Presentation Abstracts

International Speakers

Enhancing Global Competitiveness: Two Pillars for Flow and Quality

Presenter: Furuhashi, Independent Consultant, Japan

In order to achieve global competitiveness, a leader should consider the two pillars of Quality and Flow. Quality focuses on the individual processes and Flow enables the design for optimised operations. These two pillars can work in tandem to enhance competitiveness but at other times they may conflict and cause significant challenges. The Quality pillar has been widely understood and practiced, under the programmes of Total Quality Management (TQM), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Six-Sigma, and other Management approaches, and this has become a commodity in all industries in the world. The current global market exhibits a myriad of demands including more variety in requests, uncertain and fluctuating demand, and there is the expectation of prompt delivery. In such market conditions, Flow Management can take the operation to new heights of performance. Three case studies will be illustrated during the presentation, including:

Case study 1. Total optimisation of the supply chain
Case study 2. Lead time reduction in tool manufacturing
Case study 3. Increased customer satisfaction in a hospital


Visionary Leaders for Manufacturing in India: Reflections from an 11-year Programme to Develop Leaders

Presenter: Furuhashi, Independent Consultant, Japan

The Visionary Leader for Manufacturing (VLFM) Project aims to develop visionary leaders in the manufacturing sector in India. It is a National Project which started in 2007 and will come to conclusion in September 2018. It has been sponsored by the Japanese and Indian Governments, and Indian Academia. Once the project has been concluded the plan is that the project will continue without external input or external management. The presentation will cover the Visionary Small & Medium Enterprise (VSME), which is one of the sub-projects in this large VLFM project. The VSME aims to develop visionary leaders in SME sectors. In the VSME project, the customers (mostly large organisations) and suppliers (mostly SMEs) are working together to create new relationships to mutually benefit each other and mutually grow their businesses, by applying Flow Concept tools and methods. Since 2010, more than 1,000 factories and suppliers have joined the project, including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 organisations. The presentation will include the unique approach of the VSME project, as well its results, and learnings.


Lean Leadership: Lessons from the Field

Presenter: Kim Barnas, CEO Catalysis, USA

An organisational transformation to an improvement culture starts with leaders’ personal transformation.  At Catalysis, we have distilled important leadership qualities down to five key behavioural dimensions that, together, are essential for fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Learn how you can embrace and practice these behaviours to become a better lean leader of change.



Lean as a Management System

Presenter: Kim Barnas, CEO Catalysis, USA

Managing a lean organisation requires a different type of leadership and a shift from management-by-objectives to management-by-process. A lean management system enables the adoption of management by the process, regulates the flow of information from the front lines to senior leaders and back, fosters engagement of all employees in process improvement, and allows for daily coaching and teaching. During this overview session, participants will learn about a journey to develop a lean management system at a healthcare organization and experience an in-depth framework for each element that comprises it. At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose behind each of the 10 interconnected components of a lean management system.
  • Describe how to cascade information effectively throughout the organization.
  • Identify how to create and sustain a system of continuous improvement aligned with strategic goals.
  • Discuss how employee coaching and mentoring can occur daily.
  • Recognise and describe the importance of leader standard work in supporting a lean transformation.


Factors for Lean Transformation

Presenter: Dave Brunt, CEO Lean Enterprise Academy UK

Factors for Lean Transformation remains relevant wherever you find yourselves on the lean journey. If you are just starting out, you want to be aware of the elements required the way to think about transforming into a lean organisation. If you are trying to sustain and improve, understanding the performance gaps helps you develop the plans and actions to close them. Whether you are a senior leader, an improvement team or leader of a front-line team, and if you are struggling for traction, understanding these elements is critical. Dave will talk about the need for a situational approach to transformation, as each company’s circumstances are unique. Instead of listing the tools and techniques used or even the principles of jidoka and just in time, we are seeking a way to communicate the questions one needs to think about when embarking on a Lean Transformation. 


Lean Transformation Architecture

Presenter: Dave Brunt, CEO Lean Enterprise Academy UK

Dave Brunt will expand on the use of the Lean Transformation Framework at Halfway Toyota explaining the methodology used at the organisation, the problems they are trying to solve and how this approach is different to the way many organisations try to implement lean.



Lean Zoo: Developing Problem-Solvers

Presenter: Jeff Foster, Director of Performance Improvement, San Diego Zoo Global, USA

Lean tools and methodology are useful in multiple applications, but not alone. Lean thought and problem solving are required to use Lean tools properly. Lean thought is the harder aspect for Leaders to learn. Developing these skills enhances the culture and develops the organisation’s ability to withstand any economic changes in circumstance. Jeff will focus primarily on the Leadership behaviour and Management skills needed to utilise Lean methods (secondary) to improve their processes. He will cover the importance of coaching leaders to develop their team’s skills, to apply Lean concepts to their business processes and provide greater value to their employees and customers.



