COE accepting proposals for 2019 summit breakout sessions

At The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s annual Leading Through Excellence summit, attendees get the chance to hear transformation stories and research insights from among 25 breakout presentations.

Want to lead one?

COE is now accepting proposals for breakout sessions at its 2019 summit, set for April 9-11 at the Fawcett Center on Ohio State’s campus. For attendees, the 25 breakout sessions to be offered at the event – spread across April 10 and 11 in five 60-minute blocks of five concurrent sessions – allow them to customize their summit experience to choose the topics that fit their interests and best align with their personal and organizational goals. For presenters, the sessions offer the chance to share best practices and make connections with hundreds of business leaders.

As with past summits, COE is building its breakout session offerings to represent a mix of “case studies” taking place inside member and non-member companies; actionable insights from researchers; and best practices from thought leaders in the world of operational excellence. Topics are to be broadly focused on one or more of the following subject matter areas:

  • Industry disruption (technology, trends)
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Lean deployment best practices (tools, techniques, behaviors)
  • Organizational behavior (team-building, communication, decision making)
  • Supply chain management

While COE will still be recruiting a number of breakout presenters outside this process, up to 10 sessions will be drawn from submitted proposals. Each accepted breakout presentation comes with complimentary admission to the summit.

Think you’re ready to submit a proposal? Have the following information ready about yourself and your presentation:

  • a) Contact information
  • b) Proposed title
  • c) Key challenge/trend the presentation addresses
  • d) A few sentences on the content you plan to cover;
  • e) Key “takeaways” attendees will receive at your session.

We’re also interested in past presentation experience, with video links welcome and encouraged.

Presentation proposals will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, and all those who submit proposals will be notified of their status by Jan. 1, at the latest.

To view the proposal form and begin the submission process, click here.

Summer event explores workforce digitalization, ‘mid-tech’ opportunity

Digital technology has revolutionized the way we exist as consumers. It’s no longer necessary to leave the house to get groceries, grab a new pair of shoes, or buy a new house.

This same trend has had sweeping implications for the other end of the transaction, too, but this wave of digital innovation isn’t limited to business-to-consumer trades. These days, no industry has been left untouched, and the digitalization of the American workforce has emerged as a formidable challenge, with plenty of opportunity along the way.

The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence joined three other Ohio State and Fisher College of Business centers this month to tackle this topic in the second of a two-part summer session on the so-called digital economy. At the session, co-hosted with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, National Center for the Middle Market, and Risk Institute, Brookings Institution researcher Mark Muro (pictured above, left) presented findings from an illuminating report the think tank released last year tracking how technology is becoming a bigger part of the jobs we do.

“Digitalization is the fundamental source of value in our period in history,” Muro told a crowd of nearly 150 business leaders.

The data from Brookings bear that out. The organization classified hundreds of jobs in to low-, medium-, and high-digital skill levels on a scale of 1 to 100, based on how much knowledge of and interaction with computers and electronics is required. Your average software developer these days is a 94, while a personal healthcare aide would score below 20. In tracking changes from 2002 to 2016, Brookings researchers found that while about half of the jobs in Columbus that it rated required little digital skill at the beginning of the decade, that share has dropped below one-third in recent years. And while only one in 20 jobs required strong digital skills in 2002, that’s up to one in four.

“It’s getting much harder to find a job if you don’t know your way around basic computer equipment,” said Muro, a senior fellow in Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program.

Indeed, one in six working-age Americans can’t use e-mail, web search, or other basic online tools. Couple that with the fact that nearly half of all jobs in the Columbus area require a medium level of digital skill, and an imbalance emerges.

Breaking it down

Muro dissected his findings with a multi-industry panel at the session, which included representatives from COE members Honda of America Manufacturing and Mount Carmel Health System, as well as leaders from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Columbia Gas of Ohio owner NiSource. At all of these organizations, this workforce digitization wave is intersecting with a mix of demographic factors and broader industry trends. At Honda, for example, a sizeable crop of Baby Boomers is poised to retire, while the vehicles rolling off the line get more tech-heavy with each new model.

“As production changes and there’s more digital technology in our products, it challenges our engineers’ IT skills,” said panelist Scot McLemore, Honda North America’s manager of talent acquisition and development.

