Continuous Improvement Thought Leaders & Practitioners Converged on Worcester for the Eighth Annual Northeast Shingo Prize Conference

Top Quote More than 600 attendees gathered at the eighth annual Northeast Shingo Prize Conference to exchange proven methods for achieving operational excellence through the use of Lean Manufacturing philosophy and methodology. End Quote
  • Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA (1888PressRelease) October 11, 2012 - During the 2-day conference, which was held September 25-26, 2012 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, industry leaders and lean implementers furthered their continuous improvement knowledge and skills and networked with others passionate about achieving operational excellence.

    The event attracted company owners, CEO's, continuous improvement leaders, operations managers, human resource professionals, doctors, hospital administrators, manufacturing engineers and more to exchange ideas in an intimate environment. Industries represented included manufacturing, health/medical, retail, distributors, academia, government, insurance and more. Attendees learned from industry experts and their peers, attending four keynotes, networking in the Lean Lounge and choosing from 45 breakout sessions. The event delivered practical information, diverse opinions and a breadth of knowledge, all with an emphasis on useful application.

    GBMP (the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership) organizes the annual regional conference to bring people together for unparalleled learning and sharing opportunities. Internationally-recognized industry experts shared business strategies, educated and inspired attendees, and regional lean implementers shared first-hand accounts and case studies of their implementations - obstacles overcome, milestones achieved and how. Hands-on workshops in Standardized Work and A3 Team Problem Solving, and the Community of Lean Lounge rounded out the program, the theme of which was "Learning to Share".

    "Attending the Northeast Shingo Prize Conference is the best way for anyone passionate about lean to learn from others, benchmark their own efforts, and discover new tools to use on their path to operational excellence," commented one attendee.

    Conference highlights included an opening keynote by James Womack; author of the book The Machine That Changed the World, which made the term lean production known worldwide. Lean production considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Japanese manufacturing industry, specifically the Toyota Production System (TPS), as well as the works of Frank Gilbreth, W. Edward Demings and Henry Ford.

    Billy Taylor, Director of Commercial Manufacturing for Goodyear's North American tire division roused the crowd with his presentation "The Four Imperatives of Great Leaders", as did Professor Barry Bluestone's report on "Massachusetts' Manufacturing Renaissance". Other notable presentations included Harry Kenworthy's discussion of "Creating a Successful and Sustainable Lean Culture" and Beth Kerr's session on improving the odds in managing change. Additional popular topics included "Workplace Motivation and the Role of Leadership during the Change Process" presented by John Broderick, "Hoshin - Understanding the Value Proposition" by Melinda Gregston of Halliburton, and an encouraging talk by Eric Dickson (President of UMass Memorial Medical Group) about lean leadership lessons from healthcare. Other notable presentations were given by Mark Graban, Beau Keyte, Gwendolyn Galsworth and Russ Scaffede.

    For the fourth consecutive year, The Community of Lean Lounge enabled companies to showcase their achievements in lean - whether by sharing specific implementations of best practices or overall lean policy and deployment, and obstacles overcome, results achieved and how they are sustaining their improvements. Yokoten is the practice of peer-to-peer sharing, copying and implementing of kaizen ideas, either exactly or with customized improvements and it's a good thing! This year, The Community of Lean Lounge featured representatives from 15 regional companies, among them Hasbro, St. Vincent's Hospital, Ruger, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Superior Tube, and Connecticut Spring and Stamping.

    The conference included tabletop and sponsor displays by The 5S Store, Fastenal, Visual Workplace, Gibson Engineering, Stiles Associates, Tax Credit Advisors, Fuss & O'Neill and AIT.

    During the conference, GBMP honored a record 19 nominees for the Silver Toaster Award for Employee Excellence in Lean and awarded the prize to Michael Fitzgerald of Ophir Optics in Andover, Massachusetts.

    Preparations are already underway for the ninth annual Northeast Shingo Conference scheduled for September 2013 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "True North," an idiom that emerged from Toyota twenty years ago, connotes the compass for Lean transformation, a set of guiding principles that give purpose and direction to the technical aspects of operational excellence. Two decades later, while many organizations have gained a modest benefit from Lean technical improvements, the power of True North principles has eluded them. Most have hit plateaus well below their potentials, unable to sustain improvement and receive the full benefits of Lean transformation. But few organizations outside of Toyota have emerged as True North beacons; companies that have learned Lean tools are necessary, but not sufficient to create sustainable improvement. The 2013 Northeast region Shingo Prize Conference will focus on successful application of True North principles, bringing together managers, shop floor teams, and industry experts from these successful North American lean transformations to share their True North success stories - the obstacles they faced in setting a new course to world class and the success they gather once on course.

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