1993 and is widely acclaimed by its customers for supporting them to drive change through people engagement and leadership.

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.

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.

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!

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

Shingo News

S A Partners have been the European Affiliate for the Shingo Institute, who have their annual conference this coming April from the 25th to the 29th, since 2014.

This year, Simon Grogan (MD Europe), John Quirke and our colleague at S A Partners Pty Asia Pacific, Chris Butterworth are to go through the challenging process of becoming Shingo Assessors, but currently are all Shingo 4-Core Facilitators .

Simon works with clients all over the world in Life Science, Utilities, Distribution and Manufacturing, while John heads up our Ireland operation, the Life Science sector  and is the lead for our Total Productive Maintenance programme (TPM).

Chris supports our team in the Asia Pacific region working with a wide range of clients including Financial Services, Insurance, Education, Healthcare and Defence. One of our clients, Commonwealth Bank of Australia were recently awarded a Shingo Silver Medallion – the first in the world in financial services.

First Shingo Prize Awarded to a Financial Team

Being an affiliate of the Shingo Institute, S A Partners are pleased to announce that a team within the Direct Channels Division at the Common Wealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have become the first ever financial team to reach Shingo Silver Medallion status from the Shingo Institute.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (the Group) is one of Australia’s leading organizations, providing integrated financial services, including retail, premium, business and institutional banking, funds management, superannuation, insurance, investment and share-broking. The award winning team assists the retail bank’s customers in managing their financial commitments and helping customers get back on track financially.

“We have been successful by keeping the customer at the heart of what we do,” says Sian Lewis, Executive General Manager. “This is a high performing team, and by transforming some of our business processes, embracing new technologies and instilling a tangible continuous improvement culture we have driven market-leading business benefits and enhanced the service we deliver to our customers.”

The Group will receive the award during the Awards Gala of the 28th Shingo International Conference held the week of April 24-29, 2016. The CBA will also be provided some keynote speakers at S A Partners Lean Business System conference which was held in Sydney on the 16th March. The conference was an ideal opportunity to network with other likeminded Business Leaders and C I professionals, and hear from a range of speakers sharing their experiences and lessons learned on their journeys towards Enterprise Excellence. S A Partners have been an affiliate of the Shingo Institute since 2014 with our chairman, Prof. Peter Hines winning several Shingo Awards.

Read the full press release.

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.

The Shingo European Summit Rundown

S A Partners are pleased to announce that the Shingo Institute’s, recently held European Summit, which took place on October 13-14 in Ballincollig, Ireland at the Oriel House was a great success.

The Shingo European Summit  featured industry leaders as speakers and was well attended by businesses and organisations from around Europe. The main subject of the summit was ‘ways in which leaders and managers can improve their organizations’.

Attendees were mostly local business leaders and managers from large manufacturing companies, but there were also executives from healthcare, finance, and other industries.  All the speakers that attended the summit were high-ranking corporate officers who have improved overall business performance in a sustainable way by using principles of the Shingo Model™. Speakers at the Shingo European Summit included:

  • Michael Crowe, Division Vice President at Abbott Vascular
  • Rick Edgeman, Research Director and Management Professor at the Shingo Institute
  • Christian Houborg, VP of Service and Technical Operations at H. Lundbeck A/S
  • Gary Peterson, Executive VP of Supply Chain and Production at O.C Tanner Company
  • James Winters, VP of Manufacturing at DePuy Orthopaedics Worldwide
  • Ken Snyder, Executive Director at the Shingo Institute

Topics discussed at the Shingo European Summit included:

  • Lean-driven innovation Using the Shingo Model™ in non-manufacturing environments
  • Using the Shingo Model™ in academic settings
  • How associates live operational excellence
  • Facilitating a culture of improvement
  • Equipping and running lean factories with customer-focused principles
  • How leaders build sustainable cultures of excellence

Also in attendance at the summit were representatives from SA Partners, a Shingo licensed affiliate that offers workshops on how to use the Shingo Model™ to shape an organization’s culture to foster continuous improvement and constancy of purpose. Shingo Institute licensed affiliates are listed at Shingo.org/affiliates. Next year’s Shingo European Summit is scheduled to be in Copenhagen, Denmark.

About the Shingo Institute
Housed at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer, and Toyota advisor, Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Production System.

Drawing from Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations throughout the world, over the past 27 years the Shingo Institute has developed the Shingo Model™ which is the basis for several educational offerings including workshops, study tours and conferences. The Shingo Institute is also the home of the Shingo Prize®, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that continually strives for improvement and progress.

