Calling Chicago Area Lean Companies


    Looking for help from Chicago-area lean folks….

    I was contacted by a Quality Manager at a pretty small, privately-held manufacturing company in the Chicago suburbs. they are considering launching into lean and they'd like to talk to or visit with a company (or companies) who can share their experiences with lean (hopefully, successes).

    If you'd like to get in touch with him, email me using the link on the left hand page and I'll make the connection for you.

    It's a company of about 50 people, but they sell nationally and internationally. My emailer also said, when I asked him where they thought lean would apply:

    “I was thinking that we would probably plant the seed and try to get everyone to buy-in company-wide because it is a culture change. We would probably look at production activities closely first because of the perceived “best bang for the buck” results. However, we need it across the board. This organization, like many, is rife with waste and redundant, non-value-adding activities.”

    I've also suggested to him, via email, that he look into the Illinois MEP program as a potential source of contacts. Any other ideas for him?

    In general, how *do* you find other lean companies to network/share with, other than looking for Google search results, in the news, or through some of the lean email lists or networks? What do you recommend for the Chicago company or for others??

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. The Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers are a couple of other sources they could contact. Chicago has two IIE chapters – one for Chicago and one for the Northwest Suburbs.

    2. Hi, Where in chicago, I can probably put them in contact with a large (7k staff) organisation who have been undertaking a lean journey for approximately 5 years.


    3. I would highly suggest he get in contact with the Chicago Manufacturing Center (

      His situation sounds prime for their services.

    4. I am interested in a similar subject. I have looked at all of the suggested organizations, but they only provide seminars. I am in the midst of the 2nd year of my organization’s lean journey and I am the lean manager. I would like to meet with other management professionals like myself to discuss our experiences and learn from each other. Is there an organization or group like that in the Chicago area?


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