Breakout Sessions, April 13-14

Deciphering the Multi-Generational Work Force

  • Presenter: Marc Ankerman, senior lecturer of management and human resources, Fisher College of Business
  • Level: Beginner
  • Recommended audience: Any industry, any level
  • Each new generation has its own rules for communication – and a widening age gap in the work force means more and more of those reside under one roof. We might get the message, but it’s coded, unclear, or difficult to understand. More than ever, we need the tools and techniques to navigate the diverse work force of today in order to improve communication and ensure progress isn’t lost in the generational gap. In this session, Ankerman offers up a toolkit to “DECIFER” the business landscape and emerge well-equipped to communicate across generations X, Y, Z – and whatever’s next.

Process Innovation: Managing the Leap From Incremental to Radical

  • Presenter: Aravind Chandrasekaran, associate professor of management sciences, Fisher College of Business
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Product development teams
  • In a perfect world, all projects would cross the finish line with the scope and budget envisioned early on in strategic planning efforts. Today’s rapidly evolving trends in customer demands and technology, however, can require drastic changes in the product development cycle – and companies that miss these cues and mismanage the shift can face consequences ranging from delays to market failure. In this session, Prof. Chandrasekaran draws from years of research with high-tech companies to offer up three key capabilities rooted in lean management principles that can help any organization smoothly manage project shifts. Attendees will be able to evaluate their own organization’s process innovation capability and have actionable steps for improving it.

Fueling the Transformation: Leveraging Leader Standard Work to Sustain Op-Ex Gains

  • Presenter: Nikola Cica, director of performance excellence, Mount Carmel Health System
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Any industry, front-line to mid-level managers, team leaders
  • Organizations implementing operational excellence often succeed at rolling out lean tools but have a difficult time in changing leadership behaviors to properly maintain a lean management system.  It is crucial for leaders to instill their standard work practices in their role in order to sustain and improve processes.   In this session, Nik Cica draws from his extensive experience in the manufacturing and health-care sectors to outline the four key elements of leader standard work. Attendees will work individually and in groups to assess their own capabilities and opportunities, ultimately leaving with a draft of their own standard work for leaders (SWL).

Lean in Support Functions:  Deploying a Company-wide Strategy of Excellence

  • Presenter: Catherine Converset, Managing Partner, Productivity Group Europe, Productivity Inc.
  • Level: Beginner
  • Recommended audience: VP Operations, VP Marketing, VP Human Resources, Heads of Department, Managers, Lean Managers
  • Leaders realize that a holistic operational excellence effort – bringing lean techniques to all facets of the business -- is necessary to create long-term competitive advantage. To that end, it is imperative that all company and organizational functions challenge their processes and their way-of-working to focus on customer requirements, increase the speed of response, and eliminate quality variability. This company-wide effort requires a strategic intent, changes in leadership and management roles, organizational changes and a customized roadmap built around a few key principles. In this case-based presentation, Catherine will follow one organization’s journey – from issues to outcomes – applying the principles of Operational Excellence to corporate functions and processes (Marketing, Quality, R&D, HR, Sales and Finance). She will present the benefits obtained in every department and the overall company impacts, the key success factors and the difficulties. She will also explain the leadership and management changes that have been implemented and the challenges for long term sustainability.

Beyond the Resume: Skills That Matter in Today's Work Force

  • Presenter: Steve DeNunzio, senior lecturer, Fisher College of Business; fmr. executive, lululemon athletica
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Managers / leaders involved in hiring decisions, team leaders, human resources employees
  • Mix a large work-force generation gap with rapidly evolving technology in and outside the home and you get the unique dynamic that exists in American business today. While these conditions pose challenges, the best companies also have learned that not tackling them can throttle the speed at which they innovate and adapt. In this session, DeNunzio highlights the attributes and skill sets that build the best organizations and teams in an age where many “hard” skills are becoming obsolesced by technology. Attendees will emerge with a deeper understanding of “emotional intelligence” and may be inspired to rethink their approach to hiring workers and building cross-functional groups.

Collaboration and Quality: Honda’s Approach to Supplier Relationship Management

  • Presenter: Mark Ehrlich, senior manager, North American Automotive Purchasing (NAAP), Honda North America
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Managers who work with suppliers
  • Honda has achieved financial success and industry recognition for its unique approach to supplier relationship management that sees its broader supply chain as an extension of the automaker. In this session, Ehrlich offers an inside look at ways in which Honda's philosophy influences supplier relations, and how NAAP has used a 'Best Lifecycle Cost' management approach consistent with its philosophy to develop new product costs. This method relies on various tools--including a multi-faceted decision scorecard-- that seek to drive achievement of outstanding levels of cost competitiveness and ensure its extended network is equally committed to continuous improvement. Attendees will walk away with new insights on how they can build a more collaborative culture across their own extended network.

