Lean Blog — 459: Gerald Harris on Lean Leadership Lessons From Automotive Manufacturing, Consulting, and Healthcare

VP of Advisory Services, Value Capture

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

My guest for Episode #459 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is my colleague, Gerald Harris, a Vice President of Advisory Services at the firm Value Capture.

Disclosure – I often work as a senior advisor with Value Capture clients and I have a marketing role with the firm.

Gerald has over 25 years of leadership experience in the delivery of successful large-scale lean transformations across a broad range of industries and companies. His industry experience includes various automotive manufacturing settings and products and, for the past 14 years, healthcare.

While at Tenneco Automotive, a $1.5 billion manufacturer of exhaust and ride control systems, Gerald implemented lean manufacturing and lean enterprise improvement principles throughout the organization.

For the 14 years before joining Value Capture, Gerald served as Executive Director for Simpler North America, where he was instrumental in client launches and Executive Coaching for most of Simpler’s largest clients.

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • How — when and where — did you first get introduced to Lean?
  • Motivations for Lean in those early settings?
  • Early activities — what went well? Lessons learned from challenges? 
  • PULL – “flow if you can, pull if you must, but never push”
  • Did people there even think that improvement was possible? Any improvement was possible?
  • Short-term vs. longer-term countermeasures, adding inventory to be able to improve — or adding labor?
  • “Step change” – response to medication errors? Adding inspection step?
  • Interesting that Toyota still has final inspection??
  • Systems vs. processes?
  • Work, management, improvement systems
  • From nursing tasks to the healthcare value stream
  • Seeing vs. purposeful observation?
  • Value Capture’s “guided self-assessment
  • Leaders being too far removed from the work in healthcare
  • How did you find the right balance as a plant manager?
  • You’ve gotten more than comfortable with both… Bigger adjustment — becoming a consultant or shifting into healthcare?
  • The pitch for Value Capture?
  • Envisioning the IDEAL – how do we get to zero?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network