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Want your business to be more profitable, competitive and successful? Then get to know our manufacturing specialists - they could be your greatest asset.

Sarah Jardine, Chair of Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS)
Sarah Jardine, Chair of Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS)

The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) is staffed by manufacturing professionals who together bring over 500 years of manufacturing expertise from shop floor through to director level. The team have a proven track record of supporting all sizes of business from all sectors to become more profitable, competitive and successful.

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Sarah Jardine explains how SMAS can help Scottish manufacturers
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The SMAS practitioner team are experts in: 

  • Process improvement
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Innovation
  • Allied disciplines
  • Coaching and mentoring

More Scottish companies are recognising the benefits of improving their business than ever before – last year, more than 300 Scottish companies generated £107 million worth of savings by becoming more efficient and increasing their productivity. 

Want to find similar success? Then apply for a manufacturing review through SMAS.

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Nick Shields

Nick Shields, Director

Nick has held senior positions in engineering and operations management both in multinational and small to medium enterprises.

With over 20 years of expertise in companies such as Teknek and Polaroid, he now heads up the SMAS team with a focus on developing a culture of business excellence in all manufacturing companies in Scotland.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Lean manufacturing
  • Organisational change and development
  • New product introduction and development
  • Quality management systems

Lindsay Branston

Dr Lindsay Branston, Business development manager

Lindsay’s vast experience at management level in the chemicals sector, as well as business and manufacturing through her work with SMAS has allowed her to deliver complex customer focused projects across multiple businesses, engaging with multi-discipline teams.

She has an Honours Degree and PhD in chemistry, as well as fifteen years management and leadership experience in various blue chip companies. Her areas of expertise are people management, process and product development, and technical marketing.

Her pragmatic and structured approach is supported by her recent six sigma green belt qualification, and by the workplace coaching and mentoring qualification she is currently undertaking.


Joanne Blanusa

Joanne Blanusa, Senior business development executive

Joanne’s role is SMAS is to manage the marketing and business development activity for the SMAS service across the HIE region, Aberdeen and Shire, and Tayside, along with responsibility for the SMAS national events programme across the whole of Scotland.

She has 15 years of experience with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in a number of project management roles which included HIE's business transformation agenda, where she led on the conceptualisation and roll-out of new approaches by the Network to enable SMEs to exploit technology and business processes to stimulate growth and productivity.


North team

David Howie

David Howie, Regional lead practitioner

David worked with Tullis Russell Papermakers in Fife through a period of expansion and cultural change, and was a member of the management team at Inverness Medical, leading an expansion from 200 employees to 1200.

He then worked with LifeScan for 12 years in various technical and engineering roles, with particular focus in new product introduction.

David is a six sigma black belt, gaining the project management professional qualification in 2011.


John Johnston

John Johnston, Practitioner

John is a experienced engineer and operations professional, with over 20 years of manufacturing, process engineering, and new product design and introduction experience gained through working with major companies such as Amazon, Johnson & Johnson and Motorola.

He has process excellence green belt certification, and a passion to develop others and through continued learning. John is also a qualified ICF Coach and DiSC Behavioural Trainer.

Specialising in the engineering, medical device manufacturing, and warehouse and distribution sectors, his areas of expertise include:

  • Production management
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Change management

Gillian MacLeod

Gillian Macleod, Practitioner

Gillian has over 20 years of industry experience acquired through a number of roles gained in NPD, process development, quality and continuous improvement with a record of achievement in business improvement and cultural change within the food Industry.

Working through the ranks from technologist to management and finally in an advisory role, she has a depth of knowledge and understanding of the challenges at all levels of business.

Gillian is an experienced manufacturing six sigma black belt and a qualified lead auditor which has enabled her to lead a wide variety of successful improvement projects from discreet factory layout projects to complex six sigma programmes.

Her areas of experience include:

  • Six sigma
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Quality management
  • HACCP systems
  • Coaching and mentoring

Bruce Marshall

Bruce Marshall, Practitioner

Bruce has an Honours Degree in Microbiology from the University of Glasgow, and gained registration in the UK and Canada as a laboratory technician during his six years of clinical laboratory work, prior to moving to the private sector as an operations technician.

He has more than 18 years of operations and production management experience in pharmaceutical GMP environments, medical devices and contact manufacturing.

Utilising key continuous improvement techniques, Bruce managed the work being performed by a third party filling and freeze drying company, became a key member of the design team for a £45 million manufacturing facility, and increased facility output by more than 400 per cent.

