The Importance of Supervisors in the Manufacturing Industry

A production supervisor has perhaps one of the most difficult and thankless jobs in a factory. I learned firsthand one summer as an intern at a GM Factory in Saginaw, Michigan, where I filled in for vacationing supervisors. There I was, a 21-year-old college kid supervising a bunch of grizzled workers. It was daunting at…

Read More

Lean and Operational Excellence in the BBQ Pit

Lean Operational Excellence Easy as BBQ

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…

Read More

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

Finding Grace in Details

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More