— Insights From The Factory Fixer —

Blog Posts

Lean Operational Excellence Easy as BBQ

Lean and Operational Excellence in the BBQ Pit

Over the past couple of years, BBQ cooking has become a hobby for me. I enjoyed watching BBQ Pitmasters on TV and it led to the purchase of a wood smoker to do low-and-slow barbecue. After a lot of experimenting, I’ve developed some decent tried-and-true recipes, but I wanted to learn how to move beyond…

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Three Things to Help Drive Successful Sale

The Three Key Things for an Old-Fashioned Sale

I often find inspiration for business and life lessons in my everyday surroundings. For example, I have a cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. It’s a great retreat for my family because the area is both beautiful and quiet, and the fall colors were amazing this past weekend. We have some modern luxuries, like indoor plumbing and…

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Executing Business Plans with Precision

The Wedding Planner: Executing With Precision in Business and in Life

I’ll probably get lambasted for mining my daughter’s wedding for business lessons, but I can’t help myself. When I was first learning about Lean 20 years ago, I remember sitting in church saying to myself, “I bet I could double the throughput of people through this church without people missing a single bit of the…

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Finding Grace in Details

Finding Grace in the Details: Become a Master of Your Operation

I’ve always been fascinated with heavy equipment. I suppose it started with my Tonka trucks in the sandbox. To this day, I can watch a backhoe in action with no small degree of amazement. In the hands of an experienced operator, this hunk of metal, cylinders and hydraulic fluid becomes a work of grace and…

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Bolstering Your Workforce Through Strategic Planning

Bolstering Your Workforce Through Strategic Planning

“We’re having a hard time finding workers.” That’s something heard from nearly every manufacturer in the U.S. When I visit with clients, I hear the lamentations about the school system pushing everyone to a four-year degree, the challenge of millennials, the perception of manufacturing going to China, and the evolution of teens migrating from working…

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Turning Anxiety into Fear: Leadership Through Change

When leading disruptive change, a leader’s job is to turn our employee’s anxiety into fears.  This statement may sound unconventional, or even provocative, but I’ve found it to be true. What’s the difference between anxiety and fear? Fear has an object. You’re afraid of something. Anxiety is a concern about the unknown. It often involves your brain…

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Five Mindsets for the Lean Manufacturing Leadership Team

Leadership is commonly cited as a primary driver of successful lean manufacturing implementations. It’s hard to argue with that since the leadership team owns all the results of the company. However, it begs the question: What exactly is senior leadership supposed to do? I’ve found there are five keys mindsets senior leaders must have to…

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Leading People Forward: Go Backwards First

Good leaders look to the future. They have a firm grasp of the where they want to go, and they’ve developed a roadmap to get there.  With the new plan in hand, they pull everyone together to walk them through the vision for the future.  They’re full of hope, and energy and enthusiasm for the…

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