May 1–4, 2022


Scottsdale, AZ

CI 22 / About

The 2022 Continuous Improvement Conference (May 1–4 in Scottsdale, Arizona) 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.

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Karl Wadensten

VIBCO Vibrators

Stuart MacDonald

Award-Winning Magician

Dave Macfarlane

President, IC Group

Katie Anderson

Katie Anderson Consulting

Wendi Breuer


Kyle Randels

Introduction to Lean

Process & Tools—Fundamental – 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 value-added vs. non-value-added activities, the eight wastes, about one-piece flow, Kanbans, point-of-use storage, quality at the source, batch reduction, teams, standardized work, workplace organization, and visual controls.
John Compton

Standard Work: What It Is, How to Create It, How to Improve It

Taiichi Ohno said it best: “Without standards, there can be no improvement.” Standard work is one of the foundation disciplines of lean and continuous improvement. It is the key to maintaining stability, reducing variation, solving problems and improving work processes. In this workshop participants will learn the principles and practices of creating standard work on the shop floor and how to use it as a basis for problem solving and improvement. Attendees will participate in a work activity simulation in which the application of standard work practices will be seen and experienced. Various types of standard work practices will
Jamie Parker

Leadership Skills for Engaging Employees in CI

Leadership and Culture – Do you lead your employees in a way that engages them in continuous improvement (CI)? If you’re not sure, sign up for this 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 frontline staff so CI thrives. She’ll show you how to get your frontline team to change old, unhelpful behaviors and adopt new behaviors that are needed to fuel your CI transformation. You’ll learn and practice the art of asking good coaching
Karl Wadensten

Practicing Lean from the Heart

Karl Wadensten shares his personal and professional journey to becoming a Lean Center & South leader of a globally recognized company. You will learn about his commitment to business growth and superior customer satisfaction through sustainability, U.S.-based supply chain excellence, Lean culture, and strengths-based organizational design. Karl offers his insight into overcoming leadership and organizational challenges to build a culture of improvement. He challenges attendees to think deeply about what transformation actually entails, and to remember that the driving force for any improvement effort MUST be aligned to a True North focused on adding value to the customer. He
Karl Wadensten and John Compton

Enhancing CI by Playing to Your Strengths

Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment (formerly StrengthsFinder) excels at revealing the top strengths of individuals (over 8,000 take the assessment daily). It is valuable for individuals to know their strengths, but equally valuable for companies to know and leverage different individual strengths. Hear how companies are benefitting from understanding the strengths of their employees and how you can do the same.
Shane Yount

Process-Based Leadership

Top performing companies devote enormous energy to three vital components: goals, people, and systems. Learn how to build and use non-negotiable processes to fully realize the potential of your workforce. These processes help to create a teamwork-driven culture of clear business focus, a sustained sense of urgency, and stronger team accountability. By utilizing Process Based Leadership®, attendees will be able to reinvent and sustain a successful culture.
Misael Cabrera

Leading a Lean Transformation In an Inhospitable Environment

Many leaders seek a process for rapid improvements, ignoring the transitory nature of such an effort. Some simply want to have "checked the box" that they have "done Lean" and move on. Rarely does a senior leader truly understand the full potential impact of a Lean management system and methodically pursues its adoption, especially in a government agency. The next time you wonder if it’s possible to transform your business and reap significantly higher performance, remember this presentation.
Tim Healey

Lean for the Front Office

Presentation description coming soon.
Ryan Feuquay

Internal Auditing as a CI Activity

Determining and documenting best work practices is hard work, sustaining and improving them is harder still. Which is why World Arts, a 50-person printing and fulfillment company in Spencer, Indiana, adopted an auditing approach it spotted in the medical device industry. An auditing team of individuals from different departments checks each major process to make sure that improvements are being captured and established practices followed. Find out how and why it works.
Greg Wright

Recovering from a Ransomware Attack with a CI Mindset

Imagine that ransomware has gotten into your computer system, encrypted files, and left ransom notes. You tell the criminals to pound salt, do your best to minimize impact on customers, and begin the painful recovery. That’s what Wright Global Graphics faced, and without a CI mindset 200 employees might have been out of work. Listen to the remarkable account of how Wright rebounded, the lessons it learned, and how the affair strengthened its commitment to continuous improvement.
Kyle Randels

