The 2020 Conference has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will next be held April, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio.


April 5–8, 2020


Columbus, OH

CI 20 / About

The 2020 Continuous Improvement Conference (April 5–8 in Columbus, Ohio) is the only annual event focused on helping custom manufacturers such as printing and converting companies achieve operational excellence by using the concepts of Lean manufacturing and other management and quality systems. Year after year attendees directly link reduced costs, lowered waste, and increased profit margins to ideas gained from conference presentations and networking.

Whether you’re starting a structured improvement program, or are looking for ways to sustain and improve your existing efforts, the conference has content specifically designed for your knowledge level.

Read more.


John Compton

Lean 101

A Lean organization understands customer value and focuses key processes to continually meet those needs with the least amount of resources. In this workshop, attendees will receive foundational knowledge of Lean manufacturing concepts and tools. The training combines a classroom setting with hands-on simulation. The simulation gives participants the opportunity to manufacture products in a simulated factory and see the benefits of Lean manufacturing firsthand. Participants will learn about one-piece flow, cellular production, pull and Kanbans, point-of-use storage, quick changeover, quality at the source, batch reduction, teams, standardized work, workplace organization, and visual controls. Each concept will build an individual’s ability to identify and eliminate manufacturing waste.
Michael Maxon

Value Stream Mapping

This is the class to get your Lean journey moving! Value stream mapping is a tool that will allow you to see how work moves through your facility. You’ll learn how to construct a current state map that captures not only the flow of work, but information such as inventory, process times, and setup times. Mapping will allow you to compare production lead-time to processing time. After the current state is established, the workshop will focus on how to “Lean out” a value stream. In the case study, attendees will apply guidelines to create a future state map. Finally, developing an implementation plan is covered so you’ll know how and where to begin improving a value stream.
Jamie Parker

Leadership Skills for Engaging Employees in CI

Do you lead your employees in a way that engages them in continuous improvement (CI)? If you’re not sure, sign up for this highly-interactive workshop. Taught by an accomplished speaker and consultant with plenty of hands-on managerial experience, Jamie explains how to bring Respect for People to life in a way that engages the front-line staff so CI thrives. She’ll show you how to get your front-line team to change old, unhelpful behaviors and adopt new behaviors that are needed to fuel your CI transformation – without reverting to command and control management. In addition, you and your fellow attendees will demonstrate the importance that active listening has on driving connection and building aligned, committed action.
Mike Hoseus

How to Create a System of People Willing and Able to Solve Problems

Many companies embarking on a Lean journey become frustrated with kaizen events and isolated improvement projects that yield great short-term results but have limited sustainability.  They are searching for something more: the culture of continuous improvement with its philosophy, processes, and people aligned to cultivate problem solving.  Aligning your organization around purpose within a Lean leadership system can leverage the power of the entire organization, not just a few leaders. Learn how to use the Lean work system and its process to create a management development system for your company that will engage leaders daily at all levels to develop your people as problem solvers. This presentation will describe how to create a system of people who are willing and able to solve problems.
Robert Mele

The Strength of a Three-Braided Cord: Employees, Lean Processes, and Customers

Typically companies that are growing look for capacity during a growth cycle and productivity during a down cycle. Often they miss at least one of the three enablers for success—drawing their employees into the discussion, having a laser focus on continuous improvement, or capturing a reliable and repeatable voice of the customer to drive change. When leaders can align these three powerful engines, the success and implementation rates are exponentially greater and highly sustainable.
Devin Halliday

Unlock the Power of Belonging to Deliver Exceptional Outcomes

Diversity brings more people to the table. Inclusion ensures everyone is given the opportunity to share their voice. But there's another factor that elevates an organization's culture to become consistently high-performing and top-talent retaining. That factor is belonging. In this interactive, participation-driven presentation, Devin illustrates the five factors that enable leaders and organizations to inspire loyalty, build community, and grow profits. As a participant, you'll take back to your organization the steps to build a sense of belonging in what Devin calls the Influence Axis—people, process, and brand.
Mike Dye

Gaining Traction with EOS and CI

The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a set of simple concepts and practical tools that have helped entrepreneurs hone their corporate vision, improve day-to-day execution on that vision, and have a cohesive and healthy leadership team. EOS was popularized in a 2007 book by Gino Wickman and, especially when paired with a CI mindset, has proven tremendously effective with driving business success. Mike Dye, who provides guidance to franchise owners across six marketing and print brands, explains EOS and how it complements CI efforts. You'll learn about the experience of an Alliance Franchise Brands’ company owner who has been using EOS and a business system that uses CI as a foundation.
Tracy Owens

