Mark Graban's - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

On the Shoulders of Giants

SME's Manufacturing Engineering magazine has a very special annual feature called the Masters of Manufacturing. This year they have selected Joseph Engelberger, considered the “Father of Robotics.” Consider where our manufacturing world would be today without some of the basics of robotics. It has made a huge contribution not just to how efficiently we product, but also the quality and capabilities we employ. It has also spawned many jobs from engineering to technicians. Here's brief bio on the man:

Often called the “Father of Robotics,” Joseph F. Engelberger earned his BS in physics and later an MS degree in electrical engineering at Columbia University before embarking on his career, starting as an automation engineer designing controls for nuclear and jet engine applications. In 1956, Engelberger began development of an industrial robot, and he later founded and served as the first president of Unimation Inc., builder of the world's first industrial robot, the Unimate, that was initially installed in a die-casting operation at a General Motors factory in New Jersey in 1961. Author of numerous technical articles and two books on robotics, Robotics in Practice and Robotics in Service, Engelberger in 1984 founded a new company, Transitions Research Corp. which became HelpMate Robotics Inc., with the mission to give robots a spectrum of sensory perception enabling mobile, sensate robots to work with human mentors in service activities. The company's first successful service robot, HelpMate, was a robotic hospital courier. In 1999, HelpMate Robotics was sold to Cardinal Health, which merged it into its subsidiary Pyxis Corp.

Read an interview with Engelberger here.

Previous winners of the
Joseph Juran

Eugene Merchant

Richard Morley

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Jamie Flinchbaugh is a lean advisor, speaker, and author. In addition to co-founding the Lean Learning Center, he has helped build nearly 20 companies as either a co-founder, board member, advisor, or angel investor. These companies range from high-performance motorcycles to SaaS tools for continuous improvement. He has advised over 300 companies around the world in lean transformation, including Intel, Harley-Davidson, Crayola, BMW, and Amazon. Jamie co-authored the popular book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, and continues to share his experiences as a Contributing Editor forIndustryWeek and as a blogger at He holds degrees from Lehigh University, University of Michigan, and MIT, and continues to teach and mentor on campus. Jamie is best known for helping to transform how we think about lean from a tools-centric model to one based on principles and behaviors. His passion for lean transformation comes from seeking to unlock the great potential that people possess to build inspiring organizations.

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