Visual Management: Making the Abnormal Obvious

Visual management is about embedding critical information into the physical landscape of work so employees can tell everything simply by looking. It’s essential for Lean companies; in fact, there’s no workplace that visual management cannot make smarter, safer, faster, and more exact. A 30-year continuous improvement veteran will explain the basic definitions, principles, concepts, and tools that are at the foundation of a visual workplace and should be part of your improvement strategy.

Using TWI for Training and Retention

Training Within Industry was initially introduced during World War II to meet the high demand for wartime materials from a smaller and less-experienced workforce. It has continued to be used, and compliments Lean, because of its methodology that empowers the frontline. Our industry’s current situation with short staffing and inexperienced workers was the motivator for Worzalla, a major book manufacturer, to base its Worzalla Training System on TWI. The company reveals the structure of its new training system and why it has made a big difference.
Steve Carter

5S in a Digital World: File Management

Printers constantly suffer wasted time and materials. The 5S methodology is a structured approach to eliminating waste, becoming organized, quickly spotting abnormal conditions, and setting new standards. Even though mostly used in physical work areas, 5S can pay dividends anywhere, include in the digital sphere. Applying 5S to file management results in less time looking for files, potentially using the wrong file, losing files, creates an organizational system anyone can understand, and greatly reducing the potential of producing errors. Come learn about 5S and its application in an uncommon area.

CI Café

Join us for this fascinating interactive discussion of specific printing company scenarios. You’ll be on three different teams during the hour, discussing realistic company dilemmas.
Stuart MacDonald

The Magic of Lean and CI

Stuart MacDonald has a refreshing look at how to approach continuous Center & South improvement. He explains how he stumbled into the Lean culture at his former employer (a fortune 200 company). It trained their employees with mandatory classes that were incredibly immersive. This led Stuart to rethink his hobby, performing magic. He proposed a question to himself, “how can I apply Lean and CI to my magic and how far will that take me?” It took him pretty far. He went from a part-time, local magician to successfully competing on the Penn and Teller Fool Us TV show,
JC Wilkinson

Our Quest for Operational Excellence

Seeking excellence takes passion, new leadership approaches, a model to follow, and perseverance. That is precisely what is going on at Vivid Impact, a graphic communications company in Louisville, Kentucky with more than 150 team members. This is your chance to hear how a company has created an operational approach that puts it at the forefront of print manufacturers.
Jeff Ellington

No Room for Error: Our Lean and Bottom Up Strategy

Ensuring that the American voting process can be trusted is a big responsibility for Runbeck Election Services, which prints ballots and facilitates elections around the country. Any mistake brings glaring attention, such as one in 2014 that caused the company to reinvent itself. Culture, leadership, and Lean processes are now the foundations of the company. From the concept of “hansei” to fostering trust throughout the organization, the company has many aspects worth emulating.
Merl Miller

Embedding Ergonomics into Lean Manufacturing

Ergonomics and Lean manufacturing have different goals but complement each other. Improving performance by eliminating the risk of employee discomfort and injury should be considered whenever using Lean concepts to improve processes. Learn how to think like an ergonomics professional by identifying risk factors and investigating and developing solutions to minimize them. With a new ergonomic sensitivity, you’ll ensure that job instructions and procedures are developed with safety in mind.
Thomas Hollmann

Improving Customer Experience

Are you looking to identify and capture productivity and customer experience improvements, as well as embed a customer focus into the fabric of your organization? This session will provide you with tools to do that, including service blueprinting and a proven method to close troubling service gaps. Use a CI mindset to address the service-related reasons why customers opt to take their business elsewhere.
Bridget Freidel

Conducting Kaizen Events for Rapid Improvement

Kaizen events are short-term events in which a facilitator guides a team to improve an existing process. Organizations like Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Solutions will conduct these events regularly, since a good kaizen event can have significant impacts on efficiency, quality, safety, and shorter lead time. They require careful planning and skilled facilitation, however. This large book manufacturer describes how it chooses, organizes, and conducts its events incorporating the DMAIC strategy.
John Compton

Work and Waste: The Power of Observation

The goal of Lean thinking companies is to maximize customer value while minimizing the resources needed to do so. To accomplish this, the non-value creating activities and conditions must be identified and eliminated. This session focuses on learning to see the waste in any work activity. Examples of waste in printing companies will be shown and discussed, along with techniques for observing work activities and a hands-on demonstration. Strategies for minimizing wasteful activities will be offered.

