Training & Consultancy in Systems Thinking

About Vanguard

Vanguard is a management consultancy and training organisation utilising our own, highly effective, methodology.

Many detailed books, articles, academic papers and news items have been written about the successes of the Vanguard Method for Systems Thinking but to put it simply, we don't just write you a report and walk away.

We work directly with you, through live improvement programmes that get real results, teaching you how to do our job as we are working. So you not only gain all the business improvements our expertise and experience bring, but a changed culture and a legacy of trained internal consultants who can help your business keep improving long after we have gone.

UK Systems Thinking Consultants Vanguard Scotland


Vanguard management consulting was founded in 1985 in the UK by Professor John Seddon, occupational psychologist, researcher, author, management thinker and leading authority on change in organisations.

He is known for adapting the Toyota Production System and the work of W. Edwards Deming and Taiichi Ohno into a methodology for improving performance in service industries. This methodology was called 'Vanguard Systems Thinking' and has been making significant contributions to the role of human factors in quality ever since.

Denise Toscani and Stuart Corrigan worked with Professor Seddon and were so successful that in 2000 John licensed them to set up the independent company Vanguard Scotland.

The continued success of Systems Thinking in both public and private sector service organisations has led to the subsequent expansion of Vanguard throughout Europe and Australasia.

Our Approach

Systems Thinking: Outside in – Customer approach

When you learn to take a systems view, starting outside-in (from your customer’s rather than your organisation’s point of view), you can more easily define the waste caused by the current organisation design, the opportunities for improvements and the means to realise them.

Systems Thinking: Vanguard Model – tried and tested model that delivers results.

the Vanguard Systems Thinking model

Vanguard has pioneered the translation of Taiichi Ohno’s ideas behind the 'lean' Toyota Production System - for Service Organisations.

Service is different to manufacturing. In simple terms there is inherently greater variety in customer demand, hence the need to design work to absorb that variety.

Vanguard's change management programme helps service organisations avoid the pitfalls of ‘tools’ developed for ‘lean manufacturing’ since they do not translate well for organisations like yours - Service Organisations.

You'll be engaged in a unique Method for Service Improvement. Unlike the traditional ‘Plan, Do, Check’ model we believe that the place to start is ‘Check’.

The ‘Check‘ process helps you understand and see the ‘what and why’ of current performance, build the case for change and redesign your service ‘flows’ to only do the ‘value work’.  Your team is actively involved in carrying out ‘Check‘ and in a short time they will see what is wrong and will want to fix it.

How Systems Thinkers approach performance

Change Management Thinking – Challenging

It is management thinking that determines the system (how the work works) and the system determines performance.

Change the way you think about the design and management of work and you can change the system. When you design your system to do what matters to your customers you will improve service, reduce costs and increase staff morale.

Transferring Learning

We teach you how to do all this for yourself, so that when we leave you, you will be equipped with the ability and knowledge to ensure your organisation's future sustainability and continuous improvement.

You also have the option of gaining a CMI management qualification based mainly on what you are learning and applying in the work you do with us to improve your systems.

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