Feb. 9 - Professional Development Meeting
The Blackwell, Fisher College of Business

In this "warm-up" for COE's annual April summit, we're mixing up the format of our Feb. 9 session, starting out with a block of group learning sessions, then gathering all attendees for lunch and an afternoon keynote ...  

Group Learning Sessions - 10:30 a.m. - noon (choose one)

  • Decision Making: Considering the ‘Hidden’ Factors

    Host: John Gray, associate director, COE; associate professor of operations, Fisher College of Business

    When making decisions under risk and uncertainty, not every consequential factor can be easily quantified, even considered. In this session, sourcing decision-making expert John Gray takes participants through an interactive session focused on decision making under risk and uncertainty. Though the insights may be applicable to other strategic decision-making contexts, this session focuses on strategic sourcing decisions, which include make-vs.-buy, supplier and vendor selection, and location decision (e.g., onshore vs. offshore).

    After a group discussion on attendees’ current approaches to decision making, Gray will guide them through a new framework developed with Susan Helper, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • Driving Change from the Middle

    Host: Peg Pennington, executive director, COE

    Peg PenningtonMore operational excellence rollouts fail than succeed, but it’s tough to point the finger at a single cause or person. In this session, COE Executive Director engages attendees in a group case discussion adapted from a Harvard Business School case about a corporate change initiative gone awry – and the middle manager left wondering what went wrong. After reading the case, small groups will work to identify key warning signs during the months-long rollout, pinpoint what the manager did right and wrong, and discuss what could have been done differently to improve the outcome.

    Attendees will leave with new “do”s and “don’t”s when managing change up and down the ladder.

  • Data Analysis: Voice of the Customer

    Host: Ralph Greco, Director, Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights

    ralph greco summitGetting a clear voice of the customer — whether it’s another business unit or an end user – is a critical step in ensuring the success of a project or improvement initiative. When working with qualitative feedback, though, it can be difficult to isolate the signal from the noise: What separates the outliers from the consensus? Luckily, some simple data tools and techniques can bring new clarity to this common challenge.

    In this session, Greco offers a crash course on qualitative data analytics with a real-world case involving a local organization. In this interactive session, Greco will demonstrate a number of simple tools and strategies for converting qualitative feedback into actionable insights.

    Ultimately, attendees will …

    • Better understand how qualitative data can distort a problem without the proper analysis
    • Experience new tools for interpreting these data; and
    • Be better prepared to transform them into the true voice of the customer.

1 - 2:30 p.m.: Better on the Road to Best - Inside Lancaster Colony's Transformation
Speaker: David Ciesinski, President/CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp.

dave ciesinski lancaster colonyA Center for Operational Excellence member with deep Columbus roots is moving forward with a new CEO – and a renewed commitment to building a culture of continuous improvement. For this afternoon keynote, join David Ciesinski (pictured, right), who took the reins of Marzetti owner Lancaster Colony Corp. last year after joining the company in 2016 as its COO. Ciesinski, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who's spent years in food industry leadership roles, will share how he’s making continuous improvement a central focus of the company’s forward momentum, leveraging a multimillion-dollar project portfolio and growing staff of Black Belts to cut expenses in products’ journey to the shelf and eliminate waste along the way. More importantly, the company’s reenergized focus on continuous improvement is creating a culture in which employees are driven by purpose and data-centric decision making.


Time Session(s) host/speaker
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Check-in / Networking time / Continental breakfast n/a
10:30 a.m. - noon

Group learning sessions (choose one)

  • 1. Decision Making: Considering the 'Hidden' Factors
  • 2. Driving Change from the Middle
  • 3. Data Analysis: Voice of the Customer


1. John Gray

2. Peg Pennington

3. Ralph Greco

Noon - 1 p.m. Networking lunch n/a
1 - 2:30 Afternoon keynote David Ciesinski, President/CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp.

Cost: Free to employees of COE member companies | Not open to non-members


Feb. 16 - Executive Education Offering:
Matching Negotiation Approach to Spend Characteristics

In this non-degree program, world-renowned negotiations expert Roy Lewicki will team with award-winning MBA professor John Gray to provide a course that tightly links insights from sourcing and procurement strategy to well-developed theory from negotiations. Professor Gray will kick off the program with the latest thinking on linking the supplier/vendor selection and management strategy to key characteristics of the spend. Professor Lewicki will then provide a basic introduction to the two most dominant approaches to negotiation – traditionally called transactional or win-lose negotiation, and relational or win-win negotiation. The assumptions, strategy and tactics of each approach will be reviewed, as skilled negotiators must be experienced in both approaches as well as several hybrid variations. Other topics may include the critical importance of preparation for negotiation, the dynamics of working in a negotiation team, and dealing with ‘difficult’ opponents. One or two imulated negotiations during the afternoon will illustrate these key points.

Location: Fisher College of Business | Mason Hall Rotunda
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost:  Non-members: 1-2 attendees - $895/person; 3+ attendees - $795/person

COE members: $795/person with discount code entered at checkout
(E-mail Matt at burns.701@osu.edu for code)

March. 9 - Executive Education Offering:
Beyond Total Cost of Ownership: Strategic Sourcing for Value

There are many types of strategic sourcing decisions that, in many cases, involve multiple relevant dimensions and are made under both uncertainty and risk. Some performance dimensions, like per-unit cost and shipping, are relatively easily measurable. Other performance dimensions, such as future innovation capability and responsiveness, are often more important than cost. But, these are much harder to assess in a sourcing decision.

In this one-day session, Prof. Gray takes participants through make vs. buy theories and the evolution of procurement decision making, leading to a new approach to sourcing decision making that addresses many of the challenges inherent in Total Cost of Ownership. This will be an interactive session, targeted toward sourcing, procurement, purchasing, and supply chain managers. General managers will also benefit from the insights.

Location: Fisher College of Business | Mason Hall Rotunda
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost:  Non-members: 1-2 attendees - $895/person; 3+ attendees - $795/person

COE members: $795/person with discount code entered at checkout
(E-mail Matt at burns.701@osu.edu for code)

Read more and register

April 10-12 - Leading Through Excellence: COE Summit 2018
Fawcett Center, Columbus, OH

summit banner

Committing to improving processes and building a problem-solving culture at your organization takes dedication and resources, but hitting the "pause" button and being exposed to new ideas is critical. COE offers this opportunity with its annual summit, a deep dive into operational excellence best practices and industry leading research. Leading Through Excellence in 2018 will feature nearly 20 workshops and tours, 25 breakout sessions and three dynamic keynotes - all centered on helping you and your team develop your leadership and problem-solving skills.

Registration is now open for center members and non-members ...

Read more and register ...

Save the Date ...

  • March 23, 2018: Supply Chain Symposium - Supply Chain 2030
  • June 27: Summer Session, Part I
  • Aug. 8: Summer Session, Part II
  • Sept. 14: Professional Development Meeting