S A Partners offers workshops run by The Shingo Institute as a licensed affiliate. For more information on the workshops, affiliates or to register to attend the International Shingo Conference, visit www.shingo.org.

Shingo European Summit

The Shingo Institute will be holding the Shingo European Summit in Cork, Ireland on October 13-14 this year and we are pleased to announce that Prof. Peter Hines will be one of the plenary speakers. S A Partners are able to offer you a discount code that can be used to receive a discount from the Shingo Institute. To get this code simply fill in the form at the bottom of this webpage.

With organisations such as Rolls Royce Aerospace attending, your company will hear from speakers who will share their knowledge and experience in applying the Shingo Model™, specifically strategies for leadership and implementation.

Prof. Peter Hines will share his experience in working with other Shingo recipients, and how they implemented a successful and sustainable journey to Shingo Excellence. The Shingo Inst is also holding another summit in Mexico on the 22nd and 23rd September.

Ireland booking link [https://shingo.org/regional/ireland.html]

Mexico booking link [https://shingo.org/regional/mexico.html]

S A Parters also attended the 27th Annual Shingo Conference in Utah earlier this year, and while there also undertook a Shingo Discover Excellence workshop which was well received.

To find out more about the European summit you can visit www.shingo.org/ireland, and download the summit flyer.

Find out more: Lean & Sustainable Consortium

Fill in the form below to find out more about how the Consortium can help your organisation.

To find out about how S A Partners can help you on your Shingo Excellence journey you can view our up and coming Shingo workshops page and register your interest for our next workshop, and also view our Shingo page to get more information on our history with the Shingo Institute.

TWI Institute Partner S A Partners

We are pleased to announce that the TWI Institute have formed a partnership with S A Partners.

In the last few years the TWI have seen an increase in the demand for programs around the world. They’ve discovered that many companies that have implemented Lean, and have experienced less than expected improvements are starting to realise that they are missing something. They are realising that Lean is more than just a set of tools, its a new way of thinking, a culture change and the best way to drive culture change is through the use of the TWI.

In the Spring of 2015 the institute formed a partnership with S A Partners because they recognised that the work S A Partners are doing is very much in parallel with the Institutes work, specifically in the methods of training by using a learn by doing approach, and a focus on coaching. The TWI Institute also deeply respect the Shingo Model and see a connection between the guiding principles of the model, and the TWI programs.

The Institute believe this new partnership will bring tremendous value to their customer base as they work to deliver sustainable solutions and real culture change.

S A Partners at the 27th International Shingo Conference

Above are members of the Shingo Discover Excellence workshop

S A Partners were delighted to attend the Shingo Institute’s 27th Annual Shingo Conference in Utah, USA. The conference was attended by a wide array of companies large and small and from various sectors including manufacturing, service, food and drink, finance, healthcare and government.

The conference was attended by Prof. Peter Hines, John Quirke and Simon Grogan of S A Partners and during 2 days of the conference S A Partners ran a Shingo Discover Excellence workshop. The workshop was attended by  12 companies from around the world, and used Black Diamond for the GEMBA process where the findings were discussed around the boards on day 2 of the workshop.

Black Diamond is a mountaineering and skiing manufacturing company based in Utah, which began operation in 1957 and has grown to become one of the worlds leading brands. You can view how the workshop went by viewing the footage shot on a mobile phone via the video below. To find out more about the Shingo Discover Excellence workshops you can view the workshop page.



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.

What is Perfection?

Ever since the classic Lean Thinking book1 talked about perfection as a principle in 1996, I have wondered what this really meant.

What is perfection? Here, the Shingo approach helps us with a definition: “Perfection is an aspiration not likely to be achieved but the pursuit of which creates a mindset and culture of continuous improvement. The realization of what is possible is only limited by the paradigms through which we see and understand the world.”

In my own mind this chimes well with my own experiences since the early 1990s with a simple tool like value stream mapping and engaging teams to want to implement and embed future state maps. What I found is that simply telling or even facilitating a team to develop a future state map rarely resulted in a sustainable change. Why? I believe this was because many in the team did not understand why they were doing this, what they were trying to achieve and most importantly that the future state that they were defining was even possible.

