2017 Fall Conference Workshops & Tours

Post-conference Workshop and Tour Options

Attendees will choose to attend either a workshop (3 options) OR tour (2 options) on Wednesday, October 11. The cost for for all options is $65 for ILC Members and $130 for non-members.

Tours 9:00am - 12:30pm

Choose from one of two tour options where you will hear from Continuous Improvement teams at each site and then participate in a guided tour of each facility. Charter buses will be provided and will leave from the Conference Center at 9am and return by 12:30pm.

Tour A: Nationwide

Tour B: B&G Foods (formerly Tones)


Workshops – 9am-12pm


Workshop 1: Continuous Improvement Ambassadors (CIA): Building a Network of Problem Solvers

This session will begin with an overview of Kreg's 6-month problem-solving program that combines in-class education, hands-on practice, peer mentoring, and direct project coaching. Then, the facilitators will lead small groups into a series of exercises used in the CIA program that participants will be able to apply in their own training courses. Each small-group exercise will conclude with a large group debrief on the lessons learned and application in the audience's companies.

Attendees will learn:

  • Universal delivery of problem-solving training, regardless of role or problem complexity
  • Importance of broad leadership support of a problem-solving program
  • Value of front-line peer mentoring and recognition
  • Exercises to illustrate key learning objectives (Change management, 5S, problem-solving)

Presenters: Stephanie Hill & Anne Rasmussen

Stephanie Hill has over 15 years of experience applying continuous improvement (CI) to the manufacturing, insurance, retail, and health industries. As the Corporate Continuous Improvement Manager for Kreg Tool in Huxley, Iowa, Stephanie develops the CI strategy, creates and implements training/engagement programs, and leads initiatives to deliver company-wide results. Her prior work experience includes Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Maytag, and Sherwin-Williams. Stephanie has a Master Black Belt certification through Maytag, a Master’s degree in Public Health from Des Moines University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kenyon College. She resides in Grimes, Iowa with her husband and two sons.

Anne Rasmussen has been practicing continuous improvement (CI) since 2013. She is the Continuous Improvement Specialist at Kreg Tool in Huxley, Iowa, where she facilitates projects and events to deliver on the corporate CI strategy. Prior to Kreg Tool, she held various CI roles at Kraft Heinz and interned in the Process Excellence department at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Anne has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Southern California.


Workshop 2: Lean in Support Service Functions - Deploying a True Company Wide Strategy of Excellence

Far from being merely a set of tools or projects, Lean is a journey, based on trust and teamwork, where traditional hierarchical relationships give way to one of joint commitment and accountability, where everyone in the organization is working towards a shared vision, towards flow management and efficient processes.

While not hard to understand, this approach is often difficult to implement. It requires the development of new perspectives and management routines up and down your entire value chain. It is a dynamic and organic journey which will lead your organization to better develop and utilize its human talents and its ability to learn, innovate and reliably and continually meet customers’ expectations.

Most industrial companies have been engaging in Lean activities in their manufacturing operation for several years and their efforts have paid off with increases in product reliability, reductions in lead times and in overall costs. But chances are the gains achieved in manufacturing are being offset by inefficiencies in other organizational functions. To get the most from your Lean effort, it is imperative that all company functions – HR, R&D, Finance, Marketing, etc. - challenge their processes.

In this case-based and interactive workshop, we will follow one organization’s Lean journey – from issues to outcomes – demonstrating how the principles of Lean can be applied in all departments to make a positive impact up and down the extended value chain.

Implementation of the Lean journey described in this session can:

  • cut work backlogs by as much as 80% - reduce design engineering time-to-market by as much as 75%
  • decrease processing times by 50% or more
  • drastically reduce failure demand, the non-value-added work created when you didn’t get it right the first time
  • eliminate overtime
  • improve staff morale and customer satisfaction rating
  • increase capacity - take on more work without adding resources

Attendees will learn:

  • to implement an organizational operational excellence strategy.
  • to apply lean in Marketing, Quality, R&D, HR, Sales and Finance, and how it drives the organization to a new culture and a quantum leap in performance.
  • to tie improvement initiatives to organizational goals.
  • the importance of establishing leadership routines ensures sustainment.

