September, 2016

Mark Robinson



Mark Robinson, Director of Lean at the University of St Andrews and Managing Director of St Andrews Lean Consulting Ltd, was the first breakfast speaker of the Autumn/Winter 2016 term at its September 21 meeting.

Mark Robinson, Director of Lean at the University of St Andrews and Managing Director of St Andrews Lean Consulting Ltd, was the first breakfast speaker of the Autumn/Winter 2016 term at its September 21 meeting.

Mark has delivered Lean facilitator training, facilitated Lean Rapid Improvement Events and led the establishment of Lean Teams in institutions including The Scottish Parliament and in a number of universities in the UK, Ghana and Malaysia to Canada and Australia.

A New Zealander, he explained to members and guests how his career prior to arriving in Scotland in late 2003 – in a number of management roles in the New Zealand public sector – provided many examples of processes which were far from effective or Lean and drove his desire to fix them and others.

For example, while working in education he encountered a form in a filing cabinet which had been transported without question from the original building to the new one a number of years before. It was from the 1940s and detailed the correct procedure for fitting headlight shrouds to a car during wartime. Or the time delay from filing a trademark application to receiving acknowledgement of its receipt – two years.

So, when asked in 2007 to join the University of St Andrews Lean change initiative, he jumped at the chance.

Mark explained the basic principles of the Lean approach to continuously improving organisational processes set out from Slide 14 in his presentation, which you can view here –

In summary, Lean is about having “the right people continuously searching for the simplest and smoothest process in order to meet customer needs perfectly”. In order to achieve this, he and his colleagues have frontline staff map their existing processes in a blame-free environment of mutual trust and then generate ideas for how to move to a perfect set of processes which add value, are necessary and are free of the 8 Wastes (Slide 20) – Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-production, Over-processing, Defects and Skills.

The 2 Fundamentals (Slide 18) – Continuous Improvement and Respect for People – and the Five Principles (Slide 19) underpin the approach and are used alongside a variety of tools and techniques, some of which are shown in Mark’s presentation. The Lean Project Process Overview is shown at Slide 29, with an example of a finished Lean process flowchart at Slide 31.

Potential obstacles include The Wall of Excuses (Slide 34). They are overcome through structured questioning from the Kipling Checklist (Slide 22).

For more information about Lean, continuous improvement and St Andrews Lean Consulting Ltd, go to its new website at

Rhonda McCrimmon


Rhonda McCrimmon, BID Manager, BID St Andrews was the speaker at the November 2016 breakfast meeting of the Club

Rhonda has a strong background in financial and event management – having worked as an accountant with Fife companies Carters Accountants, Craig & Rose and SRUC Elmwood before spending four years as a financial accountant at the University of St Andrews, including work on capital projects.

Rhonda told Club members and their guests about the many things BID St Andrews has accomplished since the Board was elected by levy-payers in November 2015.

She first explained that the aim of BID St Andrews is to harness the power of the global brand of St Andrews for the benefit of local businesses and the community. Through the BID a series of projects and services are creating a more vibrant business environment focused on delivering an enhanced customer experience and reputation for the town.

The BID is managed by a dedicated Board of 10 volunteer representatives from levy-paying businesses and two local councillors plus the BID Manager, Rhonda.

The compulsory business rate levy is paid by qualifying businesses whose premises are inside the BID area and is collected on BID’s behalf by Fife Council. By the end of October 2016 £129,000 of levy income had been collected – 87.6% of the amount due. The balance is mainly accounted for by businesses paying it via payment plans.

BID’s grant income of £35,000 to date is on-track with the business plan target. It’s also received ‘in kind’ support from several businesses including Thorntons Solicitors and The Old Course Hotel (£1,930 of free meeting space) and University of St Andrews (£20,000 of staff time, accommodation, office, meeting and function space).

Photography Festival

Reviewing the highlights of what BID St Andrews has done with those resources, Rhonda first went over the key facts of BID’s first major event – the 1st St Andrews Photography Festival, which was held from August 1 to September 11:

The next photography festival will take place over four weeks in September 2017.

Land Train

During July 2016 BID also for the Land Train to return for a trial summer week after a well-received run during the 2015 Open weekend. The route linked the sights of St Andrews and showcased the town.

The train proved popular with both tourists and locals. As a result it will return at Christmas and BID is in talks about an extended run in Summer 2017.

Clean and Green

One of the main themes of the BID Business Plan, as a result of feedback from levy-payers about their priorities, are the Clean and Green projects. Rhonda summarised progress on each of these:

Festive Celebrations

Rhonda went on to explain the various initiatives BID has lined up to help the town maximise the economic benefit from the Festive Period this year by raising the profile of St Andrews as a Christmas destination:

BID has agreed in principle to take over the organisation of the Christmas Lights event from 2017 and will explore possible options with a stewardship team from The Old Course Hotel in early 2017.

Early 2017

Rhonda next outlined two of the events planned for early 2017:

Online Marketing and Promotion

Finally, Rhonda’s presentation explained that BID is exploring options for its online presence and is developing a strategy for marketing and promotion including:

Answering questions from attendees, Rhonda said which events would become annual fixtures would depend on the KPI performance of each,

Rhonda also confirmed that BID is keen to engage with all groups in the community and would welcome more involvement from levy-payers.

For more information about BID St Andrews and for contact details, go to

This meeting is open to Club members and their guests only.

Click here to find out how to join the Club. Annual membership is just £30. Small additional charges are made for certain meetings, usually to cover catering costs.

St Andrews Business Club