So in my own experience, the way we at S A Partners found to overcome this was to get the team to stretch their minds to an impossible dream – to a blue-sky vision or ideal state. In doing so, they could unshackle themselves with the day-to-day constraints of the real world, the ‘why-that-won’t-work’ thought process. Then we encouraged them to step back from this ideal and consider what they think is possible, although a long way off. After this we asked them to consider what they think is possible within a defined time period. By doing this, the resultant future state is not only real, but it is their reality and is very likely to be both possible and sustainable. Oh, and in most cases much further along than the classic but impossible future state map they might have developed without thinking about an ideal state or perfection

So why does this matter? Well, what this thought process establishes is that by seeking perfection we can create a faster and more sustainable journey that is developed by and not for our people. I have also found that it is exactly this thought process that is required by organizations challenging for the Shingo Prize. It is at the heart of one of the most difficult challenges faced by leaders. The challenge is how you move from the principles to a set of ideal behaviours that can then be deployed correctly across the organisation, implemented through effective enabling systems (such as strategy deployment and continuous improvement) and reviewed and developed through systems (such as leader standard work) and key behavioural indicators before being further developed through systems (such as learning and development).

None of this is easy, but my belief is that although “Seek Perfection” is one of the most difficult to understand of the Shingo Guiding Principles™, it is ultimately one of the most important in moving beyond simple tools to creating a true Enterprise Excellence culture.

1 Lean Thinking, James Womack & Daniel Jones, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996

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

The Shingo Winners

We are pleased to announce that Professor Peter Hines and Keivan Zokaei attended the Shingo Institute for Operational Excellence annual conference in Sandusky, Ohio to be presented with the 2014 Shingo Research and Publication Award for their recent book “Creating a Lean and Green Business System”.

The Shingo Institute for Operational Excellence is a not-for-profit organisation housed at Utah State University and named in honour of  Dr. Shigeo Shingo, credited as one of the fathers of the Toyota Production System. Dubbed the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing” by Business Week, the Shingo Prize is recognized as the premier award for operational excellence.

Keivan and Peter are honoured to be included with such an illustrious list of previous Research Award winners, such as Jeff Liker, Steve Spears, Mike Rother and Norman Bodek.The book explains how to Become economically successful and environmentally sustainable by adopting the lean and green business system model.

Also at the awards was Vale Clydach Refinery, who were presented with the Silver Medallion. Mike Cox and Fiona Buttery received this award on behalf of the group and commended S A Partners for their support in Vale’s continuous improvement journey.

Mike Cox and Fiona Buttery recieve their Shingo Award

Vale are the first UK Company to be awarded the prize in 25 years with just one other European company being previously recognised. Simon Grogan, S A Partners MD for Europe who’s worked closely with the company, said that “it’s a fantastic reward for the hard work that Vale have been putting in together over the last few years, and ite been a pleasure to be able to support them on their continuous improvement journey”.

First European Shingo Workshop of 2014 is a Great Success

S A Partners completed its first Shingo workshop of 2014 in Europe on Tuesday the 18th March and was attended by a wide mix of companies such as Nestle and the NHS with feedback being extremely positive. The workshop was held at the Shingo prize winning Vale refinery in Clydach, Wales, where they have been breaking production records, and reducing operational costs due to their implementation of continuous improvement throughout all areas of the refinery.

On the first day of the workshop, members learned about the Shingo model and how they align their organisational principles and core values with their systems.  The presentation was intermixed with group exercises with the aim of teaching the student how to identify if those behaviours existed. On day 2 the students were then taken out into the different refinery departments to implement what they learned on day 1, and interview Vale employees around a specific system, principle and behaviour to find evidence of it.

image of the shingo workshop attendees

The departments the students chose to investigate was engineering, smelting, purchasing and accounts. It was here that they could then follow their training and ask specific questions around ideal behaviour and systems, and mark according to their findings.

Nigel Woods of Watts Water Technology, said that he felt the two day workshop gave him the missing ingredient to removing the typical peak and fall that many organisations experience on the continuous improvement journey.  Mat Jackson of Dow Corning Ltd felt that it identified the principles and behaviours that made it more tangible where you could start to focus more on. During the purchasing and accounts visit, Joanne Tomlins of the NHS was very impressed by the attitude of the people working there.  She saw evidence during her investigation exercise, that the culture was deeply embedded right across the organisation, and found that collaboration was across all departments and through all levels of the organisation.

Most of the attendees are now looking at Shingo in greater detail as a way of improving the continuous improvement culture within their organisation.

S A Partners would like to thank all the staff at Vale for allowing us to hold the workshop at their Shingo winning refinery, and for taking time to answer all the workshop attendees questions during the investigation section of the workshop.

