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Riaan appears in the Top 50

Australian Professionals Magazine

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Riaan du Plooy

Riaan du Plooy is CEO of Cannsult, Inc., a company that specializes in business and process improvement services, or as they like to say, rehabilitation and restoration! Their services include consulting/partnering, live training and workshops, and Lean Six Sigma e-learning.

Through its two offices in Sydney, Australia, and Melbourne, Florida, in the United States, the company serves customers globally. With clients in various sectors including healthcare, FMCG, manufacturing, finance, banking, hospitality, fragrances, flavors, warehousing/logistics—and even the emerging legal cannabis industry—no industry is off limits. As a seasoned executive and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who has conducted over 400 successful implementations globally, Riaan leads a team of experts who thrive on teaching their ways and helping people and companies achieve their most challenging goals.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your role as CEO.

I have degrees in chemical engineering and business analysis, and through the years, I’ve operated in different roles within organizations. I’ve paid my school fees, starting as a shift worker, working my way up from operations roles into the great avenues of management.

I’ve taken on roles such as production manager, Lean facilitator, leader, and I even advanced into Lean continuous improvement manager in Oceania for a global supply company. The great thing about my role as CEO now is that I have the opportunity to partner with fellow CEOs and leaders as well as supporting and leading managers and their workforces.

Having the opportunity to work at all levels of organizations internationally allows us to have a profound influence on people's lives and businesses—and that is a great honor. We bring our clients a simple yet effective way of dissecting their businesses and putting them back together like a puzzle, making things work better for them. This creates stronger and more predictable business results, improves the experience for our customer’s customers, and, very importantly, helps to create a workplace that their employees truly enjoy. This has become a real passion of mine—both personally and professionally.

You’re making Lean Six Sigma easier for companies to learn, implement, and understand to improve their businesses. Tell us how you’re doing this.

Both my partner, Clare DiFrisco, and I are Master Black Belts, and we have a combined 40-plus years’ experience in delivering and implementing Lean Six Sigma in various industries, globally. Our aim is to make it less daunting and more user friendly, easier to get to results, and more modern. Most Lean Six Sigma training is still based on the old methods and materials from the eighties. While the foundational concepts are all still relevant, the way people learn and apply the tools has changed dramatically.

We integrate ourselves into our customers’ teams, work with them to get to root causes of problems, and use behavioral change management to drive results. We streamline processes and systems so that our clients can scale and grow and develop a culture of teamwork and synergy. As we work with the teams, they learn the tools and concepts on the job—just in time—and they end up more skilled at problem-solving by the end of the engagement. For our e-learning customers, we integrate a lot of the same principles, and we make the tools and concepts easy to understand and easy to apply. In whatever way that we engage with our clients, we focus on meaningful and measurable results, and we have a solid track record of delivering ROI. This is one of our foundational principles, which we are very proud of!

Cannsult offers multiple ways in which your customers can work with you, both in person and remotely. Will you describe these for us?

We offer both on-site consulting/partnering and real-time, virtual services, as well as live training and workshops, including webinars, courses, and our newly launched Lean Six Sigma e-Learning platform. Depending on the specific needs and situation of our customers, we will work with them in whichever channel will provide the greatest impact—or greatest ROI—for them.  

Tell us more about your Lean Six Sigma e-Learning platform. This was a labor of love for both you and your partner, correct?

It was, and it was a long time coming. Our Lean Six Sigma e-Learning platform focuses on a modernized and high-impact learning of Lean Six Sigma. We initially stayed clear from any online learning as we hadn’t seen it done really well. We just weren’t convinced that it could be effective—or delivered to our standards.

Lean Six Sigma certifications are available from a lot of online sources, but being “book smart” here doesn’t usually translate to “street smarts” or meaningful results for a business. And that was the missing ingredient. We were determined to create a virtual platform that meets our goal to make Lean Six Sigma accessible and easy to learn, but more importantly, truly effective. We are thrilled to see our customers benefitting from our commitment to high standards and our mission of delivering real value.

Your approach to fees is unique in that it’s tied to actual, realized benefits for your clients. Will you tell us about this?

Clare and I are extremely passionate about improving businesses and doing it rapidly and effectively. We will risk our fees when supporting our clients in growing their businesses to ensure a solid foundation is built and our tools and experience are utilized correctly. We are more than consultants; we are partners, and we enjoy having skin in the game.  

Who can most benefit from your consulting and training services?

Any business or person facing significant changes or challenges, such as integrations (M&A), rapid growth, or performance challenges, as well as any organization working to improve the customer experience or employee engagement, can benefit tremendously from working with us. We partner with all levels of an organization, from leadership—C-level and executive—to the frontline employee.

How does your own exposure to different cultures help your clients?

Having moved my family from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Sydney, Australia, about 13 years ago, and working with customers and associates in the U.S., China, Japan, Europe, etc., has given me a lot of insight into the cultural differences that exist both socially and in business. I have learned to appreciate that we all have diverse needs, desires, and perspective that determine our abilities to deliver what is needed to be successful.

Successful change requires an understanding of behaviors, and all significant change requires a psychological adjustment to encourage sustainable change. This is the main ingredient missing in the majority of implementations. Experts look at systems, tools, processes, but still have the same people doing these things the same way they were before. We include the softer side, the people side of things, changing the environment, leadership behaviors, and determine individual needs to ensure that they support and sync with the systems, streamlined processes and the ability to sustain the improvements.

Tell me two things that you’re most proud of.

I’ll answer that on behalf of myself and my partner, Clare, in saying that becoming recognized members of the Female Founder Collective—a powerful community of inspiring women founders and changemakers—is a source of pride for us, as well as receiving our accreditation from the CSSC (the Council for Six Sigma Certification) for our online Lean Six Sigma training courses. Those are two big accomplishments that we’ve proudly shared just in the last year.


Riaan du Plooy


Cannsult, Inc.

Lean Six Sigma e-Learning:

Sydney, Australia

Melbourne, Florida, U.S.


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