The Fastest Speedboat

In the 2006 book Innovation Games, author Luke Hohmann introduced a dozen useful idea generation and problem resolution activities that can be used for market research and product development. One of these games that we have enjoyed using is Speedboat, and we have adapted it for additional utility… for more speed, you might say. Our version of Speedboat comprises elements of four additional trusted quality tools: Fishbone, Affinity Diagram, Force Field Analysis, and Interrelationship Diagram. Practice the deployment of this expanded Speedboat game in our workshop and then take it back to your organization to accelerate idea generation and give the project team a head start toward success.
Bruce Hamilton

Lean Policy Deployment

Most organizations can develop a long list of things of things that are either broken or in need of improvement. However, it’s not so easy to decide which to do first and which to put aside. Policy deployment is about surfacing and prioritizing the many improvements you could make to a short, doable list. It’s also about linking your strategy to tactical plans and even daily activities and creating a balance between daily work and improvement. And it’s about sharing and aligning your scarce resources to achieve improvement faster and avoid project overload. Learn the critical points of every key step in the process and use them to assure that your organization’s vision for the future is understood by all and is not just management’s wishful thinking.
Leslie Pickering

Powerful Tools for Expanding Your Lean Implementation

Drawing from advanced Lean manufacturing techniques typically seen in the automotive and aerospace industries, Les will reveal how to use some of those same techniques and solutions in the world of printing and converting. He will discuss how a handful of package converters have constructed and are using Obeya (war) rooms, to promote collaboration, problem solving, and continuous improvement. The rooms use a variety of visual communication tools to give managers and supervisors a clear understanding of what is currently happening and what steps are being taken to become better. Also being explored will be the method of using KamishiBai Cards (story cards), a Lean technique for auditing and checking processes. Les will share some of the best practices he has discovered while working with sophisticated converters across three continents and 17 countries, all in packaging. Even advanced companies will able to take away some new ideas.
Tim Riecke

How to Get Started on your CI Journey

Companies often decide to embark on a Lean/continuous improvement initiative without anyone on staff who has implementation experience. If this is true of your company, a veteran of multiple CI implementations will show you how to get your initiative off to a solid start. He’ll cover essentials for success: sustaining momentum by communicating why, integrating the company’s mission, objectives, and key performance indicators, involving everybody every day, and ensuring key initiatives stay aligned with the true North direction of the company. Whether you are a top executive or a Lean practitioner hired to implement your program, this presentation will help you ensure long-term success and avoid a potentially disastrous false start.
Chris Winder

Implementing 5S

5S is one, if not the, most important Lean tools. Why? What is so important about 5S that it drives Lean manufacturing cultures globally? Find out the key benefits for the printing industry and how to convert your company to implement 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain). Find out that there is more than putting pretty yellow lines on the floor and how 5S impacts efficiency, quality, teambuilding, and morale. This tutorial will review the steps associated with each of the 5S elements and share real-life experiences from starting a program. If you plan to foster a Lean mindset, this is the baseline tool you must employ.
Jeff Spain

The Human Side of Lean: Why the Soft Skills Matter

Simply stated, the “people side” of Lean will always trump the “tool side.” For a successful implementation, leaders must gain trust and respect from workers by fostering their development and by walking the Lean walk. As the founder of Toyota famously wrote: “People are the most important asset in your organization and they are the determinant of the rise and fall of it”. This session explores how leaders should address aspects of Lean and corporate culture that impact people's attitudes.
Adriane Harrison

Best Habits of Best Workplaces

The printing industry celebrates companies with outstanding human relations practices with the Best Workplace in the Americas awards program. These companies use best practices that align with Continuous Improvement principles. Learn how to build a great company culture and HR practices as part of your CI strategies.
John Schaffner

Coaching Millennials

The millennial generation—those born between 1982 and 2004—will soon make up 50% of the workforce. Millennials have a reputation as innovative, tech-savvy thinkers who are eager, even impatient, to succeed. Studies reveal that they look to their managers for their personal development and want more frequent feedback than they currently receive. An expert on the subject explains how to unlock the potential of your millennial employees and give them the coaching they crave.
Missy Gieselmann

