Podcast #209 – George Friesen on Lean, Kaizen, and Idea Boards – Experiences at the NUMMI Plant

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My guest for episode #209 is George Friesen, Business Practice Leader for Lean Transformations in the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College.

In this episode, we talk about his early experiences at the GM/Toyota NUMMI plant, why candor and trust are so important in a Lean transformation, and how to engage front-line employees in Kaizen and continuous improvement, and much more.

For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/209.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.  You can also listen via Stitcher.

George's Bio:

George has been a Lean Manufacturing Consultant with St. Louis Community College since April 2000.   Since coming to the College, George has developed an extensive and very well received series of training and consulting services focused on helping the College's clients take advantage of the power of Lean thinking and Lean work processes. In addition to services specific to certain Lean tools such as 5S, Value Stream Mapping, and Six Sigma, the College's Lean Transformations Business Unit has developed and provided to various clients, the Lean Leadership Certification Program, the Kaizen Thinking series, a series of discussions focused on Mike Rother's Toyota KATA, and the Lean Culture Change Symposia. These programs have received high praise from participants, eliciting comments such as, “What a great set of experiences.” “The training was just great. I learned a lot I can apply right now on the job.”

Prior to joining the College, George worked for the Maritz Performance Improvement Company. He has provided performance improvement consulting and training services across a wide variety of industries, serving companies such as Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Texaco, BellSouth, Duke Power, Sigma-Aldrich, Caterpillar, AT&T, ThermoKing, Shell Oil Company, Illinois Bell, GM, Nestle, and Ford Motor Company. Over the past 35 years, George has facilitated over 800 seminars in areas such as 5S System implementation, Toyota KATA, Kaizen Thinking, Value Stream Mapping, Lean Leadership, Lean Culture Change, SMED, Visual Management, sales training, strategic planning, time management, and communication techniques. He has made presentations on Lean Manufacturing at the conventions of the National Council of Advanced Technology Centers, the National Council on Workforce Education, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and the American Society for Quality.

George is a graduate of Washington University (AB), Webster University (MA), and United States Air Force Flight Training. He is also a certified AchieveGlobal and DDI facilitator.

Podcast eBook:

Feedback & Comments:

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.


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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.

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