About Us


Sustainable Development of Society


Contributing to better organisational outcomes and quality of life by advancing Lean Thinking and Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa.


We aim to achieve our vision by building the community of lean practitioners through co-learning partnerships, action research and knowledge sharing.

The Lean Institute Africa (LIA) is a non-profit company with the aim of promoting lean management in sub-Saharan Africa. We strive to deepen our understanding of the effective implementation of lean management through research and practice. It was established in 2008 by Graduate School of Business (UCT) Emeritus Prof Norman Faull.

Our applied research approach enables us to provide high-quality content in our workshops, experience-based facilitation in our educational programmes and high-impact results for the private and public sector organisations with which we partner. Each year we convene a national, lean management conference, alternating between the Lean Summit Africa and Lean Healthcare Summit, drawing on renowned international speakers such as Jim Womack, Dan Jones, John Shook, Mike Rother, Michael Ballé and John Toussaint.

LIA is a member of the Lean Global Network comprising more than 28 institutes globally. Founded by Jim Womack and Dan jones, the network is a community of thought-leaders and practitioners with the goal of making things better by advancing lean thinking and practice throughout the world.

LIA is a specialised unit of the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town.

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The Team

Rose Heathcote is Lean Institute Africa’s CEO and is dedicated to helping African organisations advance their learning and application in Lean Thinking. For more than 20 years, she has focused on raising the performance of enterprises in most industry sectors in Africa, Middle East, UK and India through the integration of Lean techniques into a management system to ultimately create a Lean culture . She has been privileged to work with 100+ companies, from micro through to large internationals, supporting them with:
– Strategy and Execution in Lean Thinking
– Corporate and Individual Learning and Development
Rose has a background in Industrial Engineering and is the author of ‘Clear Direction’ and ‘Making a Difference’.


Dr Anton Grütter is a Director of the Lean Institute Africa, a Lean Executive Coach and a member of the Management team. He has helped organisations to implement and institutionalise operational performance improvement programmes in industry, commerce and the public sector justice and healthcare systems for many years. He has taught operations management at South African universities since 1993. Recently he has taught at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town and as a visiting professor on the MBA programme at Shanghai University. His PhD research was on the effective implementation of shop-floor improvement teams, his textbook “Introduction to Operations Management” was published by Heinemann in 2010 and he continues to present at many international conferences.


Norman Faull 20140729 TwitterEmeritus Professor Norman Faull is the Chairman of the Lean Institute Africa, a Lean Executive Coach and formerly a Professor of Business Administration at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town. He was among the first researchers in South Africa to introduce innovative manufacturing and supply chain improvement concepts, such as lean manufacturing, into the country. In recent years he has focused on implementation of lean management in the South African public health system although his experience spans across the mining, manufacturing and service sectors. He teaches on executive programmes at UCT and elsewhere. He continues to research the area of process improvement, with particular attention to large-scale systems.


Tshepo Thobejane is a BSc Industrial Engineering graduate with a diverse working experience gained from working in manufacturing, management consulting, logistics, supply chain, banking and public healthcare. His career has focused on achieving operational improvement through the use of process improvement methods, operational planning methods and the use of various operations management information systems. He started his Lean Thinking and Practice journey when he chose “A study of an implementation of Lean Management in a South African public hospital” as a topic for his MBA research. He is convinced that Lean Thinking can be a lifestyle and is applicable everywhere.


Mia Faull is the Marketing and Events Manager at Lean Institute Africa. Prior to working at the Institute, she worked in London for several International Development Charities as a fundraiser, specialising in Trusts and Foundations. Lean has become a growing interest of hers, particularly in the way it has the potential to transform people’s lives. She is passionate about promoting Lean in South Africa and beyond. She has a MPhil in HIV and Society, and BA Honours from the University of Cape Town.




Samantha Allen has extensive experience in a variety of industries which include Healthcare, Pathology Services, Oil and Gas and Financial Services. Samantha spent nearly a decade in the UK implementing Lean Methodology and Process Optimization for the National Health Service. Since returning to South Africa she has been working with a wide range of organizations in designing and implementing effective Lean programs to ensure institutionalization of process improvement. Samantha has a passion for training and skills development in Lean Management and is an accredited facilitator, assessor and moderator. She is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Prince 2 Project Practitioner.


Jan ErasmusJan Erasmus started his working career as a mechanical design engineer. He has experience as a management consultant where he headed several interventions to improve productivity, improve customer care, reduce cost, and develop the leadership of companies and change cultures. He has published articles on Leadership and Change, presented productivity improvement papers at international and local conferences. He has assisted several companies in the former Soviet Union, i.e. Moldova, Estonia, Slovenia and Croatia to transform from former state-owned companies to free market enterprises. Jan currently works as a consultant in operations management, productivity improvement, strategic planning and leadership development.