Honda has been proactive with the digitalization trend, moving in 2014 to open a Technical Training Center with classrooms and robotics to help cultivate skills of emerging importance in employees. In a similar vein, NiSource has invested in training that’s tailored for a digital age, a selling point for younger employees and, sometimes, a harder sell for veteran workers.

“Adults still want to know why,” said panelist John Penziol, NiSource’s user experience strategy lead.

The “soft” side of digitalization, whether that’s communicating changes to workers or developing new problem-solving skills while working with technology, is a critical element to this new frontier, particularly in an industry like healthcare. At Mount Carmel, it’s a question of balancing high-quality, high-stakes personal touch with constant new digital innovations. As a result, the nationwide digital score for registered nurses moved from the low end of the middle digitalization level to the high end over that 14-year gap tracked in the Brookings research.

“As leaders influencing people, we need to grow into the technology aspect and the people aspect,” said Michelle Leedy, director of talent management for Mount Carmel. “We need to think differently about how we get work done.”

Mid-tech opportunity

Brookings’ key recommendations for meeting the challenge of workforce digitalization include expanding and widening the high-digital IT talent pipeline — for example, creating higher-education feeder programs and exposing K-12 students to computer science — and increasing basic digital literacy, especially among underrepresented groups. One area of opportunity specifically for the Columbus region, Muro said, is what he calls “opportunity jobs,” which require medium-level digital skill but don’t require a bachelor’s degree and pay better than the national mean annual wage; this includes executive assistants and industrial mechanics, for example.

“These opportunity jobs are an on-ramp to IT,” Muro said. “It’s very important that people in the workforce without a four-year degree get into these occupations.”

Regardless of the solutions at hand, said McLemore of Honda, they can’t happen in a vacuum.

“It’s important that industry, education, and the government come together to figure this out,” he said.

Click here to check out Brookings’ full report, or view slides from the August session here.

Management Sciences department welcomes new faculty member

A Fisher College of Business senior lecturer known for his knowledge of business statistics and analytics is formally joining the of the Department of Management Sciences.

John Draper

Dr. John Draper starts this fall as an assistant clinical professor in Management Sciences. He previously served as a senior lecturer for the department, for which he received a college-wide recognition award last year.

Before coming to Fisher, Dr. Draper served as a visiting Ohio State faculty member who taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in statistical theory and application in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Statistics. His teaching experience at Ohio State also includes statistics in business, engineering and sports, as well as biostatistics courses for graduate-level students in the colleges of Public Health and Dentistry. He has his PhD in statistics from Ohio State.

This past spring, Dr. Draper hosted a sold-out half-day workshop at COE’s annual Leading Through Excellence summit on sports analytics. This workshop will be offered again at the 2019 summit.

Across the college, Dr. Draper is one of 18 new faculty members who joined this fall. You can read more about other departments’ new hires on Fisher’s website.

COE member discounts available for Baldrige, lean innovation conferences

Membership in the Center for Operational Excellence opens doors at more than just the Fisher College of Business.

COE is pleased to offer employees of member companies discounted admission to the following partner events coming up this fall:

Quest for Success – Sept. 10-11 – Columbus, OH

Quest for Success is the annual conference hosted by The Partnership for Excellence, the Baldrige certification organization serving Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia. At Quest for Success, you can hear presentations from Baldrige recipients, along with insights from other performance excellence professionals.

Presentation on performance excellence transformations include speakers from the city of Fort Collins, Colo., Eli Lilly & Co., and more.

Employees of COE member companies are entitled to a $25 discount on registration in addition to any general discounts, which can be claimed by entering code “OSU COE” at checkout in the coupon code window. Read more about the event and register here.

LPPDE North America – Oct. 1-4 – Columbus, OH

The Lean Product & Process Development Exchange has long been the most impressive gathering of lean product and process development practitioners. This year’s conference is no different and draws upon the rich examples of innovation taking place in and around Columbus and Ohio State. To bring focus to this year’s theme, LPPDE has assembled an impressive lineup of keynote speakers and case study presentations.

Keynote speakers include Billy Taylor, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Michael Walton, Director, Industry Solutions Executive at Microsoft; Michael Kennedy, author of Ready, Set, Dominate: Implement Toyota’s Set-Based Learning for Developing Products and Nobody Can Catch You; and Karyn Ross, author of The Toyota Way to Service ExcellenceClick here to download a full brochure on the conference.

Employees of COE member companies are entitled to a 30% discount on admission to the conference by entering discount code “COE” at checkout.