Creating a Kaizen Culture to Drive Business Impact and Engage Employees

Presenters: Waleed Mazen, Director, V-Veer Ltd., Mohammad Marzouk, Plant Manager, Ahram Security Group, Egypt

Stark austerity measures and economic transformation in Egypt meant raw material was both costly and rare; external competition is fierce and national morale is low (impacting employee motivation and productivity). The case study showcases a lean journey to demonstrate how a family business with +70 years’ manufacturing and export experience went through transformation into a public company, with a vision for excellence. The journey we showcase underpins critical pinnacles of successful transformation, as we demonstrate the value of Kaizen & how it supported the organisation through a tough economic period & uncertainty – driving positive business results.  The presentation will cover key parameters in achieving the vision: 

  • People commitment and empowerment
  • Developing processes and safety
  • Results and sustainability


Reflections on a Global Lean Transformation Leadership Journey

Presenter: Kobus Malan, President Mid-Market, Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology (2018)

Kobus will share reflections on his Lean leadership journey from the past 20 years, starting in South Africa and continuing in China, Australia, Sweden and finally ending again in China, covering Lean transformations in Manufacturing, Product Development and Management. The main objective is to share his experience and the critical success factors for a successful Lean transformation. He will talk us through his experience of leading Lean transformations for Atlas Copco Secoroc in South Africa and then four different Atlas Copco manufacturing companies in China. The third attempt was in Australia, where the manager was supportive of the change, but not the workers and limited success was demonstrated. Finally, he has led successful lean transformations in Sweden at Atlas Copco and again in China.


Implementing Lean Product Development

Presenter: Kobus Malan, President Mid-Market, Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology, Global (2018)

In this presentation, Kobus will share the methodology used to implement Lean Product Development, based on the successful implementation in Atlas Copco Sweden and in Sandvik China. Traditional methods of managing product development projects are typically characterised by fuzzy project goals, slow decision making, resource conflicts, undefined priorities, low level of coordination, a lack of transparent information and an inability to adapt to changes. This normally results in delayed projects and overrun budgets. Applying Lean principles to the product development process can eliminate or minimize the problems associated with traditional methods. Defining value from the view of the customer is the critical first step and applying pull based on customer needs instead of push. Regular interaction between all the functions that’s directly or indirectly involved in the development process facilitates the flow of value. Their task is to remove waste, unevenness and overburden to create the flow of value. The visualisation of the progress, results and problems are done in the Pulse room. The Lean Product Development (LPD) methodology involves the formation of different multifunctional Pulse teams, each with their Pulse board in a Pulse room, where they meet daily or at least weekly to discuss their tasks and use the Pulse boards to visualise their progress. This methodology was applied in Sweden in Rocktec Division, Atlas Copco and again in China in LGMRT, Sandvik. In both cases the problems associated with traditional methods of product development were eliminated and project


A 7 Year Journey of Leadership & Organisational Transformation

Presenter: Erwin Telemans, CEO, CCBRT, Tanzania

As CEO of East Africa’s largest Disability Hospital Erwin was faced with the usual challenges of scarcity in resources and increased demand. Traditional management and leadership resulted in some short-term gains but not enough to meet customer demands, achieve goals – and restricted the organisation’s growth and development. As he was searching for an alternative, Lean management first came to his attention in 2011, and since then it has been an incredible learning journey in which mistakes and some good decisions were made. Erwin believes it is his obligation to share this experience with fellow leaders of African institutions and show them how Lean has opened up opportunities that he never thought would even exist.



South African Presentations

Myths of Lean Start-up

Presenter: Sarah-Anne Alman, Manager, UCT Graduate School of Business, Solution Space

The lean startup approach advocates a nascent venture which tests and runs experiments in order to improve decision-making (and reduce uncertainty) regarding the startup’s business model and allocation of resources. The lean startup process has three pillars. First, entrepreneurs document their hypothesis via a framework called the business model canvas. Second, entrepreneurs engage with potential customers to test initial hypothesis via a process known as customer development. Third, once entrepreneurs have validated the fundamentals of a business model entrepreneurs introduce prototypes (minimum viable products) to further isolate hypothesis into low-cost experiments.

Prior to the lean startup approach gaining widespread adoption, the traditional approach to the entrepreneurial process was largely based on the development of a business plan – building a false sense of certainty in an environment that is full of uncertainty. The introduction of new frameworks such as the business model canvas (Oesterwalder), and a new process for testing entrepreneurial assumptions through customer discovery (Blank), made way for the lean startup approach, which has an increased emphasis on “search and validation” as opposed to “plan and execute”.

