We have worked with Propolis over a period of two years to date, and counting.  During this period Andrew has provided around 40 colleagues across our three sites with a good understanding of the lean principles and tools, this has been a solid platform from which to start our lean journey.  The service provided is highly flexible and this allowed us to optimise the number of colleagues who participated.  The combination of time spent on theory learning the principles of lean, along with time spent doing practical work or ‘kaizen events’, worked particularly well for us.

Dan Parr, Operations Director


SYNETIQ engaged Propolis on a wide range of projects across numerous disciplines over an extended period of change, integration, growth and transformation for the SYNETIQ business.

The huge benefit and value that Propolis brought to the business was based on Sarah’s investment in building a precise understanding of not just the “as is” and desired “to be” position but also the people, personalities and processes in place. This understanding, alongside project management skills, personal experience and an aptitude to simplify and focus on what is really important, made Propolis an incredibly helpful partner.

Sarah added further value through her calm, pragmatic, and balanced approach and always offered wise and valued-counsel both project-specific and more generally, based on real-life, relevant experience. Through this partnership we obtained a much sharper insight into our own business, from customer journeys, to system requirements and training needs. We are undoubtedly better equipped for the future on the back of her involvement.

Tom Rumboll, CEO

BNL (UK) Ltd

BNL (UK) Ltd is a manufacturer of bespoke plastic bearings used in a wide range of applications including automotive, food processing and business machine products. Our complex manufacturing processes include injection moulding and automatic assembly and naturally we have an intense focus on customer service and operational efficiency. To help drive the next stage of development we partnered with Propolis in 2020 to create and deliver a Lean Process Improvement training course. This extended to include all five companies which form the group BNL are part of.

On our behalf Andrew created and delivered a 3 day, bespoke lean process improvement course that was tailored to our needs, covered key tools and techniques but importantly, was real world based and accessible for our team. Andrew used his experience and enthusiasm to deliver an engaging, relaxed and open course that conveyed things in a technical but easily understandable and relatable way, it was certainly not a dry, textbook type affair.

Using our new understanding of value, and tools such as value stream mapping and standard work combination charts, we have eliminated waste and seen process changeover times being reduced by 50%, and manufacturing lead times for key products cut by similar proportions. This has given us a new perspective for identifying and tackling waste, and the tools to do it.

Andrew was excellent and a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended.

James Severn, BNL UK Operations Manager

Find out more about Propolis Manufacturing Training

BB Mortgages

I was introduced to John via a colleague to assist with putting my vision for a sales process into force. Whilst I knew in my own mind how I wanted my staff to transact, I found it hard to explain it fully and implement it. Sarah listened to my thoughts and that of my team. She then spent time researching the IT the business uses and came up with a flow chart to map the sale from start to finish. Sarah was happy to make any amendments and remap the process to a satisfactory conclusion.

Thanks for helping me get my vision to paper

James Carpenter, Mortgage Advisor

ABL Business Ltd

Fantastic business process insight from Sarah Valentine-Bull for the team ABL Business Ltd. Lots of good things to shout about but also improvements to be made. Thank you Sarah… Let’s get this business in ship shape!

Alex Beardsley
ABL Business Ltd

Project Manager for Barnsley Start-Up Support

Sarah took over the management of our Barnsley SmartStart project (start-up advice and workshops for Barnsley residents) delivered on behalf of BMBC in June 2015, and improved the delivery, administration, analysis, and overall communication to stakeholders within a short period of time.

She combined her accountancy, process mapping, and quality systems knowledge across a variety of sectors with her own experience of starting up in business in Barnsley under the SmartStart programme to make recommendations for improvement.

Her focus was always on the customer, and how the programme could accommodate their needs. As a result she initiated additional workshops and one-to-one support including social media, innovation, business plan reviews and developed relationships with other start up initiatives in Barnsley such as at Barnsley College.

Adrian Waite,
Chief Executive,
Barnsley Business & Innovation Centre

Management Information to Support Business Development

We have been incredibly impressed with Sarah and her product delivery. She took the time to understand our service provision and some of its intricacies, no small test in itself, she managed to tune in to exactly what we needed and worked with us to guide us to the best solution. Sarah has not only created a bespoke dashboard against a tight timescale she has also delivered it and supported us through implementation. Sarah is an accomplished performance Manager with a fine attention to detail, we are delighted with the service we have received and the support she has provided.

Mark McKenning
Operations Director
Caremark (Barnsley)

Law Firm

As a law firm embarking on a strategy for growth and modernisation and with many different projects affecting different departments it was clear we didn’t have the resource internally to coordinate such a myriad of different work streams. We engaged with Sarah to support us on this journey.

What she brought to us was a methodology for project planning, creation and roll out, bringing together different groups of key project sponsons and owners as required to ensure effective conversations were taking place and everything was carried out on time and to plan.

This became even more important when we consider the impact of Covid and lockdown when everybody was working remotely making communication even more difficult.

A key lesson that we learnt as a business is that whatever the business does it is all about the process. A good project manager can quickly understand processes that may be unique to the business eg in this case delivering legal services but many processes share similarities and it also helps to provide external insight into what might be regarded as internal challenges and get a fresh perspective.

Sarah helped us design and manage various process changes, developed the training materials to support this and worked closely with our developers to ensure that the system was ready on time for a launch period, this change has given us the efficiencies to continue growth with the same team numbers over the coming year.

Independent Living at Home Limited

Independent living limited copyWe have recently completed a complex and demanding organisational transformation process which has seen the Independent Living at Home Service spin out from a provider service in Barnsley Council to a Local Authority Trading Company operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Barnsley Council. Given that a key part of the strategy was service expansion we have also managed in parallel the design, build and implementation of a new service TelpalCare.

We recognised at an early stage of the above developments that we would need a highly competent Project Manager with the necessary planning and organisational skills to deliver our required outcomes with key challenges around resource management from a capacity perspective, with the balance between managing the day job and the new developments.

We were able to procure Sarah’s services through Propolis with her additional knowledge and skills relating to finance, process design and Call Centre management equally proving invaluable to our requirements.

As the senior manager for Independent Living at Home Limited, ultimately responsible for delivering the organisational transformation and TelpalCare service developments I have worked closely with Sarah for the last 12 months.

Sarah’s can do, positive attitude with an absolute commitment to the task, coupled with her people, organisational and planning skills have enabled us to successfully deliver both Projects in parallel to budget and on time.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Sarah’s services, she is very much part of an ongoing collaboration with Independent Living at Home as we intend to utilise her skills to help mobilise large new contracts going forwards.

Paul Higginbottom, Business Manager