Additionally, Bruce is an ILM5 Level Certified Business Coach, and holds a six sigma green belt.


Calum McCafferty

Calum McCafferty Ph.D, MBA, Practitioner

Calum joined SMAS with over ten years in production and operations management, three years experience in sales and account management, and six years experience of people management.

Specialising in the food and drink, oil, and engineering sectors, his technical areas of expertise include:

  • Development and implementation of change programmes and transformational change management
  • Continuous improvement
  • Development of key performance indicators approach to drive forward team performance
  • Development of engineering and preventative maintenance planning
  • Coaching and mentoring of individuals to achieve aligned goals within businesses

Garry Price

Garry Price, Practitioner

Garry has over 20 years experience in FMCG manufacturing, and is a six sigma green belt.

His experience has been gained in a variety of roles throughout his careers, such as a technical manager, group global innovations manager, NPD director, technical director and general manager.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Food microbiology
  • New product development and design process
  • HACCP
  • Overseas supplier approval and development
  • British retail consortium audit and preparation
  • Seafood processing
  • Quality management
  • Innovation process and design
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Team development
  • Project design and management

Gillian Reid

Gillian Reid, Practitioner

Gillian has 20 years of experience in manufacturing and business, across a range of industry sectors.

After graduating from the Scottish College of Textiles (Heriot Watt School of Textiles) in 1988, she progressed into senior positions in the clothing industry both in the UK and abroad. Since 2002 she has delivered business improvement, lean and quality management across a variety of industries and organisations.

Her areas of experience include:

  • Lean management
  • Business improvement
  • Business counselling
  • Quality management

Jaime Sansom

Jamie Sansom, Practitioner

Jamie’s experience includes operational management and continuous improvement roles within small to medium enterprises, and multi-national FMCG businesses.

Jamie also worked as a management consultant focusing on operational efficiency within the Scottish manufacturing sector and carrying out due diligence and operational risk programmes across Europe.

He had an ILM level five certificate in coaching and mentoring, and is a six sigma green belt.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Bottleneck analysis
  • Layout design and production line philosophy
  • Change of working practices and change management
  • Lean manufacturing

East team

Jerome Finlayson

Jerome Finlayson, Regional lead practitioner

An accomplished operations manager, Jerome has a track record of working with companies at a senior management level. He has experience of working with a variety of businesses from shop floor to board level in an advisory, consulting, coaching and mentoring capacity.

Jerome possesses excellent interpersonal, communication and management skills, coupled with effective leadership skills both at strategic and operational levels. He also enjoys managing, motivating and developing teams towards successful outcomes.


Gerry Borge

Gerry Borge, Practitioner

Gerry has over 35 years manufacturing experience in technical, operational, management and continuous improvement roles, including responsibility for manufacturing operations at companies such as Motorola, Mitsubishi, Honeywell and Cadbury.

In 2006 Gerry gained an MBA from Edinburgh Napier University, and in 2014 he was awarded a Level 5 Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring by the ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management).

His areas of expertise include:

  • Lean techniques
  • Continuous improvement through cross-functional teams
  • Implementation of reporting systems based on short interval control of performance
  • Process and value stream mapping
  • Factory layout and process flow
  • Coaching and developing staff
  • Operations management
  • Project management
  • Six sigma

David Gardner, Practitioner

Having spent his early years as a Design Draughtsman in heavy engineering, David made the transition to manufacturing management via the fellowship in manufacturing management programme at Cranfield University.

David has led a number of greenfield start ups for US electronic component manufacturers locating operations in Scotland and latterly worked for major US and European multi-nationals in senior positions, including full P&L responsibility for significant manufacturing operations in the UK and in Europe.

He has experience and expertise in a wide spectrum of manufacturing and operational management, and as an experienced general manager he knows the importance of building success through empowerment and allies this with a passion for lean manufacture and lean supply.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Steel and aluminium casting
  • Electro-mechanical assembly
  • Electronic assembly
  • Plastic injection moulding
  • Punch and form
  • Electroplating

Stephen Gray

Stephen Gray, Practitioner

Stephen has over 24 years of experience in a variety of disciplines such as manufacturing, production planning, logistics, engineering, and sales.

A lean six sigma green belt, Stephen has initiated and championed a number of continuous improvement programmes, including six sigma, lean deployment, and TPM. He has also developed a highly successful performance management programme.

