The Improvement Kata
Sammy Obara, President, Honsha Associates
How do companies change the way its employees think? By changing the way its leaders think and behave. Toyota has succeeded in doing this, in part, because of their devotion to a coaching “kata.” In Japan, kata originally meant a detailed and choreographed pattern of movements that prepared one for self-defense and hunting. Kata has since come to describe any precise routine that is practiced so much it becomes habit forming. In the case of businesses, kata can be applied to problem solving and other CI-related activities. A former Toyota manufacturing executive will explain not only the efforts that Toyota goes through in creating and sustaining its continuous improvement culture, but also the types of kata that its leaders are expected to perfect. Gain insight into effective improvement habits and take away a few immediate actions that can begin to change the mindset of leaders in your organization, and subsequently of the entire organization.
Sammy learned and implemented the Toyota Production System (TPS) at Toyota facilities in Japan, Brazil, Venezuela and the United States. He has taught Lean to a multitude of consulting firms, educational organizations such as Harvard and Stanford, and even in humanitarian missions through Asia and Africa. With 35 years of Lean experience, he has helped more than 450 companies. These include TPS projects in environments ranging from schools to hospitals to military and many others and in a variety of countries, including China, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Austria, the U.K., and the U.S. He currently aids companies implementing Lean through his non-profit company, Honsha Associates.
How to Lead with Respect
Mike Orzen, Founder, Mike Orzen & Associates
Building a great organization requires effective leadership. A key element that is often misunderstood is what it means to lead with respect. This involves awareness of a leader’s focus and intention, and how well the leader connects with people to create an environment of mutual trust and sustained high levels of performance. This is accomplished through the application of seven core practices. We’ll explore why leading with respect is essential in a successful transformation, what respect looks like in practice, the seven core practices, and how they impact people to drive lasting change for the better.
With a consulting and coaching career spanning more than 20 years, Mike Orzen has collected a unique blend of Lean, Six Sigma, finance, IT, and operations insights that he uses to help organizations in their pursuit of Enterprise Excellence. He has been plant manager and has spearheaded strategic planning and project management office practices in several organizations. Mike’s experience includes systems design, enterprise-wide project management, and large-scale roll out of Lean initiatives in global companies as guide and coach. His company, Mike Orzen & Associates, helps companies respectfully engage people, improve business process capability, and leverage information technology to drive a culture of operational excellence. He is coauthor of the award-winning book Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Enterprise.
Our Quest for Operational Excellence
Dan Vermeesch, Plant Manager, Micron Manufacturing Company
Shingo Prize-winning organizations demonstrate a culture where principles of operational excellence are deeply embedded into the thinking and behavior of all leaders, managers, and associates. Among the principles they demonstrate: respect every individual, assure quality at the source, focus on process, and create constancy of purpose. This is your chance to hear how one recipient company has created an operational approach that puts it at the forefront of manufacturers around the globe.
As the Lean champion and plant manager at Micron Manufacturing Company, Dan led the company’s Lean transformation, which began in 2000. In 2009, Micron was awarded the Shingo Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence—the smallest family-owned manufacturer on the planet to receive such recognition to that point. In 2013, Micron was recognized as one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch. For the past several years Dan has served as a director on the board of the Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC) or as an advisor to its president. Despite all of the above, Dan learned everything he knows about Lean, management, and leadership while growing up in the potato fields of the family farm.
How a Suggestion System Changed Our Company
Doug Rawson, CEO, and Jeff Ku, Vice President of Operations, Superior Lithographics
Six years ago, Superior Lithographics transitioned away from a traditional “top down” managed organization to one centered on employee empowerment and continuous improvement. Its ability to capture employee ideas for improvement was a pivotal part of the transition. To date, over 1,300 employee ideas have been implemented. Superior’s CEO and operations head explain the development of the system, its costs and rewards, and how they overcame early resistance and persevered. There have been huge improvements in production processes and workflow, but the biggest change from the system is in the company’s culture—people feel better about themselves and are diligently working to making Superior a better supplier to its customers.
Doug Rawson is the founder and CEO of Superior Lithographics. He is a recognized industry expert with 30+ years of experience in package printing— specifically folding carton and litho-laminated corrugated boxes. Doug has guided the company’s growth with a deep understanding in both the technical and business aspects of the company. Seven years ago his company embraced Lean, and they continue to use both the tools and culture to drive customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
Jeff Ku joined Superior Lithographics right out of college and was tasked to introduce Lean Manufacturing to the company. Jeff believes in the importance of a unified culture and together with the leadership team’s support, slowly transformed the company vision and values to one which all employees are proud of today. In 2017, Superior was named one of the Best of the Best Workplaces by Printing Industries of America and continues the Lean journey in order to directly impact people’s happiness at work.
Connecting with People through Purpose and Character
Tony Bridwell, Chief People Officer, Ryan LLC
Today there appears to be a subtle drift as to how people, in general, understand leadership. The confusion stems from two opposing points of view regarding what it means to be a leader. On one side is the idea of “Forced-Authority”; on the other, “Authentic-Influence.” In the multi-generational workforce of today, leaders should be equipped to not only engage the hands and feet of their people but, more importantly, engage the hearts and minds through Authentic-Influence. Tony gives insight into how to connect with your employees in a meaningful way and offers specific actions to help you elevate your leadership influence.
Tony leads human resources for Ryan, a leading global tax services firm. with more than 30 years of experience he is a recognized thought leader in corporate culture, learning and development, and human resources. His experience includes serving as senior partner and practice leader for the leadership and accountability training and consulting firm, Partners in Leadership, and as chief people officer for Brinker International, a prominent casual dining restaurant company. He is the author of three books: The Difference Maker: A Simple Fable about Making A Difference In The Life Of Others; The Kingmaker: A Leadership Story of Integrity and Purpose; and The Newsmaker: A Leadership Story of Honor and Love.