This week, I spent some time with the Littelfuse team and our AME Champions Club in Mexico. Littelfuse is a global manufacturer of leading technologies in circuit protection, power control and sensing. You might recall that its passenger car product manufacturing operations in Piedras Negras, Mexico, was recognized with the AME Excellence Award in 2019, so I knew a little about what to expect. But nothing prepares you to watch company leadership work together with its teams the way they do here.
Everyone displays leadership qualities and understands that continuous improvement is everyone's responsibility and that opportunities to improve exist everywhere. In every direction I looked, positivity, innovative spirits and true can-do attitudes abounded. It was infectious and so admirable. I’m excited to share more about this experience with you in the coming weeks.
It reminded me of how I observed the AME home team working onsite at the Dallas conference. No blaming, no complaints, just a team focused on eliminating the barriers and challenges they faced, and at the end of each day, celebrating their successes, laughing at what they overcame, and strategizing on what they could improve the next day. It was joyous to watch! Everyone exhibited leadership, taking pride in their work and each other.
We talk about leadership so frequently because it’s key to everything we embody. This year’s lean summit in Charlotte, which starts May 1, is all about leadership. We will go to the gemba and see leadership in real time, learn from industry leaders in workshops, and hear takeaways from our incredible keynote speakers, Peg Pennington and Gary Peterson, two stunning examples of leadership with a wealth of experience to share.
As always, our summits don’t just tell you about lean—they show you. You’ll have a chance to tour six companies in the Charlotte area that are leading the way across industries. We have organized a truly unique opportunity for you to see legacy technology leveraged alongside leading-edge digital tools at Honeywell’s Clover manufacturing site, where its original glove manufacturing process uses 1960s technology and is still in operation today.
You can see how teams are facing critical challenges, such as part conveyance with large, heavy assemblies, supply chain OTD, and raw material inventory stock levels in a very complex supply chain and high-volume part movement at Carrier Commercial HVAC’s Charlotte operations.
Racing fans everywhere have two incredibly special tours to choose from this year. First is Roush Yates Manufacturing, a world-class race engine company competing at the highest levels of the motorsports industry and beyond. Then at PIT Instruction and Training, you can see how corporations are using NASCAR pit crew lean concepts to save time and improve work through standardized practices. We will also tour the A. O. Smith Corporation’s McBee facility and ConMet.
Our workshop programming this year features a collection of hands-on simulations and presentations from renowned lean experts. I can’t wait to hear feedback from our lean office simulation workshop, in which you can practice improving processes by applying lean concepts such as takt time, value stream mapping, work-in-process metrics, error-proofing, line balancing, standardized work, little's law, and theory of constraints (TOC).
You can also take advantage of Introduction to kata and learn how to better navigate ambiguity and help people in your organization achieve their full creative potential. A longtime favorite workshop, Front line leaders: Driving the speed of business will utilize case studies and discussions to explore shifting focus from measuring, managing and controlling processes to engaging the truest drivers of success. The opportunities abound!
You must enroll in advance for tours and workshops. If you haven’t already, you can do so here. Also, the deadline to book your accommodations with our group rate is Tuesday, April 25. Of course, there is still time to register. If you see me at the summit, please stop and say hello! It is always a privilege to talk with you and hear your feedback.
As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.