The Necessary Evil: Making the Most Out of Team Meetings (And Killing the Worthless Ones)

  • Presenter: Mrinalini Gadkari, senior lecturer operations management / faculty, Master of Business Operational Excellence program, Fisher College of Business
  • Level: Beginner
  • Recommended audience: Any industry, any level
  • Whether in-person or remote, meetings can consume a sizeable chunk of our workday - and yet while some create little to no value, others are absolutely necessary. In this session, Gadkari answers two key questions that linger: How can I eliminate some of my meetings? And what can I do to make the necessary ones more valuable? Drawing from her extensive process improvement experience, Gadkari outlines three different types of meetings and shows how, by following this structure and bookending meetings with the correct pre-work and loop-closing, we can free up time and maximize their value. 

Big Data, Small Math: Excel Tools to Visualize Data

  • Speaker: John Gray, associate professor of operations, Fisher College of Business
  • Level: Introductory
  • Recommended audience: Attendees from any industry with access to clean data
  • Businesses today have access to a wealth of data, but the challenge lies in interpreting and presenting it as information that can be used to enable better decision-making. In this session, Gray highlights and demonstrates a number of simple yet powerful Excel tools – pivot tables and charts among them – that can help organize data and provide insights into relationships that emerge. Attendees will walk away with basic proficiency in these tools, which can prove valuable in regular communication at their organizations.

Training Lasting Leaders: GE Aviation’s Winning Approach to Creating Change Agents

  • Presenter: Rick Guba, ret. executive, GE Aviation; Executive-in-Residence, Fisher College of Business
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Central lean/operational excellence office employees, training / leadership development decision-makers
  • Organizations committed to operational excellence know developing a leadership training pipeline is a crucial capability as effective change agents are a key driver in meeting goals. Two worst-case scenarios, however, often loom: High-potential targets might struggle to find the time, or they might leverage their new skills and leave the company. GE Aviation faced both of these challenges in its lean leadership development program before drastically reshaping it to fight time constraints and attrition while also instilling a newfound system-over-tools mentality in its people. In this session, longtime GE Aviation leader Guba offers up the company’s training program as a best-practice benchmark in workforce development, highlighting its structure and underlying principles and engaging attendees in small-group exercises to reflect on their organization’s current state. Attendees will receive a “road map” of the leadership development plan that they can use as a foundation for building their own program, reshaping an existing one, or seeking buy-in from top leaders.

How To Lead by Asking Effective Questions

  • Presenter: Margie Hagene, faculty, Lean Enterprise Institute
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Managers, coaches
  • Creating a culture of problem solving is the foundation of a lean enterprise, and a fundamental factor of the transformation framework. As a leader of problem solvers, it’s important you know how to effectively ask questions that support the technical and social dimensions of solving problems. Putting this and other related lean principles into practice means not only knowing how to question effectively, but understanding the thinking behind your role as a lean leader. In this session, participants will develop an understanding of why asking effective questions is an essential skill that supports the lean leader's role of developing an organization filled with problem solvers; learn the value and importance of asking questions effectively; and practice effective questioning.

Hitting the Target with Agile Process Design

  • Presenter: Bill Hathaway, president, MoreSteam.com
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Process Design Leaders, Deployment Leaders
  • Lean Six Sigma has been around for over 20 years. TQM has been around even longer. Despite the robust body of knowledge and practitioners, broken processes continue to fuel DMAIC projects year after year. The solution to shutting this rework factory down is to redesign the process that is used to design new processes – to turn process design on itself.Join us for this interactive workshop to get a little hands-on experience with an approach that is powerful, practical, simple, and flexible: an approach we call Agile Process Design (APD). APD borrows the most useful approaches from several related design disciplines, while discarding the baggage of overly complex tools. Try it out and see if you can hit the target!

Map It, Mean It: Aligning Strategy and Building Engagement Through Visual Tools

  • Presenter: David Kalman, managing director, Root Inc.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Leaders involved in strategy, human resources employees
  • Devising and executing an organizational strategy is only part of the challenge – garnering buy-in from employees is where the uphill climb begins. In this session, Kalman highlights the major challenges companies face in strategy execution and shows how visual learning and communication can be a powerful tool in addressing them. Along the way, he’ll share examples of Root’s collaborations with companies pursuing process excellence.

The “Pit Crew” Approach to Lean Product Development

  • Presenter: Norbert Majerus, lean champion, Goodyear; author, Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
  • Level: Beginner / Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Product development, information technology, operational excellence leaders in production and service environments
  •  Developing a robust speed-to-market capability increasingly is becoming a key competitive advantage for a wide variety of organizations. This requires a research and development culture that utilizes sound lean thinking and fast learning cycles. Drawing from his extensive experience benchmarking other companies and championing lean at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Majerus offers his “pit crew”-style approach to product development, which attendees will experience and practice in a pair of interactive simulations. Attendees will leave with actionable next steps to apply a similar model to their own teams or organizations.

