Summary – Gemba Walk Network @ St. Vincent’s Hospital

The first meeting of the Gemba Walk Network took place at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, MA. on December 5, 2013.

Ironically, St. Vincent’s subject was their daily Gemba Walk.

Attending companies:

Baystate Health

Southworth Corp.

EIS Wire & Cable

North Amherst Motors

St. Vincent’s team does Gemba walks every day, going to see 24 different areas.  Each area quickly reports the status of their problems and improvement activities.  Our network attendees were very impressed by the process in; scope, inclusiveness and obvious leadership support and daily commitment.

We have several events upcoming for early 2014.  When I have the details I will let you know though this blog.

Thanks to the entire St. Vincent’s team for their good work and support of our fledgling network, as well as our guest/attendees.

Without hosts and guests we cannot go see, meet people, ask questions or develop helpful contacts.

Network meeting January 9, 2014 at Four Seasons Produce

Where – Four Seasons Produce, Inc. • 400 Wabash Road • P.O. Box 788 • Ephrata, PA 17522-0788, contact Erin Edwards 717-721-2737

When – Thursday January 9, 2014 Arrive 8:30am, meeting begins 9:00am to noon, 12:30 to 4pm Dwight will train on “Creating a Favorable Environment for Continuous Improvement”

What – Four Seasons deals with fresh produce, they have to be fast and they are.  The mornings tour and discussion will focus on how Four Seasons people create and sustain product and process velocity.

Who – 3 attendees per member company.  No opened toed shoes please.  You will need a jacket as we will tour some refrigerator units

Why– Our first visit to Four Seasons so everything will be new to us.  This is a large fast moving distribution and logistics business.  You will find it quite interesting.

Please register in advance for this event.  You can do so by using the comment field below to email me how many will be attending and their names.

Summary Network Meeting 11/7/13 at Restek

Our thanks to the Restek team for doing a great job as our host.

Learning points from the tour included some nice visuals and poka-yoke and a several opportunities for improvement.

Afternoon training focused on Lean Product Design.

Our next network meeting will be at Four Seasons Produce (the networks first opportunity to goo see their operations) Thursday 1/9/14.  The subject of the meeting will be “velocity”…..Four Seasons is all about velocity.   I will provide afternoon training, the subject has yet to be determined.




Rose Corp

Green Leaf Enterprises

Four Seasons Produce

Fenner Drive



Peiffer Machine

Philips Ultrasound


Next Network Meeting Thursday November 7, 2013 @ Restek

Where –Restek, 110 Benner Circle, Bellefonte, PA 16823
Phone: (814) 353-1300 ext 2473,  Brian Yangula

When – Thursday November 7, 2013 from 9am to 4pm

What –Arrival: 0900 – 0915
Brief Restek company overview & our lean journey to date – 0915-1000
Tour 1000-1130:
·         QC (test) – Product flow including kanban
·         Caging & Assembly – Their journey to Lean and 1 piece flow
·         Shipping/Warehouse – Beginning their journey and welcoming advice
Lunch (Restek will provide a pizza lunch) 1130-1300
Afternoon training 1300-1600

·     Dwight will provide afternoon training focused on “Lean Product Design”

Who –   3 persons per company
·         A visitor form will need to be filled out in advance (return to by end of 11-5-13) and an ID will need presented upon arrival
·         Long pants and closed toe shoes required
·         If you have safety glasses bring them. We will have some available.
·         No photos allowed. Ask us during the tour and we will obtain proper approval to fulfill requests

Why – See the progress Restek has made in the last year or for first time visitors go see a company aggressively embracing continuous improvement




To register email:

Thank you very much.

Summary Network Meeting 10/17/13 at Misco Products

Andrew Bishop (the facilitator) wrote:


A really good trip to gemba with Becky and Dave this morning.  There was a lot of give-and-take both on the shop floor and in post-tour debriefing:  good ideas in practice on display and problems identified.

In addition to Becky and Dave hosting, we had
Green Leaf:        3
Restek:                 3
Four Seasons     1
Rose Corp           2
I had fun and all the participants (including me) really benefited.

