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Welcome to the 16th Annual Northeast Lean Conference - The Virtual Experience
08:30am - 08:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V300 Joe Shlick

WELCOME! We're so glad you're here. Before the event gets underway, listen to the prerecorded event opening comments (in the On Demand tab on the event menu to the left) by GBMP President Bruce Hamilton. 

Virtual Plant Tour: AccuRounds
08:45am - 09:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

Join GBMP President Bruce Hamilton and AccuRounds owner Michael Tamasi for this informative and entertaining virtual plant tour! AccuRounds, founded in 1976, is a contract manufacturer that machines and assembles precision turned components. AccuRounds was at the forefront of the manufacturing industry in 1995 when it embarked on a quest to become a World Class manufacturing operation. A comprehensive program to implement lean manufacturing techniques was adopted. These techniques were applied throughout the organization, and in 2006, AccuRounds won The Shingo Prize Northeast Silver Medallion, the first contract metalworking company in North America to do so. Since the award, reorganization into value streams utilizing a comprehensive lean management system has dramatically increased speed to market. 

Read more about our host here:

Organizations learning and practicing lean experience early results that are often followed by a swift decline. Sound familiar? Change not grounded in a deep understanding of principles relies on tools alone and further improvement requires even more focus on tools. Sustaining improvement for the long term becomes impossible. The Shingo Model for Enterprise Excellence introduces a framework for improvement based on principles, culture and behavior. It provides an important social science context to balance the technical science we are familiar with. Learn how the Shingo Model & 10 Guiding Principles inform, influence and guide ideal behaviors that ultimately lead to sustainable results. After all, isn’t that what we are striving for.
Floor Marking Best Practices to Maximize 5S Success
08:45am - 09:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

5S-style floor marking helps to convey information to people in an area in a quick and efficient way. When done properly, it opens up space while making the work area more user-friendly.

Floor marking is a very commonly-used visual communication tool. From warehouses to high tech factories and even retail stores, the ease of using simple lines and grids to direct foot traffic or show where items should rest is a simple organizational tool.

Maximize the use of floor marking by learning the best practices. Listen to David Visco, author of 5s Made Easy and founder of the 5S Store, as he shares tips and tricks for using floor tape in support of your 5S initiative. 

In this session, you will learn:

  • Where tape falls in the 5S process
  • Common Applications
  • OSHA Guidelines
  • How to improve Safety with floor marking guidelines
  • Tips for choosing the right tape and getting it to last

Hospitality Differentiated
08:45am - 09:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

Attendees will learn:

  • How most hospitality companies differentiate
  • How hospitality companies should differentiate
  • How to build a culture of continuous improvement within hospitality
  • How to effectively build a team that is bought in to lean


Everyone agrees with the need for employee engagement, but most continue to rely on individual talent, and few actually achieve maturity. Operational Excellence deploys the appropriate accountability, visual and leadership processes at each level in the organization to set the foundation for mature employee engagement. This presentation shows how Integrated Behavioral Health best practices elevate business capability in this area.


A culture pandemic was causing productivity to ramp out of control. Tune in to listen to a discussion on how frontline and Lean leaders teamed to break a toxic culture and led the frontline to own and sustain continuous improvement.


Things have certainly changed over the past few years, and of course most notably during the past 7 months in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adaptability has been a key to success for many during these uncertain times. The businesses model of "brick and mortar" offices, where people go in at 8:30 and go home at 5:00, has been disrupted. While most manufacturing facilities have brought back essential shop floor personnel, many office/support functions are still working from home and may continue to do so for quite some time. This presentation is about Toyota Kata, a tool used by Toyota and other advanced Lean organizations, to solve problems by developing people through daily coaching cycles. The present day challenge is that many of the managers who have the role of coaches are working from home. How then do we make this powerful tool work in the new 21st century work environment? How do we still hold these coaching cycles to build the  problem solving capability of our team members when we are not together in the workplace?

Getting Paid for Working Smarter!
08:45am - 09:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

You might not think your work in process improvement is worth a lot, but Uncle Sam sure thinks it is!  

Two main areas of enormous effort in the United States today are manufacturing and software development. Sometimes these sectors overlap, too! If you work in either manufacturing or in software development, or if you write software to support manufacturing, like CNC programs, you might be able to receive significant money for that work!  

Anytime you are trying to do something new and different and you’re not sure it’s going to work, you are involved in a process of experimental development. This means that you and your company are probably eligible for significant incentive funding, up to 14 cents per qualified dollar spent! How would you like to have a 14% discount on your efforts to improve your products, processes or equipment development efforts?

Many companies receive $100,000 or more per year for work they are already doing! How? Simple! 

