Curious about Lean methods and principles? We're here to coach.

In the late 1940s Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota began a shift that would transform the manufacturing industry. Faced with a post-war economy and limited resources, the company needed to find a way to produce high-quality goods at low cost that could compete in the international market.

The new mindset and methods that were introduced - making only "what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed", actively looking for continuous improvements, and empowering operators to play their part - quickly made Toyota a force to be reckoned with.

They had created the earliest iteration of Lean manufacturing, which continues to play a vital part in making them the global leader we know today.

Callaghan Innovation’s Lean programme has been designed to introduce you to Lean methods and principles, adapted and evolved for the modern business in most industries, and support you as you implement them in your business.

We start with a one-day Workshop (dates below), which further explores the Lean philosophy and takes a deeper dive into reducing ‘waste’ - anything that doesn’t directly add value to your customer - and identifying inefficiencies.

Once you’ve got a grasp on Lean, you’ll choose from one of our Lean coaching partners to work with your team. Over 12-months you’ll work in partnership to identify challenges you face and waste to be reduced, decide how to implement Lean methods into your processes, and take your employees through the cultural shift together.

Each coaching partner brings their own unique specialisms and knowledge, so you can find a partner you can trust and that fits in well with your team. We fund 40% (up to $20,000) of their cost, to help kickstart your Lean journey.

Here’s your chance to join the likes of Boeing, Intel, Nike, Fisher & Paykel and, of course, Toyota, in benefitting from the Lean philosophy.


Jones & Stanford Joinery is one of New Zealand’s largest joinery companies.

With management team based in Auckland, Wellington and Taranaki, they’ve been
involved in some of the biggest and most innovative joinery builds across the country.

Back in 2017, despite a good reputation for quality work,
Directory Roger Jones knew things could be improved.

[Director Roger Jones]
We were regarded as the best in the industry, but the phone were ringing hot
and they were saying: ‘Where’s our joinery? Why is it the wrong colour? Why is it not on site?”
We used to be really good at heroic rescues, last minute fire fighting. In fact, we were fire fighters,
We had a team of fire fighters, they weren’t joiners, they were fire fighters, and it was stressful.
It was stressful, it was time-consuming, and it cost us a lot of money. And I soon realise that we had to take control of our manufacturing business.

Roger Jones was confident of the workmanship of his team, and so he looked at the way the
industry was working and their role in it, and then sought solutions about how to keep the
client at the centre of their operation.
The goal was happier, less stressed clients and less stressed employees.

[Roger Jones]
A Eureka moment for us was when, this thing called ‘Lean’, Lean manufacturing was introduced.
And it just lit me up!
We brought the coach in, he taught us how to manage challenges and problems, and then develop solutions ourselves.
But the biggest part of it was actually understanding what the problem what, so we introduced rigid processes that we know work for us.

Some of the changes the company made included identifying long lead times
In procurement, and having a high level of detail in the development of sharp drawings.
Vision boards and regular planning meetings allow for easier identification of potential issues.
Jones & Sanford also employed their own, on-site, managers to ensure accurate information was making it back to their design team.
Roger also invested in their own delivery vehicles, so they could be in control of the product,
From inception through to on-site delivery.
The results have been very impressive for Roger and his team.

[Jim Beccard]
The issues I’ve had in the past just don’t happen with J&S
Everything turns up when it should do on-site, everything’s all together.
Every little detail, every scribe panel every filler panel, it’s all been mapped and planned out.
The stress is non-existent, things turn up and they go in, and there’s always
Thing that happens which you have to organise, otherwise I wouldn’t have a job. But,
It seems much calmer working for J&S than previous employer certainly.

Pleasingly for Roger, a calmer work environment extends beyond Jones & Sanford employees, making for a less stressed allied workforce on-site.

[Roger Jones]
Introducing these processes, we’ve found, has assisted all the other people in the team so
the electricians may want to come to us and have a discussion and it’s a relief for him to find
that we can help him. It might be something as simple as drilling a hole on the the side
Of a panel, but we can do that back here in the factory cause our processes allow us to
Do that.

A continuous improvement made by the team at Jones and Sanford Joinery has yielded some very pleasing results for the company.

[Roger Jones]
We’ve been able to triple the output in this factory, same factory, four walls, same people,
same machinery, but its the way we do thing, it’s our methodology, it’s our planning it’s early
procurement, it’s discipline, procedure on-site with our regional manager. All of our team
have been involved in this Lean journey.

Jones & Sanford Joinery is carrying on their commitment to project management efficiency
by thinking about the future energy need of the company.
A recently installed solar array will provide up to 100% of the factory’s power, but Roger
Jones doesn’t want to stop there.

[Roger Jones]
We’re seeing that our clients are wanting their supply chain to display that they’re doing something about the environment, something positive.
We’re doing that right now, by generating electricity for this factory to feed our machine.
That’s happening right now, but the biggest most significant goal for us for 2022 is to be

A commitment to efficiency, discipline processes has allowed this joinery company to remain a leader in the industry
And has helped Jones & Sanford Joinery to deliver on their promise of deliver in-full, on-time end specification.

Benefits to your business

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Less waste, more productivity

Identify and remove all waste in the pursuit of the most efficient methods possible.

