Lean Blog Audio — Why It’s OK That This Suggestion Box Was Full of Cobwebs

As I guy who started his career in manufacturing before moving to healthcare in 2005, I don’t get many opportunities to visit the “gemba” at a factory very often anymore. I get to occasionally visit a Toyota plant (in the U.S. or Japan). As I’m getting settled back into the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) area, I’m reconnecting with some of the people I know through our local “Lean DFW” network.foremanOne of those Lean DFW people is Rick Foreman, the VP of Lean Development at Federal Heath Sign Co. Federal Heath makes big signs for gas stations, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and the like. There’s metal being cut and bent, stuff being painted, structures being built, and lights being installed and assembled. Rick, pictured at left, is more of a khakis-and-polo-shirt guy (as he was dressed on Friday). Suits and ties exist daily in hospitals, but exist mostly in LinkedIn profile photos in manufacturing 🙂

We had the chance to meet for a few hours on Friday morning to catch up andtalk about their Lean approach at Federal Health, across their different sites. Rick and the folks at Federal Heath have a very strong focus on developing people. As Rick says, “Doing Lean with people, instead of doing it TO them.” They have mentoring and development programs tied to Lean, with leaders at different levels learning from each other in different ways. Their President / CEO is the chief advocate for Lean as a business strategy.

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