Drawing on theory and practice – this presentation aims to share the values, mindset, practices and toolkit of lean startup. I will also explore questions such as “does lean startup work?”, “what are the pitfalls of lean startup?” and highlight the nuances of “lean startup in different contexts”. With growing attention to other management principles of data-driven decision making and evidence-based management – lessons from this presentation are applicable not only to startups, but to the creation of new projects or initiatives within larger organisations.

How Nibbly Bits Empowered its People and Transformed its Managerial Culture

Presenter: Stephan Drees, Operations Manager, Nibbly Bits

Stephan Drees describes the forty-month lean journey of bakery Nibbly Bits in Wellington, Western Cape. The start was tempestuous: a two-week strike only exacerbated already fractious industrial relations. Then, sparked by attending a 2-day Introduction to Lean workshop, Stephan began exposing colleagues to lean, tried some 5S and aspects of the Kata. Progress was slow for 12 to 18 months. Then they started falling into place and building momentum, with a surprising discovery: reading. And experimenting with the ideas being read about. Mindsets changed, and profitability and relationships blossomed. Take a look at this Planet Lean article to find out a bit about what Stephan will be talking about.


Leadership Strategies for Creating Paths of Change

Presenter: Matthew Ferguson, Manger Valuation Surveys and Data Quality, City of Cape Town

This case study maps the Lean journey of the City of Cape Town’s Valuation Department against the four leadership areas of Demming’s “System of profound knowledge”: Appreciation for a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge and psychology.

The journey starts with the use of systems thinking methodologies to define how service demand can be met perfectly, this uncovers the harsh reality of service backlogs necessitating shorter terms methodologies such as theory of constraints and management by objectives with the aim to maximise throughput. Throughput increases and so do backlogs, and the vision of meeting service demand perfectly is revived by gradually introducing Lean and Six Sigma methods to maximise the flow of value, quality and predictability.

Through the sharing of stories, the case study is used to explore the questions, “how do we know?” and “what motivates us?” as we try to think our way to the other side of complexity.


Using AI to improve Quality: A Collection of Case Studies

Presenter: Michael Grant, CTO, DataPropher

Recent press on machine learning is saturated with hype: Siri-this, and Alexa-that.  However none of these technologies have meaningful impact on industrial operations and the organic beast that is a complex production system.  For example: while being able to converse with an interface to send a text message is nice, it doesn’t help with the negative quality result despite all production parameters compliant with their respective tolerances.

This primary objective of this talk is to separate hype from technology and—by means of example—unpack the philosophy behind smart factories of today.  At the end of this talk attendees should be able to understand where various technologies can contribute substantially to their business.

The second objective of this talk is to address some of the science behind the  manufacturing/production systems with artificial intelligence.  This covers the difference between the predictive power of an AI versus the prescriptive power of an AI system.

The final objective of this talk is to create a sense of calm against the storm of the negative media AI has received: this is not a technology that will take jobs, but rather a technology that will increase the impact of existing roles.  By helping people manage and control processes with the correct actionable intelligence; by helping engineers understand which process parameters have greater influence on their process; and by creating a stable production platform without massively varying yield.


From R3,50 to the Sky

Presenter: Webster Kushata, Owner and Chief Dreaming Officer, Nzum Nzum Group

7 years ago Webster found himself stranded at Cape Town Station with R3.50 to his name. He slept in a stranger’s house for 5 days and then he was kicked out. This was a moment that he had to dig deep into his soul. He had a realisation that if he was going to make it in life the decision was his alone. Though he was broke, he was determined that in order to create anything of value he had to dig deep. He knew that he was intelligent, strong willed, a fighter and had all it took to be successful. It started with Webster and nowhere or no-one else. Webster’s first business had him meeting clients at the local KFC, who wanted computers and cell phones fixed. Did he know how to fix them? No. But, he knew people who could do the repairs. So Webster became the middleman, connecting clients to service providers. This is something that he continues to do. Webster leveraged, forged relationships, swopped industries and made partnerships and seven years later Nzum Nzum Group is a Self Proclaimed Township Retail Group, including four Internet cafes, four retail shops, one hardware shop and one clothing shop. They employ 25 permanent people and support hundreds more on the Cape Flats. As Webster says ‘It will be tough, it will be hard, lights will be turned off. Doors will be shut. Start where you are and through Purpose-Process-People Organisations Lives will be transformed.’