Atomic Habits

This year’s official conference book (sent to all early registrants) explores a topic central to continuous improvement—building better habits. Published in 2018, Atomic Habits by James Clear has already been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for the better part of a year. Everyone knows that change comes in small steps, but the book offers strategies to avoid failure and temporary gains and instead make sustainable, lasting changes. Atomic Habits applies to becoming more efficient in business, but the strategies and lessons equally apply to personal improvement (exercising, spending money, etc.). We’ll review Clear’s Four Laws of Behavioral Changes and discuss the application of his strategies to establishing a CI culture.
Karen Martin

Choose to Be Outstanding

Discover the essential ingredients that drive exceptional performance with this keynote based on Karen’s award-winning book, The Outstanding Organization. Learn how to strip away unnecessary complexity to enable the levels of performance and innovation that make an organization truly outstanding Proven, practical, and surprisingly simple, Karen’s system focuses on four key behaviors for excellence—clarity, focus, discipline, engagement—that, once instilled into a company’s DNA, open the door to sustainable growth, profit, and a deeply engaged workforce. Drawn from her latest book, Clarity First, she’ll also explain the critical need for clarity and how to use it to innovate at higher levels and problem solve more effectively.
Josh Springer

Steroids, SWAT Teams, and the American Dream

Several years ago, with growing frustration about the chaotic nature of his business, Josh took the definition of insanity to heart and remade himself as a leader, transforming the company through Lean concepts. Team members now spend their time thinking like process engineers and this manufacturer of innovative beer dispensing equipment (Bottoms Up Beer) thrives from the power of everyday improvement. Because of the discipline instilled by its Lean approach, the company culture is creative, collaborative, fun, and free. Come learn what it takes to unlock the collective genius of team members.
Moderator: Jim Workman-Printing Industries of America

Print Executives Talk CI

Believing in the philosophy of continuous improvement is the easy part; overcoming inertia, employee cynicism, and day-to-day pressures to put CI concepts into practice requires real commitment. Our panelists reveal why their companies made CI a business imperative and how they are transforming corporate behaviors. You’ll hear about obstacles faced, lessons learned, and measuring CI’s impact. Find out how these companies are accelerating their rate of improvement and benchmark your progress against theirs.
Karen Martin

Advanced Problem Solving

For leaders seeking to improve operations, the ultimate goal is to develop a problem-solving culture that touches upon all aspects of the organization. This session focuses on the questions that you need to ask to drive deeper critical thinking, better problem breakdown, and better root cause analysis. Further, Karen will show you how to sell the need for solving a problem in the first place. She’ll address the multiple hats a problem solver wears and the organizational mindsets that are critical for good problem solving. Even if you have good problem solving skills yourself, this session will help you spread that know-how to others.
Ken Macro

Industry 4.0 = Lean 2.0 + AI 2.0

Industry 4.0 is described as the fourth industrial revolution and it includes artificial intelligence (AI). However, how does Lean fit into the prescribed model? And how does industry adapt to the coming changes? In this session we’ll gain a further understanding into Industry 4.0 and where we, as an industry, sit within its forecasted evolution. We will look at how AI and automation will affect (or not affect) the future of our businesses and, most importantly, how our Lean and continuous improvement efforts will remain relevant. Come to this session to engage in a conversation about the future and gain introspection in the unforeseen world of AI and automation as it heralds a new era in our industry.
John Compton

The 12 Most Spoken Words in a CI-Oriented Company

The conversations heard in printing companies where continuous improvement is effectively practiced seem to have a lot in common. There are several words that keep appearing and reappearing in those conversations, so much so that it’s quite easy to create a list of them. These words are used because they’re drawn from the core principles of Lean management and manufacturing as well as operational excellence. This session describes these words, and more importantly, why and how they’re used. How many do you know and how do you use them?
Steve Anzalone

Three Metrics You Need to Improve Customer Satisfaction and Operational Effectiveness

While there is great interest in continuous improvement (CI) in the printing and graphic arts industry, most small companies struggle to implement Lean manufacturing and CI initiatives. In this session we will explore three key metrics that will allow companies of all sizes to simply and effectively get started on their journey toward improved customer satisfaction and operational effectiveness.
Krista Morrissey