His areas of of expertise include:

  • Change of working practices and change management
  • Performance management and staff development
  • Planning processes
  • Quality management systems
  • Six sigma and lean manufacturing
  • TPM
  • Continuous improvement
  • Structured problem solving

Bernard Harkin

Bernard Harkin, Practitioner

Bernard has over 20 years experience in manufacturing within a number of industries. He has been involved in continuous improvement projects since studying for his degree in Industrial Engineering with Manufacturing Systems Engineering Options.

Bernard also has extensive knowledge of the business cycle, from initial enquiry through design and manufacture, to final test and delivery.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Production management
  • Continuous improvement
  • Workplace organisation

Keith McCormack

Keith McCormack, Practitioner

Starting in production control with Shin Etsu Handotai, Keith occupied a number of roles including quality manager and manufacturing manager as the company expanded its operation and product portfolio peaking at 750 employees.

Keith was well schooled in waste reduction methodologies and team oriented problem solving during his career with this company, and was responsible for a number of improvement initiatives in yield, inventory reduction, lead-time improvement and general cost reduction.

Joining Scottish Enterprise SMAS in 2011, Keith has supported many businesses from small to large, offering structured support, coaching, mentoring and building lean understanding and capability.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Continuous Improvement through cross functional teams
  • 5S and workplace organisation
  • Problem solving (qualified green belt)
  • Manufacturing and quality techniques (8D, control plans, standard operating procedures)
  • Change management
  • Cultural change
  • Coaching

Richard McLean

Richard McLean, Practitioner

Richard has a keen interest in the engagement of people and practices which has led him to develop joint techniques and tools, such as six sigma (black belt) and Lean that deliver sustained improvement.

His experience has allowed him to deliver across multiple business sites, engaging with employees from board level to shop floor and facilitating cross functional teams to deliver optimum throughput by improving working relationships.

Richard has developed a reputation for insight, diligence and results. These qualities have also allowed him to develop his delivery of training in the areas of both lean and six sigma. His mentoring style allows trainees to grow and develop into their roles whilst embracing the continuous improvement ethos that Richard promotes.


David McNichol

David MacNicol, Practitioner

David originally qualified as an electrical engineer in the automotive sector. He has an MSc in Manufacturing Management; an Honours degree in Psychology and is currently completing an MSc in Occupational Psychology. He has over 30 years experience in manufacturing operations management and business improvement consultancy, with a strong background in lean and organisational development.

David has worked in a variety of sectors and industries and his programmes have delivered a collective benefit in excess of £55 million, created world class lead times and designed quality systems for two of the country’s leading financial institutions. He has also delivered lectures in Lean systems as part of a UK wide MSC and is a member of both the British Psychological Society and the Chartered Management Institute.

David’s work has primarily been on transformation, with a strong focus on behavioural change through a structured framework. He has done this with organisations such as Motorola, Intel, Siemens, RBS, Lloyds Bank, Vodafone, Nokia, Virgin and Zurich. These transformations have placed strong emphasis on the learning of new skills and behaviours so that change results in a more capable and wholesome organisation that sustains a drive towards customer focused improvement.


West team

Robert Cowan

Robert Cowan, Regional lead practitioner

Starting off his career as a Rolls-Royce apprentice, Robert has gained significant manufacturing experience operating in specialist roles such as metallurgy, manufacturing engineering and quality, as well as in more general production and man management roles such as manufacturing management, quality management and business planning.

His qualifications cover a range of areas – BSc Metals and Material science, Diploma in Industrial Management and Diploma for Professional Management Coaches and Mentors. He has also gained both ISO 9000 and SC21 Lead Auditor status.

As an experienced lean and six sigma practitioner, Robert takes a practical approach to problem solving. He places a strong focus on change management and developing behavioural change to support sustainable improvement within businesses.

Robert has implemented successful improvement projects in a range of businesses covering sectors such as:

  • Aerospace
  • Defense
  • Food and Drink
  • Engineering
  • Energy
  • Chemicals

Colin Allan

Colin Allan, Practitioner

Colin’s experience allows him to deliver across multiple business sites, engaging with employees from board level to shop floor facilitating individuals and cross functional teams to deliver change, performance improvement, developing new processes and systems and improving working relationships.

He has earned his Masters Degree in business administration, a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and is currently completing professional development to become a coach supervisor.

This will further enhance his approach to achieving organisational change, which includes:

  • Ability to understand all aspects of organisational direction
  • Structure and performance
  • Ability to encourage all levels of leadership to identify area’s for improvement
  • Ability to support all levels of leadership in delivering the improvement

John Cadden

John Cadden, Practitioner

John’s 23 year industry experience has been gained within the electronics sector working for major organisations. Rising to senior positions in engineering and project management roles, he has a sustained record of achievement in general management, strategy execution, project and change management.

