• Joe Rizzo. Director of the New England Lean

“Real World Experiences, Not Jargon”

The New England Lean Consortium held its August Board of Directors Meeting at the Best Western, Royal Plaza Hotel, in Marlborough, on Wednesday, August 29th. The NELC holds two Board Meetings each year, one in February and one in August. This meeting provides an excellent opportunity for the Lean Leaders and the Senior Executives of each member company, to network and spend some quality time with each other and getting to know each other better.

There are multiple purposes of the Board Meeting. One is to bring all the members up to date with the current status of the Consortium, including the introduction of new members. The second purpose is to set the schedule of events and Lean Leader Meetings for the next six to twelve months. A third purpose is to determine the interests of the members, and to discuss the issues and problems that the members are dealing with.

At this meeting we were able to introduce two new members. One was Arumugam Vadivel (Vad), Operations Manager for IPG Photonics, Material Processing Systems, and Sean Anzuoni, CEO of Quantum Leap Engineering. With the addition of the two new members, there are now twenty members of the NELC.

The schedule of Lean Leader Meetings for the next ten months was established as follows:

September 18th – Applied Materials, Gloucester, MA October 12th – Tiffany and Company, Cumberland, RI November – Colonial Mills December – New Balance (to be confirmed) January – Admiral Packaging February – Board of Directors Meeting March – AstroNova April – IPG Photonics May – Volk Packaging June – E. A. Dion

The members expressed an interest in taking a tour of Taco (Rhode Island), Member companies of the YPO (Young Presidents Organization), Gemline (Lawrence, MA), and Thermo Fisher (Tewksbury, MA)

Where the meeting got interesting was the discussion of member interests, their problems and issues. During the course of the history of the NELC there has not been much interest in Workshops and Seminars, and now I know why. According to those in attendance, Presentations, Workshops and Seminars seem to be focused on Tools of Lean, or some other “jargon” associated with Lean, such as “Kata”, “Kaizen”, Lean Accounting, Visual Workplace, and many others. Those in attendance made it very clear that they are interested in Real World Experiences, not Jargon. Their prime interest is the Lean Leaders Meeting, where the members can “go see” what others have done and are doing with their Continuous Improvement Program and have the opportunity to discuss what worked, what did not work, what were the risks, what are the benefits, what are the lessons learned.

The Lean Leaders Meetings take place in the real world, with real world experiences and real world opportunities to learn. Therefore, the Lean Leaders Meeting is the prime activity of the New England Lean Consortium. As far as I know, there are no other organizations in New England that can offer its members six to twelve plant tours each year.