Coaching a CI Champion To Success

Having helped start Quad/Graphics’ CI program back in the 1980s, one of Morrissey’s important roles became advising and coaching CI managers who were responsible for conducting kaizen events and spreading CI thinking across Quad’s many divisions. As her coaching skill increased, so did key division metrics and the ability to sustain gains. Krista reveals not only what she learned about coaching CI staff members, but also what separated top performing CI personnel from mediocre performers and how she persuaded managers to support the company’s CI strategy.
Travis Russell

Our Quest for Operational Excellence

Creating real change in an organization requires that you change people’s habits and behaviors, the sum of which is your culture. Getting employees to think and act differently is the key. Hear the story of how manufacturer US Synthetic developed a change management approach that not only helped it win the Shingo Prize, the world's highest standard for operational excellence, but also created a continuous improvement culture that has driven consistently good results.
Dave Macfarlane

Our Transformation: From 5S to Gemba Walks

The IC Group is one of the largest privately-owned providers of marketing solutions in the intermountain west, currently employing 150 team members. Under Dave’s leadership the company has been harnessing the power of continuous improvement and technical innovation to reduce waste, meet stringent service requirements, and focus on customer-defined value. Many Lean tools are in use, and the latest to be introduced—daily Gemba walks—has proven effective in improving team communications and solving problems before they snowball and impact customers. Hear about the progress and challenges as IC Group continues its Lean journey.
David Veech

The Idea Farm

Change is sweeping through organizations at an exciting and challenging pace. Those who can’t embrace this or build resilient systems will suffer in many ways. Building resiliency skills in the workplace is the best preparation for any kind change. To build these skills, you’ll need a system of structures that allow ideas to surface and then flourish through collaborative refinement that leads to more ideas.  In short, what you’ll need is an idea farm.

CI Speakers

Steve Anzalone

Anzalone Advisors, LLC

John Compton

Compton & Associates

Dean DeMarco

IDL Print

Mike Dye

Alliance Franchise Brands

Missy Gieselmann

Wikoff Color

Devin Halliday

Rudiment Solutions LLC

Adriane Harrison

Printing Industries of America

Mike Hoseus

Center for Quality People & Organizations (CQPO)

Dave Macfarlane

President, IC Group, Inc.

Ken Macro

California Polytechnic State University

Karen Martin

TKMG, Inc.

Michael Maxon

Duggan Associates

Robert Mele

OpEx Accelerated

Krista Morrissey

CHOICES Coaching & Consulting

Tracy Owens

3 Point Consulting Ltd.

Jamie Parker

Process + Results Leadership Coaching

Leslie Pickering

Quadrant 5 Consulting

Tim Riecke

Ardent Mills

Travis Russell

US Synthetic

John Schaffner

The Ohio State University

Jeff Spain

Columbus State Community College

Josh Springer

GrinOn Industries

Tom Staib

DWS Printing Associates

Jim Tomblinson

Modern Litho

David Veech

D. Veech & Company

Chris Winder

Supplier Six Sigma

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2020 Event Location

Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel
50 North Third Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 228-5050
Hotel Website
Make online reservations here!

Hotel Reservations

The Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city, just steps from the historic German Village, and in close proximity to the Ohio Theatre, Columbus Convention Center and Ohio State University. Enjoy its eclectic mix of unique guest experiences, signature services, local artwork and upscale accommodations during your stay. The spacious guest rooms feature contemporary style, luxurious bedding and deluxe amenities. Unwind in the rooftop pool and bar – the perfect urban retreat. Feast on farm-to-table American cuisine with an Ohio flair at Latitude 41, a Dean James Max destination restaurant. Gather with fellow attendees at its casually sophisticated Bar 41.

Registered conference attendees have access to the special conference hotel rate of $154 single/double. The special conference rate is available until Friday, March 13, 2020, though the block may sell out prior to that date. After March 13, the hotel will accept reservations on a space-and-rate available basis only.

To make your reservation, please contact the hotel directly at (614) 228-5050 and use conference code Continuous. One night’s room and tax will be charged to guarantee the reservation. You may cancel the reservation 72 hours prior to arrival without penalty.

John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) is 18 miles from the hotel. Taxi/Uber/Lyft will be $15-30. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has AirConnect bus service between the airport and downtown for only $2.75. There is a stop less than a block from the hotel. If you plan to drive, valet parking is available at the group discount rate of $18/night.


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Printing Industries of America is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability or physical appearance. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants, speakers, or guests in any form. Conference participants violating these rules may be expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the PIA staff.

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