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Pure focus on customer

A mindset that's focused on fully satisfying customer requirements.

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Continuous improvement

Create a company culture of continual improvement, that truly values the individual inputs of every team member.

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No more firefighting

Remove defects and issues during your operational process, so your team no longer spends valuable time fixing problems.

By the numbers

400 +
Businesses supported by the Lean programme
900 +
Businesses attended the Lean workshop
Average score out of 10 for Lean workshop customer satisfaction

Is this right for me?

Best suited to

Since the Lean philosophy is about company-wide culture change, we’re looking to engage with Senior leaders that set company-wide strategy. Most organisations that benefit from the programme have never implemented Lean methods before.

Whilst there are aspects of Lean that are applicable for all businesses, we’re looking to support businesses that are producing products, such as those in the food and beverage, manufacturing, and agritech sectors.

The programme also caters to Māori led organisations. We work with coaches with extensive experience in supporting Māori led organisations.


The Lean programme is open to organisations registered in New Zealand. We ask that business leaders first take part in a Lean Workshop before approaching a Lean coaching partner and applying for co-funding. 

In some cases, a workshop scheduled in your area might be some months away. If you are ready to start with Lean coaching now please get in touch with us, and we will come up with a solution. 

In most cases we’re unable to fund Crown operated or owned organisations. Please get in touch if Lean is of interest and you may fall into this category.

The Lean programme comes in two parts:

1: Introductory workshop

The one-day Introductory workshops are delivered by the University of Auckland Business School.

Across the day you will: 

    • Understand why Lean principles are critical for business success.
    • Understand and differentiate the symptoms and causes of process problems.
    • Learn what can be achieved by introducing Lean principles and practices in a business.
    • Learn how to engage your people in building a Lean functioning business that flourishes.
    • Explore the importance of gathering and making data visible to everyone.
    • Develop a plan for moving towards being a lean business.


Upcoming dates and locations for the workshops can be found under ‘Upcoming Workshops’ below. 

Further information about the workshops can be found on the University of Auckland Business School website

Once you’ve attended a workshop our team will follow up to discuss embedding one of our Lean coaching partners.

2: Twelve months coaching

After attending the workshop and identifying the efficiency you could find through Lean, you'll be invited to choose a Lean Coaching partner to work with over twelve months. 

Each coach has been hand selected and comes with different expertise and knowledge from a range of sectors. They’re intentionally spread across Aotearoa New Zealand, so they can spend quality face-to-face time with you and your team.

Initially they’ll work with you to identify anything that’s not directly adding value - what they’d call waste - and approaches to decrease it. Rather than just setting a plan or strategy, they’ll equip you with the tools to empower your employees and to make continuous improvement.

1: Introductory workshop

  • Lean one-day introductory workshops cost $200, excluding GST, per person.
  • Registrations are limited to a maximum of three people per business in most cases.
  • Priority is given to registrations from businesses new to the Lean programme.

2: Twelve months coaching

  • Working with the Lean coach over the 12-month period is co-funded – you pay 60%, we fund 40%, up to a maximum of $20,000.
  • The total cost will vary depending on the coaching partner you choose and the bespoke approach you choose to take together.

Upcoming workshops

Date (2024) Location Venue
Thursday 20 June Hastings Hawke's Bay Business Hub
Tuesday 9 July Tauranga Shared Space - 65 Chapel Street Pohutukawa Room
Monday 5 August Auckland Auckland University
310 - Decima Glenn
Thursday 15 August Whangarei The Orchard
Mahi Tahi Room
Wednesday 4 September Christchurch Commodore Hotel
Conference Room 5
Thursday 26 September Gisborne Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club
Thursday 10 October New Plymouth Devon Hotel
Devon Room
Wednesday 23 October Nelson Tides Hotel
Moana Room

Frequently asked questions

I’ve heard that Lean is about increasing your bottom line by reducing headcount. Is this the case?

The Lean methodology and philosophy is about getting the most from your existing employees to find the most value, rather than reducing headcount to reduce costs. Feel free to get in touch with our team to discuss your challenges and whether Lean could provide a solution that avoids cutting jobs.

My business is doing well and growing fast, but we’re struggling to meet demand. Can Lean help with this?

Absolutely. Our partner coaches can help you become more customer focused, keep up with demand and ensure your product stays high quality. Get in touch!

Meet our experts

Sandra Baresic
Sandra Baresic Product Manager Facilitation to nut out gnarly problems

I work as a Product Manager coordinating and managing the delivery of programmes to improve the productivity of New Zealand businesses.  My work balances both data driven insights and collaborating with people to create offerings for customers.

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We guide organisations on the road to excellence.  We work directly with our clients to create processes that highlight problems while simultaneously training and empowering their teams to solve them.

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One of New Zealand's most established Lean providers, having worked with over 50 companies in multiple sectors, the Lean Group has a proven track record in achieving long term improvements.

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Productivity People

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We bring extensive knowledge and experience from leading industries and sectors to help you develop a culture of learning, innovative thinking and leadership as you introduce and apply Lean Thinking practices.

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Ready to transform your business?

Get started today!

Speak to one of our team to find out more about the Lean Programme and sign up for your nearest workshop.

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