If you would like to take part in other Shingo Discover Excellence workshops that S A Partners are running, then you can visit the Discover Excellence event page to read more about the workshop, and book online.

Why not read the blog by Prof. Peter Hines on defining Continuous Improvement.





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




S A Partners Client Receives the Shingo Silver Medallion Award

Vale in Clydach, Swansea, have been awarded the coveted Shingo Silver Medallion by The Shingo Institute. The award has been dubbed the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing” by the North-American magazine Business Week.

Vale are the first UK Company to be awarded the prize in 25 years with just one other European company being previously recognised. Simon Grogan, S A Partners MD for Europe who’s worked closely with the company, said that “it’s a fantastic reward for the hard work Vale and S A Partners, who are official Shingo Affiliates to the Shingo Inst,  have been putting in together over the last few years”.

The Clydach Refinery is one of the largest in Europe and produces high-purity nickel and sub products for specialist areas, such as car components, batteries, nickel plates and nonferrous alloys. In operation since 1902, the factory produces around 40,000 metric tons of nickel products per year and supplies around 280 clients in over 30 countries across the world (in Europe, Asia and the US).

Since S A Partners intervention, Vale have been rewarded with a revenue increase of over 4.85 million and a reduction of finished goods inventory cost by 12 million.

group view of the Vale crewSimon Grogan said “this intervention was all about strong deployment and engagement of people through a journey that served everyone’s interest. We developed a long term vision and built robust systems that could deliver it. It was not about tools or ‘Japanese catchphrases’. Rather it focused on risk mitigation and sustainable continuous improvement.

Read the case study to find out more about the benefits Vale experienced during the improvement journey.

The name of the awards is a tribute to Dr. Shigeo Shingo, who was fundamental in the development of the Toyota Production System. The Shingo Institute recognizes excellence in organizations across the world, and its philosophy is that high-level performance in quality, cost and delivery can be reached through the application of tools for continuous improvement, and by core manufacturing techniques and business procedures.

Follow this link to read Vale’s press release in PDF format.

Based on our experience of working with Vale at Clydach in Swansea, who are the first UK organisation to win the Shingo Silver Medallion in 25 years, we are pleased to announce that we will be running Discover Excellence workshops throughout the year with the first workshop having taken place at the award winning facility of Vale.

Hear what Mike Cox, Vale’s general manager, has to say about S A Partners:

Shingo Prize Research Award goes to

We are delighted to announce that two of our team members Dr. Keivan Zokaei and Prof. Peter Hines have become the most recent recipients of the Shingo Prize for the Research and Professional Publication Award per the recommendation of The Shingo Board of Examiners, for their latest publication “Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Improving Profits and Sustainability” co-authored with Hunter Lovins and Andy Wood.

According to the awards jury: “Creating a Lean and Green Business System is an excellent book that demonstrates the close link between eliminating economic waste versus environmental waste […]The authors do a fantastic job of taking two separate initiatives and linking them as one effort to improve operations. The book’s flow allows for thoughtful scientific application starting with a principle-based, systems-driven approach.”

Aiming For The Shingo Prize?

S A Partners are running Shingo Prize Training workshops for Discover Excellence around Europe and Australia and have several workshops planned through to the end of the year.

View the European Shingo Discover Excellence workshop details and dates.

View the Australian Shingo Discover Excellence workshop details and dates.

Shingo Institute for Operational Excellence is a not-for-profit organisation housed at Utah State University and named in honour of  Dr. Shigeo Shingo, credited as one of the fathers of the Toyota Production System. Dubbed the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing” by Business Week, the Shingo Prize is recognized as the premier award for operational excellence. Keivan and Peter are honoured to be included with such an illustrious list of previous Research Award winners, such as Jeff Liker, Steve Spears, Mike Rother and Norman Bodek.”

The Book

“The book explains how to: Become economically successful and environmentally sustainable by adopting the lean and green business system model.” 

Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Improving Profits and Sustainability offers opportunities for innovation that can simultaneously reduce dependence on natural resources and enhance global prosperity. It explores less understood aspects of lean and green – discussing their evolution independently as well as the opportunities that exist in their integration, highlighting the importance of a cultural shift across the whole company. Outlining a systematic way to eliminate harmful waste while generating green value.

Find out more about the book by visiting the Creating a Lean & Green System website

Or purchase your copy from Amazon

Creating a Lean and Green Business System

 Download the Press Release