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) was established in 2008 by Emeritus Prof Norman Faull and is a non-profit company (NPC) with the aim of promoting lean management in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

We strive to deepen our understanding of the effective implementation of lean management through research and practice. LIA’s applied research approach enables it to provide high-quality content in its workshops, experience based facilitation in our educational programmes and high-impact results for the private and public sector organisations with which we partner.

Since 2000, every alternate year, Lean Institute Africa has convened a national conference – Lean Summit Africa – on lean management, drawing on renowned international speakers such as Jim Womack, Dan Jones, John Shook, Mike Rother and Michael Balle. In 2015 LIA held their first Lean Healthcare Summit and hosted another Healthcare Summit in 2017 with Dr John Toussaint as keynote speaker.


Dr Anton Grütter is the CEO of the Lean Institute Africa. 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. He teaches as a visiting professor on the MBA programme at Shanghai University and at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town. 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 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. 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.


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.


Rose Heathcote is Lean Institute Africa’s 2018 Designate CEO. She 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’.

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.