Read more on the event and register here.

Fisher profs win top award for ‘reshoring’ research

(Pictured, middle, is Prof. Gray, co-author Skowronski to his right. Image courtesy @ORMS_Elsevier)

Two professors in the home department of The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence have taken home a top academic award for their research.

Fisher College of Business Profs. John Gray and Johnny Rungtusanatham received the Jack Meredith Best Paper Award at the 2018 Academy of Management Conference in Chicago this summer. The paper, “Why in the World Did They Reshore? Examining Small to Medium-Sized Manufacturer Decisions,” appeared in the March 2017 edition of the Journal of Operations Management. Co-authors include former Fisher professor Gökçe Esenduran, who teaches at Purdue University, and Keith Skowronski, who earned his PhD at Fisher and is now at the University of South Carolina.

In their work, Prof. Gray and his co-authors explored the decision making of small and medium-sized businesses who were moving operations previously “offshored” to low-cost countries back to the United States. Increasing costs overseas couldn’t fully explain these moves.

Ultimately, the authors determined that reshoring decisions often served as corrections to earlier offshoring moves that overly relied on easily quantifiable measures such as piece price, transportation cost, and tax rate. Companies could find themselves better suited to make the right decision the first time around by using decision-making frameworks that factor in less-quantifiable considerations such as labor force skill, disruption risk, and cultural differences.

“Offshoring and reshoring decisions potentially affect many important and hard-to-measure factors,” said Prof Gray, who serves as an associate director for COE. “We hope our findings help shine the light on the need for better decision-making processes to be developed and widely adopted .”

Gray also received the Distinguished Service to the Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSCM) Division award, recognizing his exemplary performance in leadership roles for the OCSM Division during the past five years.

COE welcomes Fisher student intern for 2018-19 year

A third-year Fisher College of Business undergraduate student who spent time overseas this summer in nonprofit consulting has joined the Center for Operational Excellence as its intern for the academic year.

Tuhina Bhatt, a native of Clarendon Hills, Ill., will be assisting in administrative work and event management for the center through May 2019. In addition to her undergraduate work specializing in accounting, Bhatt participates in the college’s Business Analytics Industry Immersion Program and is vice president of membership for Ohio State’s Leadership and Service Academy.

This summer, Bhatt was part of a team that traveled to London, England, to work with Soles4Souls, a U.S.-based nonprofit, through the college’s Global Projects Program. In her work with the project consulting team, Bhatt and her colleagues helped the nonprofit with its operational expansion into the United Kingdom.

As part of its efforts to connect students to industry and support tomorrow’s leaders, COE employs a student intern each year. Past interns include Christopher Schmitt (2017-18), now a transaction advisory services staff consultant with Ernst + Young; Eric Schlabach (2016-17), now a senior analyst at center member Nationwide; and Savanna Coen (2015-16), now an assistant buyer with the corporate office of retailer Kohl’s.

Safelite CEO headlining fall center seminar

As Safelite CEO Tom Feeney hits local headlines while ringing in a decade leading the windshield glass repair and replacement giant, he’s also joining the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence for its fall kickoff event.

tom feeney safelite
Tom Feeney

Feeney will be serving as the featured keynote for COE’s fall seminar on Friday, Sept. 14, bringing insights from the cultural transformation he’s shepherded at the company since taking over as CEO in 2008. Feeney is a longtime Safelite employee who joined the company in 1988 and has served in a number of leadership roles since. Safelite has been a member of COE since last year.

In recent interviews with Smart Business and Columbus Business First, Feeney has spoken candidly about his restless drive to improve the customer and employee experience for a company that occupies a unique spot in its industry: It’s the market leader in the trade, and a household name at this point, but it also provides a service no one particularly wants. For Safelite, that’s meant getting even better at something it already does very well – digital transformation has been a key focus for the company during Feeney’s tenure – and creating a culture in which associates feel safe experimenting, sometimes failing, and learning from the experience.

The Feeney-led transformation has made an impact on Safelite’s top line and its headcount. Revenue today nears $2 billion, according to Smart Business, and it employs more than 14,000, about 2,000 of whom are in the Columbus area, according to Columbus Business First. On the cultural front, Safelite has been a regular honoree in that newspaper’s Best Places to Work ranking, while Feeney himself was named among the region’s most-admired CEOs.

