The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. 
Intermediate level

Training and implementing lean with a blind workforce

Manufacturing excellence and people with disabilities


Practitioner Presentation
Thursday, Nov. 1 Location Code
9:15am-10:15am Grand Hall A, Lobby level ThS/37



Discover new and different ways to train employees in lean, and how to make it accessible and available to people who are blind.


Most manufacturing companies shy away from hiring the blind and the deaf-blind with the assumption that safety and productivity will be a risk. Good, highly skilled employees are becoming harder to obtain and with blind unemployment at 70 percent, there are options. With traditional methods and thoughts about hiring, training lean methods does not always work for employees dealing with blindness and blindness with other disabilities. Learn how lean and efficient manufacturing can be accomplished with people dealing with these disabilities. Hear about:

  • Tactile methods for training, layout development and displaying metrics.
  • Design and simple technology to replace kanban signals.
  • Safety and quality checks in the manufacturing process.
  • Workstation design and ergonomics that allows for all employees to be productive.
  • Fun and innovative ways to use Legos in training.

The Lighthouse for the Blind is a 500 employee aerospace and military equipment manufacturing company located in Seattle, WA., that specializes in employing the blind and deaf-blind. Over 75 percent of the direct workforce is legally blind. About to celebrate its 100-year anniversary, The Lighthouse, like any other company is experiencing competition, pricing pressures, and mandatory minimum wage increases requiring that it becomes a more efficient business.

Presenter: Brent Weichers

Brent Weichers has 35 years of lean transformation experience, with Toyota and Danaher as the biggest portion of his professional background. He is currently the director of continuous improvement at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. Training the blind and deaf-blind in lean and six sigma has become a specialty.