Building Blocks for Leading Lean Organisations

Presenter: Timothy London, Senior Lecturer, Allan Gray Centre for Values Based Leadership, UCT Graduate School of Business

For Lean to be implemented effectively, there needs to be a mindset change which can then result in changes to practices. This session will focus on 3 key concepts essential for leaders’ understanding and implementation of Lean: enabling communication in multiple directions, creating the balance of flexibility (to make improvements as needed) and stability (to “set” best practices once established), and generating a culture that supports psychological safety. This requires ensuring that the organisation’s structures, culture, and people are aligned to this more dynamic and empowered situation. Each of these issues will be explored from a point of view of the diverse academic literature that highlights their importance, and then connected to concrete, practical examples to enable a clear understanding of how to take these ideas and make them work for the participants. This session would help participants critically examine their organisation’s current situation, compare it to the factors necessary for implementing Lean successfully, and reflect on some changes they can make to make Lean more likely to be implemented.


A3 Thinking in Manufacturing to Improve Productivity and Changeover Time

Presenter: Pompi Mahlangu, Lean Superintendant, Johnson Matthey

Pompi Mahlangu is a Lean Implementation superintendent at Johnson Matthey, SA. He has been involved in Lean implementation since 2007 for the company’s manufacturing sites. Pompi is an advocate for problem solving and has utilised A3 reporting and problem-solving tool extensively. He has imparted a culture of problem solvers within the company through continuous mentoring and coaching in problem solving. Pompi will share his Lean Journey, and how they have used the A3 methodology and other Lean tools to continuously improve and sustain change over times, availability of production lines, performance of assembly lines and quality of finished product.


Leadership and Continuous Improvement at Groote Schuur Hospital

Presenter: Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO, Groote Schuur Hospital

Globally, the delivery of healthcare in a cost effective and equitable way is becoming a challenge and in the South African context, balancing the burden of disease and the patient load within available resources, while still maintaining quality of care, is becoming unsustainable. The leaders of today would need to do something different in order to avoid a collapse of the system. This can be effected through appropriate leadership and driving innovation with a view to improving the quality of care provided. This presentation will describe the journey of Groote Schuur Hospital since 2013 and review how a home-grown leadership development program for the executive managers, facilitated the implementation of improvement projects using lean management principles. The review will also focus on which other factors enabled or disabled this process.


Implementing Lean in a Resource-Constrained Environment – the story of Malamulele Onward’s DIY Lean Transformation

Presenter: Gillian Saloojee, Executive Director, Malamulele Onward

Malamulele Onward is a non-profit organization which exists to improve the quality of life of rural children with moderate and severe disabilities as well as the life of their carers. We want each child, no matter how severe their disability to thrive within a supportive environment whilst equipping their parents and families for a lifetime of caring. Running a machine as complex as Malamulele Onward and tackling a condition as complex as CP requires structure, standardization, and most importantly development of people.  The child’s mother is the constant in the child’s life and by giving her the skills and knowledge she needs in order to problem solve how best to handle and care for her child in ways that are helpful and therapeutic, we will achieve a lasting impact. To achieve this we have developed a standardized training programme which trains mothers to train other mothers; introduced visual boards into every aspect of our work; and most importantly, adopted a rigorous PDCA approach in everything we do. We consciously and continually reassess what we do and constantly improve our processes and programmes. Being an NPO, we simply do not have the luxury of spending resources on doing things that simply do not work.


How did Omnia Integrate and Entrench Change?

Presenter: Tjaart van den Berg, General Manager: Continuous Improvement, Omnia

Creating change momentum is important but sustaining the momentum for the long run is even more critical. Many change efforts are not effective after a certain period. Questions that come to mind:

  • How to keep the people on board?
  • How to entrench change management practices in the organisation’s DNA
  • What is the purpose, function and reason for the CI team and their influence on keeping the momentum?


Shared Data for a Lean Civic Society

Presenter: Sam Vos, Director, U-Turn Homeless Ministries

U-turns’ clients are Cape Town’s 7,500 homeless people, and U-turn works to equip them with skills to overcome homelessness. Given limited resources and a low sector rate for rehabilitation, U-turn began incorporating LEAN principles to shift from a traditional welfare service of ad hoc basic needs relief, to a high-quality phased rehabilitation programme for a sustainable pathway out of homelessness. From 2005 to 2017, output increased from serving 60 homeless individuals to over 1000, alongside improved product quality: 6 months after graduates leaving the final Life Change programme, 75% maintain a stable income, 62% remain in independent formal accommodation (ie. brick and mortar), and 75% remain sober. By involving all parties, from Director to its homeless customers, U-turn has crafted systems and used technology to reduce duplication and inefficiency, most notably reducing the waste of human resources. Rather than a traditional hand-out model where the homeless are benefactors, the homeless are instead both clients and integral to U-turn’s workforce, by turns enhancing its end product of rehabilitation and reintegration. Given the limited resources available to NPOs, and the desperate need for increased capacity and quality of service, adopting a Kaizen approach has profound implications. With this in mind, U-turn established Connect Consulting in 2010 to guide other NPOs for effective systems. The consultancy now contributes towards the 43% self-generated funds supporting U-turn’s operations.