Maintaining Lean Momentum theme of Shannon Chamber’s Mid-West Lean Network Conference

Call issued for entries to novel ‘Street Event’ element of Conference



With an impressive track record of hosting 42 workshops, 4 conferences and facilitating 2 visits to Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing Centre in the UK since it set up the Mid-West Lean Network in 2016, Shannon Chamber is the envy of many regions in Ireland that are seeking to encourage more companies to strive for continuous improvement.


Over 115 companies, and their many employees, that are involved in fostering continuous improvement methodologies in their organisations, are benefitting from their membership of the network. Shannon Chamber is calling on even more companies to follow in their footsteps by attending the annual Mid-West Lean Network conference being held in Dromoland Castle Hotel on Thursday, 9 November.

The theme of this year’s conference, ‘Maintaining Lean Momentum’, has been especially chosen to demonstrate what is involved in initiating lean practices and to show that, even when projects fail, the learnings can be most valuable for moving forward to attain even better outcomes.

As Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes explains: “Maintaining momentum in lean implementation requires the involvement of everyone in the organisation, from the senior leadership team to the front-line employees. Success is so dependent on embedding a culture of continuous improvement throughout the company and this is the message that our panel of speakers on the day will be addressing. They will be sharing their vast expertise and experience of lean deployment with the audience.”

This year’s panel includes Heather Lowry, Head of Talent, Diversity and Organisation Development, An Post, who has a strong passion for developing inclusive workplaces, driving business efficiencies, and building strong talent pipelines. Heather has a keen interest in neuroscience and behavioural change and will outline how An Post in deploying lean in its Corporate Centre to support the future.

Martin Tierney, director of Limavady-based Seating Matters, a global manufacturer of clinical therapeutic seating, will share an incredible story about the power of collaboration and trust within teams, and the far-reaching impact that it can have on lives. The company’s story of lean transformation and the power of working together with people across the world on a common purpose is described as unforgettable.

Niamh Doherty, Director of Lean with STERIS A.S.T. EMEA & APAC, a leading global provider of products and services that support patient care with an emphasis on infection prevention, will zone in on the tools, systems and behaviours required to successfully implement lean. Ms Doherty is currently supporting 33 sterilization sites in Europe, Asia and Africa and a number of micro laboratories through their lean transformation process. She will share what she has leant in her 15 years involved in lean process improvement.

Ennis, Co. Clare’s TTM Healthcare CEO Paula McDonnell, will share her story of leading the transformation of TTM, reframing its mindset and services from those of a traditional recruitment agency, to a specialist healthcare solutions company.

The conference also includes an A3 Project Storyboards’ Street event, sponsored by LBS Partners, which is a very dynamic way of showing how companies are solving problems within their organisations.

Ms Downes explains: “Each project storyboard must outline the process the company used to attain a solution for their identified problem, with each milestone recorded and an overall quantifiable benefit derived.

“With two category winners this year, one for the best storyboard submitted by a small and medium-sized company and one for the best board submitted by a lager indigenous company or a multinational subsidiary, and additional prizes on offer from LBS Partners, Toyota, and Seating Matters, we are now calling on companies to submit their interest in entering and to get working on their entries. The winners will be selected by conference attendees via an online voting system on the day. This which will make for an exciting outcome,” added Ms Downes.

The conference will be brought to a close by the group senior leader, and lean manufacturing coach with Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK’s (TMUK), vehicle plant in Derbyshire, UK, Paul Blahyj

Helen Downes is delighted to have secured Mr Blahyj as the keynote speaker, as his 26 years’ experience with Toyota UK will be of tremendous interest to the conference audience, some of which has just returned from a visit to the UK plant.

“Paul spent eight years managing various lines within the assembly division of TMUK. He was the new model launch lead for Corolla into the assembly shop, including process design and project management prior to and during its launch. He is a Lean coach in the Toyota Lean Management Centre in Deeside, Wales and a strong believer in emotional intelligence and the usage of the tools to support lean coaching and implementation. He will certainly keep the audience engaged and we are looking forward to welcoming him to Shannon, the first of many collaborations between this region and Toyota.”

The Mid-West Lean conference, which is sponsored by WrxFlo, supported by Shannon Chamber Skillnet, Macmarts, TEKenable, Advanced Technical Concepts, Analog Devices and Indigo Visual Management, and delivered in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, commences with registration and light refreshments at 8:30am and concludes at 3:10pm.

Further information and bookings at