Your January Iowa Lean News
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ILC Feature Organization

ALMACO, located in Nevada, Iowa designs and manufactures custom equipment for the seed research industry.

ALMACO has always been interested in continuous improvement, and this drive to better ourselves pointed us in the direction of some popular systems early on.  We learned about Lean, but initially we attempted to take on projects and apply tools like 5S across the business.  The concepts of the Lean tools and a basic understanding of the system was there, but we struggled with how it all fit together. 
Through the years we have learned about the value of transforming our business culture first and we are taking time to implement the right behaviors.  This has changed our focus from implementing tools across the business to applying them when and where they provide value.  We’ve seen this make changing our systems easier and more sustainable. 

Currently, we are working to improve the rate at which we change, but our direction is clear.  We know what things we want to master, it just takes time to get good at them.

For those early in their Learn journey we recommend including senior leaders of your business.  Encourage them to attend events and workshops. Practice what you preach.  The best way to learn is by doing.  If you want to teach people a problem solving method or any other tool, you’d better be using it too!

Learn, learn, learn.  Sponge everything you can from the other ILC members.  Most are happy to share what they know.  Schedule tours, make sure someone from your company attends every event, and ask a lot of questions.

Be willing to fail.  You don’t need the perfect plan.  Just get started and learn through your successes and failures alike. 
When we joined the ILC we were able to network with other businesses and get exposed to very experienced Lean practitioners.  This allowed us to work through the questions we had about Lean implementation and to get a foundational understanding of the operating system we were trying to put in place.  In addition, hearing the successes of other members in the group motivated us to push through some of our own road blocks and struggles.  This is helping us see dramatic changes in our business culture.


Lunch and Learn Webinar: Lean 101

If you are new to Lean and need to understand the concepts and driving philosophy, tune in to this Lean overview webinar. This webinar is a basic introduction to continuous improvement and Lean concepts and some of the most commonly used tools.

There will be time during this 90-minute webinar for questions and discussion.

This webinar will be facilitated by ILC Executive Director, Teresa Hay McMahon.

Date: February 3
Time: 11:30am - 1:00pm
Cost: FREE for ILC Members   Non-members $250

Register now for Lean 101

Training Within Industry Workshop

The Training Within Industry Program (TWI) consists of standardized programs that teach the essential skills needed by all supervisors and workplace leaders - people responsible for the work of others - regardless of their industry.

This workshop will cover two of the three core TWI Modules:
  1. Job Relations Training (JR) develops the skills of workplace leaders to build positive employee relations, increase cooperation and motivation, and effectively resolve conflicts.  
  2. Job Instruction Training (JI) develops the skills of workplace leaders to quickly train employees to do a job correctly, safely, and conscientiously. 
Date:  February 25th
Time:  9am-3pm
Cost:   ILC Members FREE  
            Non-members $250
Location:  Orange City - Quatro Composites
Learn More & Register Now

Did You or Your Organization Renew?

Renewal invoices were due January 8th. We will begin removing access to member benefits this week for those who have not renewed.  If you did not receive your invoice or are not sure if your organization renewed please contact us.

Join the ILC Member Forum

We are pleased to invite our ILC Members to our new member forum!  Join us here to discuss all things Lean!  Have a question about how another organization has implemented a facet of Lean?  Want to share something that worked well for you so others can Learn?  Join the forum today and get started connecting to other like-minded continuous improvers. 

How to get started:

  1. Click here to request access
  2. Wait to be invited (watch for an email from SLACK - the platform we are using)
  3. Once approved, you will automatically be added to the #lean-for-all and #introduce-yourself  and #announcement channels
  4. Introduce yourself!
  5. Begin sharing ideas and asking questions in the #lean-4-all channel.  There are at  least three questions from members awaiting responses.
  6. Read this article about getting started with Slack - if you read just one part of this read about how to set up your notifications or turn them off completely.
We look forward to seeing you in the forum!

Only organizational and individual members who have renewed their membership for 2016 will be allowed to participate.
Request Access to New Member Forum
Thank you to Pella Corporation for hosting a Standard Work Roundtable.  Thank you to our panelists from Nationwide, PPI, Pella Regional Health Center and Trinity Structural Towers who helped make this a great learning event.

2016 Event Schedule To Date

(subject to change)

Feb 3 - Intro to Lean Webinar

Feb 25 - TWI Skills Training - Orange City

March 10 - Personal Kanban Webinar

March 30 - John Deere Engine Works Tour, Waterloo

April (Date TBD) - Winegard Tour

April 19-21 - Event with Mike Hoseus

May 17 - Intro to Agile; Writing User Stories, Iowa City

June 16 - Leadership Event with Jamie Flinchbaugh, Omaha area

June 22 - Call Center Gemba at Nationwide

July 12 & 13 - Skills to Coach for Development: A Series of Workshops Focused on Coaching Others in Effective PDCA Problem Solving

July 26 - Lean Accounting w/Jean Cunningham

Sept 15 - Health Care Panel w/Tour UIHC

Sept 21-22  - Project Management Essentials

Oct 12-13  - 2016 Fall Conference, Cedar Rapids

Nov 15-17  EMDS Event with Mike Hoseus - Omaha

And more to be announced in the near future! 

Fall Conference Videos from Gemba Academy

Many of you have been waiting patiently for the videos from our Fall Conference.  Gemba Academy has been working diligently (and pro bono) on these videos.  One of the keynote speaker videos is ready and the other will be added soon.  ILC Members can find a link to the videos HERE in the Members Only Area of the ILC Website.
 Shared Training Calendar

Is your organization willing to open in-house trainings and events to ILC members?  Please contact Tracy at with the details.

Members can learn more about the following Shared Training Events by logging into the Members' Only Area of the ILC website and clicking on Shared Training Calendar on the left side of the screen.
CLICK HERE for the full list
ILC membership offers a tremendous value by connecting you to companies, organizations and individuals using Lean to improve performance. 

Membership provides free or  significantly reduced rate access to ILC events and more.

Whether you are just starting your Lean journey or have considerable Lean experience, you will find valuable learning opportunities that help you move forward in your journey.
Join Today!

There are new Lean job opportunities posted in the Member's Only Area of the ILC website.  Have a job to post?  Contact the ILC Coordinator.
Follow the ILC on Twitter

Welcome New Members!

Organizational Members:
  • UnityPoint Health - Process Excellence
  • Alfagomma America
  • Civco Medical Solutions
  • Tension Envelope
  • Hillphoenix Specialty

Individual Members:
  • Pamela Worthington
  • Ella Grarup
  • Jessica Holtkamp

Share Your T-shirt Design Ideas!

The ILC Marketing Team is hosting a t-shirt design contest and is looking for fun, creative ideas for a t-shirt for the ILC. 
Share your ideas for slogans about Lean and continuous improvement that communicate the fun side of Lean and the ILC. Share them with us via the button below.

The winner of the contest will win 8 free t-shirts - one for you and 7 for you to give to your lucky friends.
We can't wait to see what you come up with!  Please complete all submissions by
January 27th, 2016!
Submit Your Idea
Forward to Friend
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