Everyone, Every Day: Creating and Sustaining a Continuous Improvement Culture

  • Presenter: Joe Murli, founder, The Murli Group; author, The Lean Management System
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Lean deployment leaders
  • It’s the goal of any organization pursuing a lean transformation: Every employee at every level constantly searching for ways to improve, enabled by leaders who work to make it happen. Getting there is both the challenge and the opportunity. In this session, Murli will offer insights from decades working with companies in the pursuit of operational excellence. Murli, founder of The Murli Group and author of The Lean Management System, will break down how leaders at each level of your organization can work in concert with the elements of the management system to help fuel the continuous improvement culture and offer crucial insights on the role of coaching and driving work-force creativity. Go beyond struggling with sustainability and on to continual improvement at every level.  

Complexity’s Silver Bullet: Using Great Processes to Solve Great Challenges

  • Presenter: Peg Pennington, Executive Director, COE
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Process improvement professionals
  • In a world of increasing complexity – shortened lead times, global competition, and increased regulation – we arguably should expect more system failures, or system “accidents.” In this presentation, Pennington focuses on how operationally excellent companies respond to system complexity to build sustainable, high-quality and robust processes that not only meet but exceed customer expectations. Attendees will walk away with a comprehensive picture of the unique role the lean management system plays in reducing complexity.

Top-Down, Ground Up: Progressive’s Grassroots Approach to Op-Ex Engagement

  • Presenter: Lisa Prisco, business leader for quality and customer operations, Progressive Insurance
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Lean deployment leaders
  • Like many companies seeking to create a continuous improvement culture, Progressive Insurance has built strong top leadership engagement to propel top-down initiatives. What sets its journey apart is the other key component: A largely volunteer, grassroots effort among associates passionate about process improvement who built a network of teams to marshal projects and identify key metrics at various organizational levels. In this session, Prisco charts Progressive’s journey with a focus on this grassroots approach and its latest efforts to operationalize ideas from change agents within the community.   

The Blind Spot: A New Approach to Managing Supply Chain Disruptions

  • Presenter: Johnny Rungtusanatham, professor of management sciences, Fisher College of Business
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: Supply chain employees
  • When companies wrestle with the prospect of supply chain disruptions, they often invest the bulk of their efforts analyzing or forecasting the cause, whether it’s a labor strike, a weather catastrophe, or a major contract lost. Where they focus too little is the effect – and shifting this lens can make all the difference. In this session, Rungtusanatham draws from his research on supply chain disruptions to highlight the top questions companies should be asking: What will a disruption look like on an operational level? Do I have the right people managing the response? Is my company too focused on innovation to survive a major event? Attendees will walk away with a new perspective on this critical challenge for firms with global supply chains.

One Goal: Sustaining Momentum in AEP’s Lean Journey

  • Presenter: Alberto Ruocco, Vice President and CIO, AEP
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: IT professionals, operational excellence deployment leaders from any industry
  • American Electric Power Company Inc. is in the fourth year of a company-wide lean transformation initiative that started in its generation plants and made its way to headquarters, where one key area of implementation is its 1,000-employee information technology organization. In this session, hear from CIO Alberto Ruocco as he shares how IT is working to sustain its momentum by keeping its underlying continuous improvement mindset visible and ensuring employees have a stake in its continued success - or move past the occasional struggle. This includes a number of visual management tools and efforts to turn employees’ ideas into action. Attendees will walk away with an understanding of how AEP’s people-process-technology model executes on a day-to-day level, which they can leverage in their own organizations.

Unlikely Allies: Aligning accounting and operations

  • Presenter: Jerry Solomon, manufacturing industry veteran; author, Who’s Counting?, Accounting for World Class Operations
  • Level: Beginner
  • Recommended audience: Manufacturing / supply chain attendees, operations professionals who work with accounting/finance
  • Companies pursuing a lean transformation often find accounting an obstacle to their journey: Traditional performance metrics aren’t aligned with lean behavior, while efforts to improve flow and reduce inventory can potentially lower earnings. In this session, Solomon draws on more than three decades of industry experience to show how operations can create an alliance with accounting. Along the way, he highlights the challenges and pitfalls of traditional cost accounting and identifies metrics that contribute to the “plain English P&Ls” needed in a lean environment. Attendees will emerge with a foundational perspective on this common challenge across organizational silos.

A Day in the Life of a Lean Leader

  • Presenter: Guru Vasudeva, SVP and Enterprise CTO, Nationwide
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Recommended audience: IT professionals, operational excellence deployment leaders
  • Nationwide’s operational excellence transformation has emerged as a top benchmark for lean deployment in the information technology sector. But what does it look like on the “inside?” Join Guru for a look into how he puts Nationwide’s commitment to process excellence into action and a reflection on his personal journey with the organization. Along the way, he’ll highlight the importance of lean leadership for both the key challenges the IT organization overcame in reaching its current state and for what lies in the journey ahead.