Next month at the COE event, Feeney will share insights on how he’s championed the growth of a people-powered, customer-driven organization that fosters that “fail-fast” culture of innovation. His presentation will be preceded by a networking lunch and, before that, a presentation from Fisher College of Business faculty member and employee training and development expert Marc Ankerman.

Registration for this event, open exclusively to COE members at no cost, is open now.

COE leader departing role; search to begin for successor

A leadership transition is under way at The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence, with longtime Executive Director Peg Pennington departing her role later this month.

peg pennington
Peg Pennington

Pennington, who joined COE in 2003 and has served as executive director for nearly a decade, will be leaving the role effective July 27. On July 30, she’ll be joining Powell, Ohio-based online lean/Six Sigma training provider MoreSteam.com LLC as its president.

“Over my time at Fisher, it has been an honor and a privilege to teach our great students and to partner with our member companies and the broader operational excellence community,” Pennington said. “Our center has grown exponentially since I first joined in 2003, and it’s the passion for continuous learning and process excellence that all our member companies bring that has made it the vibrant community it is today. I know COE is destined for great things going forward.”

Though Pennington will be stepping away from a formal role at Fisher College of Business, she’ll remain on the faculty of the college’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program.

At the center, the search for Pennington’s successor will begin yet this summer, with plans to have the position filled this fall. Dr. Peter Ward, the longtime academic director of the center, will be moving from his current role as senior associate dean at Fisher in August to assume greater responsibility with COE during and after this transition.

The remainder of COE’s core team – Krista Barezinsky (barezinsky.2@osu.edu), member relations manager; Matt Burns (burns.701@osu.edu), associate director of marketing and communications; and Jackie McClure, administrative associate (mcclure.92@osu.edu) – is on hand to ensure continuity of service and a continued roster of high-quality event programming.

We’ll be providing updates on the succession process via e-mail to our member community and here via our Think Op-Ex blog.

Fisher summer sessions tackle customer, worker sides of ‘new digital economy’

Digital technology is the driving force in our faster and more connected world, transforming how we interact, how we live, and how we work. In the business world, this has led to disrupted industry titans and new power players, putting unprecedented power in the hands of customers and fundamentally changing the jobs we do.

In this “new digital economy,” how do we keep and grow a customer base with shifting brand loyalty and increasingly higher standards? And how do we adapt to the new technological demands in the jobs we have – and hire for?

The Ohio State University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Center for Operational Excellence are pleased to partner with Fisher College of Business’ National Center for the Middle Market and Risk Institute to offer a pair of morning summer sessions focused on the new digital economy. The first session, in June, looks all the way downstream at the new imperative of the customer experience, while the second, in August, presents recent research that examines the “digitalization” of the American workforce.

Part 1: The Customer – Wednesday, June 27

Headlining this morning learning and networking session are Tom Stewart (pictured, immediate right) and Patricia O’Connell (pictured, far right), co-authors of the book Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Strategy and the Art of Customer Delight. Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, and O’Connell contend that most B2B and B2C companies aren’t designed from the ground up for the customer experience, a critical capability growing even more so in today’s digital age. They introduce the concept of Service Design, offering practice strategies to deliver on your promise to customers.

Following the Woo, Wow, and Win keynote, IBM iX Director of Brand Strategy David Shaw takes the stage to give an inside look at how technology is creating new challenges for established brands and their relationships with customers.

Part 2: The Employee – Wednesday, Aug. 8

Mark Muro

The summer sessions continue with this look at technological transformation and its implications inside the workplace, headlined by a featured keynote from Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. Muro is the lead author on a fascinating and wide-ranging report published last fall, Digitalization and the American Workforce, that found the share of jobs requiring a low digital skill level has plunged since 2002 from 56 percent to 30 percent, while those requiring a high level of digital skill vaulted from a mere 5 percent in 2002 to 23 percent last year.

More details on the August session will be released next month, while registration for the June 27 session is set to launch Wednesday, May 23. These events are open to members of all four centers and the general public.

COE Summit 2018: A Look Back, in Pictures

The final speaker for the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual summit opened his keynote with a statement that had emerged as a running theme across the three-day experience: “We’re no longer a knowledge economy; we’re a learning economy,” said Dr. Bradley Staats (pictured, above), an associate professor of operations at the University of North Carolina and author of the forthcoming Never Stop Learning. “It’s not what you know today; it’s how you’re going to adapt, how you’re going to change to deal with the uncertainty you face tomorrow.”

