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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Northeast Lean Conference 2017 - Integration of Tools & Culture - Recap

GBMP hosted another wonderful Lean Conference in the Northeast. A great time to network with many passionate Lean practitioners.  This year's conference was about integration of tools and culture in Lean transformation. Successful Lean transformation requires a deep understanding of the technical side of Lean supported by a culture that favors human development and broad employee engagement.

But which comes first: culture or tools...?

Here are some take-aways from the conference:

Brian Wellinghoff, Director of the L3 Journey at Barry-Wehmiller, kicked off the conference by igniting trust through improvement. Barry-Wehmiller, discovered that the purely numerical approach used by many companies implementing Lean principles was not sufficient and recognized that people are the experts. It is leadership's responsibility to encourage, empower and equip them to make the changes that positively impact their work.

Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.

Paul Akers, President & Founder of Fastcap, shared his personal Lean Journey. Paul credits the astounding business growth to a fun, dynamic culture in which each employee puts into practice at least one two-second improvement per day.  He developed the culture by hiring the right people, relentlessly teaching and reinforcing the eight wastes in a daily morning meeting and empowering people to experiment and fail. And he has only one ground rule—keep Lean simple. 

Kim Hollon, President & CEO of Signature Healthcare, described the challenges that Signature has faced to create a culture of safety, and reflect on the leader’s role in the transformation. Highly reliable systems are a necessary but not nearly sufficient requirement for perfect patient safety.   Without an embedded culture of safety, systems can quickly become mere edifices, hiding traditional practices and behaviors.   The siloed, hierarchical structure of traditional hospitals place providers in stressful positions where it’s hard to confirm safety -- particularly in the critical handoffs between functions. A culture of transparency and open communication encourages behaviors that support the new systems. 

Karl Wadensten, President of Vibco, ended the conference with a discussion on what he call "re-entry to work." You've been inspired and re-energized and you heard lots of great ideas to make the Lean initiative where you work more successful. But how do you make sure the conference experience doesn’t end once you return home and put away the suitcase. Karl shared his ideas to share your new knowledge and outline a plan of action.

The conference was a wonderful experience.  Great opportunity to network and learn from other Lean practitioners. I highly recommend this conference because the value is unsurmounted. 

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