There are three things you need to show:
1) You are trying to improve the performance or capability of a product, process or piece of equipment.
2) It isn’t clear whether your project will work as well as you hope – for example, you will have to try a few different approaches.
3) You actually try those approaches and then learn what works and what doesn’t.  

If you are doing those three things, either in manufacturing or in software, or both, you are probably eligible for significant funding under the programs provided by the federal government and many state governments as well! The whole idea is to give you money to keep engineering and manufacturing jobs here in the USA!  

It might surprise you to learn that Lean manufacturing initiatives have all of the required elements for eligibility. Efforts to reduce scrap without compromising cycle time or unit cost are one example. Efforts to reduce wait time among manufacturing process steps are another. Efforts to develop software that either optimizes output at a particular station, or that provides a new level of capability in the world of applications, all can qualify.

GBMP's own Six Sigma Master Black Belt Ron Pujalte shares the benefits of adding Six Sigma to your Lean implementation program to create a favorable environment for continual improvement to get the results you're looking for..

As businesses transition into new working environments and conditions, managers and leaders are challenged with balancing business and employee needs more than ever. This presentation is a discussion about the best strategies for communicating, leading, and managing employees and teams during crisis.

This practical and honest discussion of real-life issues covers:

  • Adapting – Applying situational leadership strategies.
  • Communication – Navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of employee conversations.
  • Performance Accountability – Holding employees accountable and empathizing with their difficulties.
  • Managing Fear – Strategies to support all employees during change.


This presentations describes the six things management must do to deploy Lean in their organizations. Presented by Bruce McGill, Continuous Improvement Manager at GBMP.

TSSC Supports Rapid Ramp in PPE Production
08:45am - 09:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

While many organizations think that Lean takes years to implement, here is short video demonstrating how rapidly the tools of Lean can be applied when there is a supporting culture and commitment from management. TSSC (Toyota Production System Support Center) was recently asked by the Bullard company to help ramp the production to fill a critical need for healthcare providers, the pivot from batch one-piece flow was accomplished in days, enabling Bullard to increase output exponentially. 

After viewing the short video, you’ll have an opportunity to hear a discussion with TSSC Senior Manager, Tom Jones and TSSC Vice President, Jamie Bonini. 

Thanks to TSSC and Bullard for sharing this inspirational example of TPS implementation

Conference Opening Keynote: Adapting Lean Thinking to a Crazy Century
09:00am - 09:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V100 Cory Sapp

The first twenty years of the 21 st century have consisted of an unprecedented terror attack, two subsequent wars, the Great Recession of 2009, and the Pandemic -- and perhaps greater recession – of 2020 that brings us together virtually. Wow. At the same time a wave of new digital and automation technologies – the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, machine learning – are sweeping across industry and a new wave of low-carbon technologies and ways of sharing assets are being marshaled to address climate and other ecological demands. More wow.

By contrast lean production and its companion lean management were created in the period between 1950 and the early 1970s in a world that seems stable by 21 st century standards. Are the ideas and methods of lean thinking, created for the long-term management and steady improvement of stable enterprises, suited for this new era? And in what ways might they be adapted?

Jim Womack’s opening presentation will help us grasp the situation in the new century and examine the role of lean thinking in a crazy time.

Concurrent Sessions
10:00am - 10:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

Using Collaborative Robotics to Reduce Manual Material Movement
10:00am - 10:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V400 Melissa Barber
Track: The Technical Track

Robots are taking over. . . non-value added activities. Dentsply Sirona has introduced robotics within their processes, one of which you can find roaming the hallways of operations throughout the day. CHAMP (Computerized Handling of Atlantis Manufactured Products) is a Collaborative Robot that combines a MiR 200 and Universal Robot UR-5. CHAMP was introduced in 2017 to reduce the non-value activity of manual material movement by driving to various departments and collecting partially or fully completed components and delivering them to their respective next operations. Since implementation, CHAMP has reduced the amount of non-value manual material movement by over 6 miles per day! 

This discussion will focus on the phases of implementation employed & how Dentsply Sirona introduced CHAMP to reduce the operator anxiety of automation. “Robotics and other combinations will make the world pretty fantastic compared with today.” – Bill Gates


Lean, supported by technology, can be implemented effectively at a grocery retail headquarters. In our unique role as a service provider, our team practices lean thinking as we partner with our 5 local brands to improve efficiencies and reduce waste allowing them to focus on serving our in-store customers. In this model we act somewhere in the middle of being a consultant and an employee of the “factory”. 

During our time together, we would like to share how this unique position allows us to use lean thinking and cross brand sharing to develop with the brands solutions based on waste reduction, process changes and technology. As the retail industry continues to evolve into this omni channel world, we hope our stories/examples can illustrate how we use lean to solve for new and emerging needs. 

