Lean Blog — 496: Learning and Leading Lean as the CEO: Randy Carr, CEO of World Emblem

My guest for Episode #496 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Randy Carr, the CEO of South Florida-based World Emblem – one of the largest embroidery companies in the world with plants in the U.S. and Mexico. 

Episode page with transcript, video, and more

Since 1993, the family-owned business has been the “go to” for emblems and patches for sports headwear, footwear, sports garments, and other apparel, with an output of more than 100 million products a year.  

In this episode, we delve deeper into World Emblem’s systemic view of their business operations within the scope of the SQDCM (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale) model. Learn how this approach steered them toward not just honing a product’s price-point, but also delivering a superior experience that justifies that price.

Discover how lean principles became an integral part of their response to various business challenges, ranging from pre-COVID operational inefficiencies to the financial impact of pandemic-induced difficulties. As World Emblem continues to foster a culture of continuous improvement and uphold their focus on safety, quality, and customer service, this lean journey illustrates the effectiveness of lean in maintaining robust competitiveness within a dynamic global market.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • We’ll somewhat structure this interview like an A3
  • Let’s start by telling us about the background of World Emblem — what was the need for change? 
  • Their “management system” wasn’t right?
  • How did you learn about Lean?
  • A 7-figure leap of faith to hire consultants
  • Baby steps… vs. trying to learn and do it yourself?
  • Countermeasure — Why Nearshoring?
  • Hoshin Planning process – how has that worked? Benefits?
  • Allocating your time as a CEO — 30% with customers?
  • Using Lean outside of production?
  • Being honest about problems — a key part of the DNA
  • What’s next on the action plan? How will continue you evaluating your progress?
  • The UK “True Lean” methodology

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