Good job Andrew, Becky, Dave, the Misco team and our attendees and thanks to all.

Next network meeting will be 11/7/13 at Restek.  Details to follow soon



Competing Meryl Runion Rose Interview


Today we have a real treat for you as Competing podcast’s guest is, Meryl Runion Rose.

I met Meryl at the 2011 Northeast Shingo Prize Conference, where, she and Mike Rother, provided one of the best training workshop I have ever witnessed.  “Kata Talk” focusing on language which supports continuous improvement’s respect for people and the process.

Meryl has written several books including two of my favorites:  “Speak Strong” and “Power Phrases” and regularly creates a stimulating blog: Lean2Life.  You can subscribe to Meryl’s blog at

This interview focuses on Meryl’s approach to communication and how many lean principles fit well into our daily lives.

Here is a link to the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Conferences (Nov 5 & 6 in Timonium Md.)


Improving the Improved


Mary Ann is one of the companies most aggressive and effective Kaizen practitioners. So it was quite disappointing when I found her very upset with Irv, her boss.  She told me when she suggested opportunities to improve the assembly cell she works in, Irv told her “come on Mary Ann, we just improved that (2 years prior) and exceeded all our goals…safety, quality, cost and delivery targets surpassed.  It is good enough now, maybe next year we can consider your ideas, but there is no time now, we are too busy to do that all over again.”  Mary Ann left this meeting in tears.  “They stopped caring” she said, I her mind, and perhaps in many other minds, the rhythm and practice of improvement was dead.

A very sad story.


What’s in a Name?

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This is the first installment of The LEAN Side,

William Shakespeare once said, “that which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” It was true way back then and still remains true today, but what does that have to do with LEAN Manufacturing or wire and cable? As it turns out, there’s a lot in a name, so I often wonder what someone was thinking when they decided to coin the phrase “LEAN Manufacturing” when referring to a continuous improvement program for manufacturing.

I mean sure, the most notable method to come along in decades for transforming an average company with increasingly competitive pressures into a force to be reckoned with, needed to be called something, but LEAN?

The word just doesn’t seem to give a good first impression, and Lord knows that if you’re going to introduce a methodology for changing the entire culture of the company, you’d better hope you make a good first impression.


First Gemba Walk Network Meeting Scheduled

Gemba Walk logo

Where?  St. Vincent’s Hospital, Worcester Medical Center, 123 Summer St, Worcester, MA 01608

Phone: (508) 363-5000

When? Thursday December 5, 2013, 8:00am to Noon

Who?  Businesses practicing lean/continuous improvement/business process excellence/ six-sigma etc.  NO CONSULTANTS PLEASE.  The maximum attendees we can accommodate comfortably is 15.  These spots will fill up quickly.  Registration is required, please email to register.
No opened toed shoes please.

Why?  To see, hear and learn.  Our objective is to leverage the collective knowledge, experience and motivation of the network to significantly improve the competitiveness and profitability of all our participating companies.

What? Our agenda

8:00 to 8:30:  Greet and Brief Intro
8:30 to 8:40:  Prep for the Gemba walk & Break into teams
8:40 to 9:45:  ‘Go see’ with our senior leadership team on their actual daily Gemba walk (about an hour).
9:45 to 10:00:   Break
10:00 to 10:30: Opportunity  to do a Q & A with the senior leadership regarding the GEMBA walk
10:30 to 11:30: We will present the components of the GEMBA board, successes and our training plan
11:30 to 12:00: Wrap-up



Dwight will be speaking at Tobyhanna Army Depot October 10, 2013 and the Mid-Atlantic Lean Conference in Maryland November 5 & 6, 2013


Tobyhanna Army Depot

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My presentation “Little by little one travels far”  will focus on keeping the momentum and sustaining continuous improvement.

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The Mid-Atlantic Lean Conference

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Link to MWCC site and registration


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My presentation “Nobody Cares” will focus on Management’s Responsibility to gain allies for continuous improvement