We look forward to bringing the voice of retail to the Northeast Lean Conference.

Concurrent Sessions
11:00am - 11:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020

Lean Decision Loops: A Winning Strategy to Build Agility
11:00am - 11:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V100 Cory Sapp
Track: The Social Side of Lean

Any organization – large, small, or in-between – trying to implement Lean faces several internal obstacles: the perception that Lean is the latest “flavor of the month”, competing functional silos, lack of strategic alignment, and poorly designed feedback loops – if any exist at all. 

When the US Air Force began its Lean rollout, Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO21), in 2006, the Air Force faced all of these obstacles -- many of which still exist in some form. However, one element of Air Force culture exists which, fused with Lean principles and compatible Lean organizational behavior insights such as Michael Balle’s “Lead with Respect”, can help remove those obstacles: John Boyd’s OODA Loop. Using the insights provided by Chet Richards in his book, “Certain to Win” and my own from my vantage point as the Installation Process Manager at Hanscom AFB, I will show how evolving Lean thinking and the OODA Loop together are helping the Air Force in its Continuous Process Improvement and Innovation journey, with the ultimate goal to increase warfighter effectiveness. While born from a military environment, these insights also can apply to any Lean organization trying to compete in an uncertain business environment. 

This presentation will elaborate further on these key takeaways.

Doing vs Being Digital – Navigating a Successful Digital Transformation Journey
11:00am - 11:45am Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V300 Joe Shlick
Track: The Technical Track

Covid-19 - Forcing Digital Transformation

I started writing papers or giving talks at global conferences on the topic of disruption and digital transformation in the Fall of 2019. Within a few short months, a world-wide pandemic was declared and COVID-19 was taking lives globally. This deadly virus continues to create both social and economic disruptions.

Our world has already been experiencing industrial disruption (aka Industrial 4.0); now adding this social and economic disruption has forever changed how we do business regardless of the industry. For organizations to not only survive, but thrive, the question is no longer “do we want to embark on a digital transformation journey”, but rather “what is the strategic and tactical plan of our digital transformation journey”.

There are several impacts due to the disruption of this level, including innovation, technology and cultural. Other results due to disruption are leveraging analytics for root cause analysis, on-going improvements, and real-time awareness of business performance. If organizations are going to survive any form of disruption, being able to make decisions at the speed of thought based on business performance and the fast changes in market conditions are not only critical, but essential.

In this session, we will:

  • Review some needs that are required for all organizations now and how to achieve them
  • Discuss the opportunities that arise as a result of embracing disruption.
  • Introduce the 3 critical components needed for a successful digital transformation.
  • Discuss how People, Process and Technology create the foundation of an organization’s digital transformation infrastructure.
  • Review how organizations, in any industry, can re-define how they do business by streamlining their digital transformation journey with an operational excellence platform.
  • Review what 4 iconic organizations did to achieve a successful digital transformation.

Concurrent Sessions
01:00pm - 01:45pm Eastern - October 7, 2020

The Road To Sustainability: Building A Successor System That Supersedes Cultural Propensities
01:00pm - 01:45pm Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V300 Joe Shlick
Track: The Social Side of Lean

We understand that the transition from current state to ideal state is not always an easy path. In any capacity of culture shifts, there will be impediments, moments of acquiesce, redirection in scope for reasons outside of your control. It is imperative that we build structured platforms, systems in which environments can follow but equally important that the people receiving these root-based tools, buy-in and understand that real change or cultural shifts happen not in a program or activity but happens within the minds of front-line individuals. In this presentation, we are going to reinforce the value of people which leads to the road of sustainability.

IIoT to Data Analytics: How to Connect Legacy Equipment & Spec for New
01:00pm - 01:45pm Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V200 Drew Chukwu
Track: The Technical Track

You might think that because you are a small business or have a plant full of legacy equipment that you can’t participate in lean initiatives and IIoT principles. In this presentation you will learn that this is not the case and the methods of what you can do to join the revolution. You will also learn the 4 steps to Industry 4.0 implementation in your plant.

Day One Closing Keynote: 7 Key Control Concepts To Drive Your Digital Transformation
02:00pm - 02:45pm Eastern - October 7, 2020 | Room: V400 Melissa Barber

The term "Industry 4.0" refers to the combination of several major innovations in digital technology that are poised to transform industry. From advanced robotics and machine learning to software-as-a-service and the Industrial Internet of Things, these changes enable a powerful new way of organizing global operations. But how should executives lead this change within their own organizations so as to not negatively impact production, customer satisfaction, and corporate culture?

