Visionary Leadership: Keys to a Successful Continuous Improvement Transformation

Posted by Roger Shrum on Apr 11, 2018 7:37:00 AM

Written by Roger Shrum, IMEC Regional Manager

In my work with manufacturers, I’ll encounter leaders who are frustrated with the slow pace of implementation of their continuous improvement programs.  They are concerned that they are not seeing the payback they were hoping for.  What I share with them is sometimes unsettling: Many enterprise-wide lean deployment programs become stalled because the top manager in the company has not clearly articulated his/her personal vision and committed to making it successful.

In one example, a company I was advising faced chronic late delivery problems, which jeopardized its reputation with longstanding customers and opened the door for its competitors to take business away.  The company was forced to work significant overtime and expedite production just to stay in the game. This company had a history of waiting for a downturn in business to shore up its delivery performance. Along the way, they “dabbled” in implementing lean methods, but as orders increased, a full lean implementation was shelved.  In retrospect, these well-meaning, busy leaders now realize that they may have missed an opportunity for significant growth by not positioning the company to adequately meet customer needs during the upside of the cycle.  

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It's Not Their Fault - People vs. Processes

Posted by Scott Czysz on Nov 16, 2017 2:48:51 PM

Written by Scott Czysz, IMEC Technical Specialist

Over the last couple months, I've observed a recurring theme with a few of the companies I am working with: a frustration with "them" (co-workers, factory workers, etc.) not doing what they are supposed to be doing.  As I dig deeper, I have found the problem lies within:

  • Poorly designed (or never designed) processes,
  • Poor or no process documentation,
  • Poor or no training for the people that are doing the process every day, and, not surprisingly,
  • Poor results.
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You Need Lean Maintenance to Make Lean Manufacturing Succeed!

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Sep 27, 2017 1:59:21 PM

Written by Lawrence Bouvier, CMRP
Vice President – Fuss & O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions

Is equipment downtime holding you back from achieving Lean Manufacturing success?

We all have heard of the seven wastes addressed in Lean Manufacturing, but did you ever consider that if you applied similar principles to equipment health, you’d want a discipline to create Lean Maintenance?

Overproduction, Inventory and Waiting are three of the seven lean wastes that can come as a result of equipment failures.  A good maintenance process will keep these to minimum levels.  So, how can we achieve this?  The only way is to minimize the amount of maintenance and repair that we perform on machines!

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Include Maintenance in Your Lean Dialogue from the Start

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Apr 3, 2015 11:37:57 AM

As you plan strategies for launching or revitalizing your lean implementation, don’t forget to include maintenance in the mix.

“Maintenance is a key contributor to a continuous improvement or lean initiative,” said John Kravontka, president of Fuss & O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions. “Many times, they are the last function to receive lean overview training, and they do not fully understand what is happening in their facility. This can lead to confusion and negative thoughts, taking away from the initiative’s progress. Good lean overview training per all personnel, including maintenance, can support a smoother transition.

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Continuous Improvement Specialist Brings Knowledge and Enthusiasm to IMEC Clients

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Jun 16, 2014 11:11:21 AM

Welcome the newest member of the IMEC team, CI specialist serving the Greater Chicagoland area...

Megan Falconer, a Technical Specialist with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, has four years of manufacturing experience as a Product Engineer, Materials Coordinator, Quality Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, and Process Engineer in both the steel and plastics industries.  APICS certified, Megan has also completed course work and training in Six Sigma Green Belt and lean tools and methodologies.

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Lean Six Sigma Specialist Brings Experience to IMEC Clients

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 19, 2014 9:10:38 AM

Welcome the newest member of the IMEC team, Lean Six Sigma Specialist serving northeast Illinois...

John Cosentino, a Technical Specialist with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, has 26 years of manufacturing experience as a Project/Program Manager, Operations Manager, Vice President of Operations, and Continuous Improvement Manager.  A Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Champion, John has also completed course work in Lean Tools and Methodology, Lean Accounting, and is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach.

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