CI Trivia

We’ve created our own trivia game to test your knowledge of continuous improvement. Join a team and see if you can claim the title of champion. Along the way you can’t help but have fun and expand your CI knowledge.

Takeaway Exchange

An interactive exchange of take-home ideas that pairs you with various attendees over an insight-filled hour.
Dave Macfarlane

Our Transformation: From 5S to Gemba Walks

The IC Group, a provider of print and marketing solutions, 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—have 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 through the pandemic.
Katie Anderson

Break the Telling Habit

It’s easy to believe that to be a great leader you have to be the expert in the room with all the answers. But what if that belief was not true? Many managers are good at solving problems. The problem is that they solve problems for others rather than developing the capability of team members to solve their own problems, and burdens the manager with the ownership of all the problems. Leaders need to learn to break their telling habit in order to solve more problems and engage their people. Doing so requires asking questions from a place of
Wendi Breuer

Purposeful Culture for High Performance

Despite a desire for high performance, few organizations in our industry excel at fostering the culture required to achieve it. Communication may not be open and consistent, corporate values and goals unclear, team spirit lacking, individuals not empowered to make decisions, and systematic training and development ignored. Learn how to avoid those pitfalls by hearing SeaChange’s story. The commercial printing company has been passionate about taking purposeful steps to create a culture that has allowed it to be recognized as one of the best workplaces, but also to grow at an impressive rate and stay at the forefront of


Misael Cabrera

Arizona Department of Environmental Services

Steve Carter

Mean Dad Consulting

John Compton

Compton & Associates

Jeff Ellington

Runbeck Election Services

Ryan Feuquay

World Arts, Inc.

Bridget Freidel

Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Solutions

Thomas Hollmann

Arizona State University

Merl Miller

Performance Ergonomics

Jamie Parker

Process + Results Leadership Coaching

Kyle Randels

Arizona Manufacturing Extension Partnership

JC Wilkinson

Vivid Impact Corporation

Greg Wright

Wright Global Graphics

Shane Yount

Competitive Solutions, Inc.

Platinum Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Media Partners

2022 Event Location

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley – Scottsdale
5401 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85250
Phone: 480-947-5400
Room rate: $149 plus tax
Hotel Website
Reservation Link

Hotel Reservations

Winner of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award, the DoubleTree Resort Paradise Valley – Scottsdale is located only minutes from downtown Scottsdale and 10 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. This 22-acre resort has a variety of leisure activities including two outdoor pools, a full health club & spa, a nine-hole putting green as well as tennis and racquetball courts. Refuel at the end of a busy day in one of our two dining options specializing in the flavors of the southwest. The DoubleTree Resort Paradise Valley is in the heart of Scottsdale where great dining, nightlife, and shopping await you just steps beyond the resort.

Conference attendees receive the discounted group rate of $149 + tax with no resort fee!  Make your hotel reservation online or call 480-947-5400, ask for reservations, and reference group code “CDTPUA.” The special rate is available until Sunday, April 10, 2022, though the room block may sell out before then. After April 10, the resort will accept reservations on a space-and-rate available basis.


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PRINTING United Alliance 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 PRINTING United Alliance staff.

COVID-Related Safety Information

Conference Safety

The safety and well being of our attendees, sponsors, and staff is the top priority of PRINTING United Alliance. We will follow all published rules and regulations, as well as venue protocols that are in effect at the time the event takes place. We will have masks available at the registration desk, and hand sanitizer both at the desk and in each meeting room.

View more about our health and safety policy.

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