In the race to implement new manufacturing technologies and systems, such as the Industrial Internet of Things, it is often forgotten that factories and operations already have systems in place—and the inner workings of these systems tend to actively resist any change forced upon them. John will share ideas to help manufacturing executives and frontline leaders implement technological change at their companies while developing a company culture that puts people first.

Day Two Opening Keynote: The New Era of Lean, and Robotics and AI
09:00am - 09:45am Eastern - October 8, 2020 | Room: V200 Drew Chukwu

The rise of robotics and AI technologies and applications will disrupt the way we understand and implement lean methodologies and approaches as we know it today.

From application in manufacturing, logistics, construction to agriculture and healthcare, how robotics and AI will change the workflows, ways of doing things? and how the lean community can better prepare and adapt to this new era of smart systems.

In this keynote, Fady Saad, Co-Founder & Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for MassRobotics will share his experience as the co-founder of the US largest robotics commercialization hub (startup escalator). Information gleaned from exposure to hundreds robotics startups, corporates and early/growth investors will be presented.

Concurrent Sessions
10:00am - 10:45am Eastern - October 8, 2020

Digital Transformation powered by the Industrial IoT and Predictive Analytics
10:00am - 10:45am Eastern - October 8, 2020 | Room: V300 Joe Shlick
Track: The Technical Track

Manufacturing firms are embracing Digital Transformation and leveraging Big (Smart) Data metrics and analytics to achieve greater efficiency and productivity on its shop floor. The interactions of the physical (factory floor) and virtual (IT) worlds are the backbone of novel and intelligent production systems, founded on the principles of Lean Manufacturing. The interconnection of ‘devices and things’ with Industrial IoT (IIoT)-based technology is leading the way to a truly transparent manufacturing environment, the Smart Factory as some call it, that directly translate into bottom line business results and productivity improvements.

This presentation will:

(a) educate the audience on the principles of Digital Transformation, the Industrial Internet of Things IIoT and Industry 4.0 initiative

(b) reveal how manufacturers are leveraging OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and AI-based analytics technologies to look at Asset Health and Diagnostics, as well as predict the remaining useful life of equipment in real time, achieving significant productivity improvements

(c) present real Case Studies with ROI from manufacturing clients that shed the light on how they transformed from a “fail and fix” to a “predict and prevent” operation, with a zero-downtime and zero-defect vision.

5 Reasons Your Problem Solving Doesn’t Deliver Results
10:00am - 10:45am Eastern - October 8, 2020 | Room: V100 Cory Sapp
Track: The Social Side of Lean

Problem-solving has been taught for decades, with many evolutions of methodologies, almost all essentially founded on PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act). But yet, we continue to see few companies really evolve their problem-solving capability beyond the templates and terminology. Certainly, this can’t be because we haven’t found the right problem-solving tools yet. Other factors are at the heart of this lack of success. For example, almost all problem-solving training starts with picking up the tool being taught. However, almost none of it helps you decide when you should pick it up. This is like teaching someone how to use exercise equipment, but not showing them where to find the gym. In this talk, we will unpack the other factors that will bring problem-solving to life in your company, from the management system to the culture.

Concurrent Sessions
01:00pm - 01:45pm Eastern - October 8, 2020

Information Systems: Creating a Plan for your Admin Teams
01:00pm - 01:45pm Eastern - October 8, 2020 | Room: V100 Cory Sapp
Track: The Technical Track

This discussion will look at using office software to implement Shingo Model principles into Company Administration. We will start by considering the difference between software and process. We will then discuss best practices when analyzing software for use by the workforce and best practices around actually customizing software to meet your needs. Finally, we will review a short example of a project that has been ongoing here at Vibco and has grown through continuous improvement for over 20 years.

Creating a Culture that Works
01:00pm - 01:45pm Eastern - October 8, 2020 | Room: V200 Drew Chukwu
Track: The Social Side of Lean

Finding & then keeping skilled staff is a major issue facing American manufacturers. Gallop shows that 76% of employees experience burnout “sometimes" and 28% experience it “very often” or “always”. It is more than just the work we do that creates our culture. It is the way we lead and the way we are lead. Along the journey to building a great culture, what are the must-do actions and activities. During this session, learn the four critical mile-markers on the road to a culture people want to work for.This session will get you thinking and excited about your own operations!

Silver Toaster Award Presentation & Conference Closing Remarks by Bruce Hamilton
02:00pm - 02:30pm Eastern - October 8, 2020 | Room: V400 Melissa Barber

Please join us as we meet the nominees and announce this year's recipient of the Silver Toaster Award for Employee Excellence in Lean. GBMP President Bruce Hamilton will also provide remarks to bring our event to a close. 

We hope you will join us for the celebration.