COE’s Leading Through Excellence summit brought together nearly 500 process excellence leaders from across the country to Columbus in April for a dynamic variety of continuous learning opportunities, a record crowd for the event, which launched in 2013. Take a look back at Leading Through Excellence 2018 through this photo essay, featuring photography from Jodi Miller …

More than 200 summit attendees headed offsite on the first day of the event for gemba visits offering an up-close look at problem-solving and innovation strategies at companies around Ohio. One group traveled all the way to center member Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Akron headquarters to walk the floor of its race-tire manufacturing plant and see how visual management is embedded in the company’s product development process.

Another group headed up Kenny Road to experience the student-industry partnerships under way at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which has partnered with the summit on two other occasions in the past.

Center member Clopay Building Products hosted a wide-ranging tour of its massive 1 million-square-foot-plus manufacturing operation in Troy, guiding attendees through the site on trolleys that stopped throughout for quick looks at problem-solving strategies embedded in the facility.

Back in Columbus, keynote Karen Martin opened the day with an exclusive workshop on her latest book, Clarity First, which examines how too many companies are leaving value on the table by letting ambiguity flourish – and details how to overcome it. “The words we choose and the actions we take make or break what happens to people’s lives and the financial well-being of organizations and employees,” Martin said in her keynote the following morning. “Clarity is a big deal – and we need to take it seriously.”

Fisher College of Business faculty member David Veech, who works with the Master of Business Operational Excellence degree program, led a half-day morning workshop that taught attendees hands-on team-building strategies to use in their organizations – and rarely had them in their seats.

Brutus Buckeye stopped by COE’s annual reception for speakers and board members at Ohio Stadium. Pictured are, from Columbus-based Leverage HR, breakout hosts Shawn Garrett (left) and Sapna Welsh (right).

Each year, COE features a number of Fisher College of Business researchers sharing the latest insights with their work in industry. Here, Nathan Craig, assistant professor of management sciences, gives his breakout session attendees a crash course in machine learning, a technology that’s transforming how organizations are putting data to work.

The COE summit isn’t possible without the support of more than 40 student volunteers, who assist on tours and workshops and introduce featured speakers, and other Fisher and Ohio State staff members.  Pictured, from left, are students Muhammad Shire, Anthony Lazerri, and Jin Li.

The threat – and opportunity – of disruption emerged as a running theme of the summit and was the featured topic in a number of breakout sessions. Here, Root Inc. Managing Director David Kalman in his breakout session offers insights on building a culture of disruption.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Charles Duhigg served as the first-ever keynote for COE’s inaugural summit in 2013. He returned this year to share insights from his latest book, Smarter Faster Better, telling attendees that “thinking more deeply has always been the killer productivity app. People who are able to think more deeply about their goals and priorities, and what they ought to be spending time on, or about how to innovate faster, about how to see insights better. Those are the people who end up succeeding over time.”

The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a regular partner at past COE summits, returned again this year to entertain attendees during the second day’s evening networking reception.

At the annual networking reception, COE also features Fisher College of Business students who have successfully completed operational excellence projects with a number of Columbus-area nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Fresh off his Big Ten Coach of the Year win, Buckeye Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Holtmann stopped by the kick off the third and final day of the summit, sharing his insights on leadership and offering a candid look at a blockbuster first season at Ohio State.

Companies willing to “lift the hood” and share how they’re tackling tomorrow’s biggest challenges are at the heart of COE’s summit line-up. Here, Nationwide leaders (from left) Kevin Yania, Tobi Milanovich, Tom Paider, and Erik Bennett take part in a panel discussion on how the Columbus-based insurer is incorporating artificial intelligence into processes.

Fisher’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program is a driving force in creating tomorrow’s lean leaders. One of those graduates, Emily Jackson, hosted a breakout session on the summit’s final day to detail how she’s working to embed a culture of continuous improvement and respect as director of nursing quality at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Leading Through Excellence isn’t a solo sport. Each year, dozens of organizations bring teams – like this one from member BMW Financial Services – to learn new problem-solving strategies and search for the next great idea to implement at the office. Leading Through Excellence 2019 returns to the Fawcett Center in Columbus April 9-11, with registration set to open Dec. 10, 2018.

For a look at more photos from this year’s summit, head to our Flickr page