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May 14, 2009 CMT's Tom Epply Addresses Grow Conference on the Principles of Lean

Businesses within a 30-mile radius sent representatives to the Flagship Enterprise Center on Thursday, May 14, for the center's first Grow Conference. The Grow Conference presented tools for businesses to survive during an economic drought and featured speakers, ranging from Anderson University Falls School of Business Dean Terry Truitt to Continental Inc. owner Judy Nagengast, and workshops on lean operations and quality control. Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman was the keynote speaker during lunch at the conference.

Tom Epply addressed some 140-conference attendees about the importance of Lean and the profitability of their businesses. After asking conference goers what "waste" was, Tom stated, “It's anything that your customer is not willing to pay for. If it is not required by the customer eliminate it.” Tom also covered the seven types of waste including correction (sorting-scrap-rework), over production (opposite of just in time), inventory (challenge your banker), conveyance of material (never adds value), operator motion (think worker’s comp), processing (unclear customer requirements) and waiting (it is OK for a machine to wait).

Tom also explained the importance of Value Stream Mapping of various processes, how to incorporate Mapping into the Lean Tool Box, and how to use Value Stream Mapping for any process in the office to the manufacturing floor.