Presenter: Catherine Converset

Catherine Converset is the President, Productivity Innovation and Executive Partner of Productivity Inc. After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ECSP), Ms. Converset successfully held several positions within the PECHINEY group in Italy and France, becoming worldwide export manager of aluminum rolled products for Pechiney Rhenalu and then director of packaging development for the Pechiney Group. After ten years at Pechiney, she then spent five years managing a plastic packaging activity in Italy.

Ms. Converset joined Productivity in 1994. Following extensive Lean and Six Sigma training in the USA, she became a partner of Productivity in France, then in Europe and the USA. She is now President of Productivity Innovation Europe and Executive Partner of Productivity Inc.

Her areas of expertise include:

  • Lean training and support for Executive and Management teams, with vision, objective and roadmap definition.
  • Policy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri). - Lean management system implementation strategy. - Lean Management and Lean leadership training and coaching
  • Lean in Services: Financial industries (banks, insurances, lease solutions), Corporate support services (HR, Finance, Customer Service…), R&D, Marketing and Sales.
  • Lean in pharmaceutical and biotech environments (manufacturing, CMC&E, and R&D).

Ms. Converset has developed a deep understanding and practical experience in the execution of Lean transformation in all business environments to drive to tangible, measurable and proven results. She is experienced in guiding Executive Committees in defining their operational and strategic objectives and in building management and organizational systems. She has acquired extensive experience implementing Lean in pharmaceutical, R&D and service environments.

She is fluent in French, English and Italian, and teaches Lean Management in Service Industry at the Center for Operational Excellence at the Ohio State University.


Workshop 3: Lean Thinking Applied: A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Understanding and Improving Value Generation

Lean implementations in all sectors and industries utilize a common set of analytical and synthetic methods to first identify and then countermeasure waste in the diverse workflows employed to deliver their particular value propositions to customers. Manufacturing, services, healthcare, education or government are all similar in this respect. In analysis, they typically focus on two aspects: (1) understanding the characteristics and requirements of horizontal flows of activity, including their hand-offs (Value-Stream Mapping); and (2) the identification of flow obstructions, waste and other incidental problems evident in these processes (Problem Solving/Kaizen).

On this basis, in synthesis, they then deploy improvement interventions grounded in a mixture of data analysis and team-based creative thinking (Brainstorming), structured via PDCA methodology. Known obstacles to sustained lean transformation when taking this unidimensional approach include a lack of pervasive cultural change as well as opposition to a profound realignment of leadership structure (governance architecture) and function (personal behavior). This workshop is grounded in the insight that a true lean transformation is only likely when the vertical integration of value delivery, from the overarching business model to the details of the operational level, can also be made visible to all members of the organization.

Combining vertical with existing horizontal perspectives into a multidimensional approach promises a higher level of understanding in lean thinking and thereby promotes better integration of all activities, both those directly creating value and those supporting value creation. Participants will learn how such an integrative approach to lean thinking can be applied to their own organizations and will be guided through a hands-on practice model that demonstrates its benefits for organizational redesign and process improvement.

Attendees will learn:

  • An innovative method to decompose organizational activities in a vertical manner to add multidimensionality to the prevalent horizontal orientation in value stream analysis and improvement. This will benefit their ability to support the lean transformation of their organization and make it more sustainable.

Presenter: Dr. Joachim Knuf

Dr. Knuf was one of the original architects of the model lean systems research and education program created at the invitation, and with financial and mentoring support, of Toyota Motor Manufacturing between 1994 and 2006 at the University of Kentucky Center for Manufacturing. He has served in leadership positions in education, healthcare and manufacturing, currently as Senior Advanced Lean Practitioner at Crown, with special responsibilities for non-manufacturing workflow and training systems support. Dr. Knuf has consulted, coached, trained, educated and published on lean thinking and organizational transformation for over 20 years.