A major focus has been on continuous improvement of organisations, processes and resources to achieve efficiency, growth, good management and the release of value to the bottom line.

John’s areas of expertise include:

  • New product introduction
  • Resource management
  • Project management
  • Quality management
  • Continuous improvement
  • Problem solving

Ian Collinson

Ian Collinson, Practitioner

Ian’s career commenced with Associated British Foods as an Analytical Chemist and was subsequently trained to be an assessor for manufacturing business, quality and safety frameworks and worked in factories across all food and drink sub-sectors.

Ian has since gained significant manufacturing and customer relations experience working in Manufacturing Management roles including responsibility for Customer Relationships, People Management, Quality Management and Business Improvement Management.

As a graduate with a BSc in Chemistry, further qualifications include a Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring plus SC21 Lead Auditor status.

Ian supports companies through growth, development, change and improvement and works across businesses with both leadership and shop floor teams.

A key focus is placed on engagement, behaviour and consensus as a platform for change. Both hard and soft skillsets are used to support sustainable improvements. With traditional Lean and Six Sigma methodology supported through coaching, mentoring, engagement and behaviour development to support both cultural and performance improvements.

With a career in the Food & Drink industry, Ian has successfully used these transferable skills to deliver business improvement projects across all industry sectors including engineering, chemicals & life sciences, electronics, aerospace and defence.


Gordon Leishman, Practitioner

Gordon has worked within operations and operations management for over thirty years with a career focus on business improvement and business excellence.

He initially trained as an industrial engineer before moving into production management and factory management.

In 1991 he completed an MBA, through the Strathclyde Graduate Business School, and elected to specialise in world class manufacturing.

Gordon has led business change and transformation projects in:

  • Lean process development
  • Supply chain development
  • Process design and control
  • Forecasting and inventory control
  • ERP/MRP implementation and benefit capture
  • CAPEX led site redevelopment
  • Organisational restructure and business transition

Jonathan Matthews

Jonathan Matthews, Practitioner

Through managing manufacturing companies, Jonathan has acted as a champion of continuous improvement and has a wealth of practical experience of implementing lean methodology in automotive, aerospace and defence market sectors.

His experience has allowed delivery across multiple business sites in multiple countries, engaging with employees from board level to shop floor and facilitating cross functional teams to deliver optimum throughput by improving working relationships.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Lean manufacturing techniques
  • Business management and improvement
  • Senior operational management
  • Culture change management

Allan LcLaughlan

Allan McLaughlan, Practitioner

Allan began his career as a metallurgist, studying to become an Associate of the Institute of Metallurgists before taking up his first production and operations management position within the steel industry.

Allan has a successful record in reforming working practices as well as attitudes and behaviours, and doubling capacity within the fettling, welding, NDT and heat treatment operations within a business supplying to the MOD, and power generation industries across Europe.

He has also worked with Japanese master engineers to secure the successful implementation of lean manufacturing across the business.

With over 30 years of industry experience, Allan has been offering coaching, advice and support to a number of small and large businesses across the food and drink, forestry, textiles, engineering and construction sectors.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Lean and kaizen techniques
  • 5S and workplace organisation
  • Continuous improvement through cross functional teams
  • Introduction of autonomous manufacturing teams
  • Problem solving
  • Manufacturing and quality techniques (8D, FMEA, control plans, SOPs)
  • Change management
  • New product introduction
  • Leadership and cultural change

Agnes Pollock

Agnes Pollock, Practitioner

Agnes’ experience has been gained through extensive training, implementation and day to day management in a large blue chip company and several small to medium enterprises across manufacturing, distribution, engineering, retail and tourism sectors.

With extensive experience in the FMCG manufacturing, change management, and lean manufacturing sectors, her areas of expertise include:

  • Lean manufacturing techniques
  • Business improvement consultancy
  • Senior production management
  • Culture change management

James Simpson

James Simpson, Practitioner

James has extensive experience in the food and drink sector, having filled project manager roles at companies such as McVities, Hovis McDougal, and Regenersis.

He also has a Masters Degree in manufacturing sciences and engineering with a Diploma in management for engineers from Strathclyde University, including placements at Babcock Marine, and Diageo.

His areas of expertise include:

  • Continuous improvement though kaizen and cross functional teams
  • SMED changeover reviews
  • 5S and workplace organisation
  • Statistical process control
  • Value stream mapping and lean management
  • Project management
  • Change management
  • People and team development

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