Lean Transformation # 1
In 1997 in an inconspicuous factory on Northwood Drive in a small
industrial park in Maryland, I began my rst factory Lean transforma-
tion. By that time I had earned the APICS certication, including the Just
In Time module certication test, and traveled to Japan and Taiwan con-
ducting quality system audits and studying Japanese manufacturing tech-
niques. I had read Just in Time for America by Henry Wantuck, 20 Keys
to Workplace Improvement by Iwao Kobayashi, and several other Lean or
Just in Time books. I had attended demand ow technologies training and
had gained some practical experience in applying some of the Lean tools,
such as anity, pareto, mapping, one-piece ow, and Kanban, line bal-
ancing and leveling, Takt times, Visual management, Andon, and Jidoka.
And now, I had my very own Gemba!
One evening a few months later, I received a call from the director of
purchasing at a large boat manufacturing company that manufactured
several popular brands. He introduced himself and said that someone had
mentioned my name to him and indicated that I was interested in being a
plant manager. I told him yes. He was quite the friendly sort and we had an
enjoyable conversation. He didn’t mention any specics, but he suggested
that I continue to pursue joining their team.
A couple of weeks later, I received a call from the vice president of oper-
ations who was looking to hire a plant manager for one of their factories
in Maryland. I ended up taking the job. What was exciting was that I
more than doubled my base salary, and about twelve months later I got
a bonus that was equal to my annual salary as a technical buyer. at
was fun! As excited as I was to become a plant manager, I was sad about
leaving OMC. It was such a great company with such great people. e
knowledge I gained about manufacturing and the opportunity to attend
training while at OMC had a signicant impact on my career for which I

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