Your Iowa Lean News - July
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ILC Feature Organization
ACH Foods

Written by Bradley Eggers, CI Improvement Manager
At ACH Food Companies, Inc., we’re focused on brands that are #1 or #2 in their categories. In North America, we market, sell & manufacture a premier branded portfolio of cooking oils, spices & seasonings, baking ingredients & foodservice brands in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico & Mexico.  Our current location in Ankeny hosts one of the world’s largest dry spices plant & distribution centers at the cross roads of Interstates 35 & 80. 

ACH’s lean journey was revitalized in 2013, when leaders in our Ankeny Facility were introduced to a more formalized type of Continuous Improvement implementation.  They learned what it takes to become an industry leader headed towards "True North" after attending the 2013 Industry Week Best Plants Conference featuring Continuous Improvement Strategies.

After benchmarking several organizations, it became clear that additional horse power was needed to truly start a more rigorous CI journey towards operational excellence.  In 2014, ACH, Inc., introduced a base-line foundation of training for understanding & implementation of 5S for standard work & problem solving for “root cause” fixes. ACH is in the sophomore stages of CI as we are doing by learning & doing again, becoming better each time as we gain a better understanding of what it truly means to be in a Lean/ CI Culture.  It’s about respect for people & what we can accomplish together as a team.  We have just started to take brief check-back looks at our short CI road map & we are already seeing the culture change & processes improve right before our eyes, we are truly living it hour by hour, one day at a time!

We believe that to create a lean culture, you must have an engaged cross-functional CI Steering Leadership Committee dedicated to making Continuous Improvement work, no-matter what acronyms you choose to “call it'," to lead your employees at all levels of your organization.  We are fortunate to have a great team at our Ankeny facility!  One of the things we learned is that you cannot force a lean cultural revolution of continuous improvement on people.  We must 1st get clarity for understanding the WIIFM’s (what’s in it for me) along with employee buy-in bottom to top is mission critical for any type of success and sustainability.   Small wins showing linkage to how CI positively benefits each person in our everyday Gemba’s performance is a must.  We continue to take more employee Cross-functional Teams on bench marking trips of “CI Sharing of Best Plant Practices”, to our surrounding Mfg neighbors & even across departments in our own house.  Another critical ingredient to our people’s success is the use of our M.D.I. tiered “Action Boards” (Managing for Daily Improvement) & the improved metrics & savings in a safer, more ergonomically friendly work environment.  These are just a few ways, we here at ACH are living in the now of pure Lean/ CI cultural transformation through “Servant leadership of ALL IN”!!!

With our ILC membership, we have a new found family of Lean experts we can ask questions of, bench mark against, & can attend value-added training delivered at a reduced cost to us.  We hosted our 1st ACH Lean Consortium night earlier this year allowing us to show case some of our hard work by our greatest asset, our great people who work here.  We have also been selected to present our Gemba walk, MDI Tier “Action Board” process at the ILC Fall conference in October this year driving us to be even better.  These bench marking events & trainings have “PULLED” us to be better as a stronger, more competitive company, made us a tight-nit team of high performers of our short-long term accomplishments, yet allowing us to realize we have a long way to go on our lean journey.  It truly reinforces it is a journey of hour by hour perseverance, not a drag race!  We at ACH wish you all the luck in the world, you are the ones that have to make it happen…

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Iowa Lean Champion Nomination Process
Now Open

The Iowa Lean Champion Award honors a leader who has made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or lead a Lean journey and meets the following criteria:
  • Leadership – Recognized Leader in Lean and Continuous Improvement 
  • Sustainability – 10 years practicing in a Leadership or Change Agent role
  • Impact – Demonstrated and quantifiable business improvements
  • Principle-Based – Demonstrated key Lean Principles of Respect and Continuous Improvement
  • Influential – Has been a Role Model & Mentor to Others
  • Outreach – Leader in the Community as well as in Business
We are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Lean Champion Award.  Please complete this form to nominate someone for this award by August 26.

The award will be presented at the 2015 Fall Conference.
The Deming Institute Annual Fall Conference

Next Generation Leadership:
Disruptive by Design

Disruptive by design and empowering in practice, for individuals and organizations, Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s approach to improving quality, performance and innovation is more relevant and valuable than ever. Learn how challenging your preconceived notions about management and using the transformational leadership philosophy of Dr. Deming can propel you and your organization forward.

Hosted by Iowa State University.  This is not an ILC Sponsored event.
View Brochure and Registration Information

ILC Accepting Nominations
for Board Positions

The Iowa Lean Consortium Board of Directors is made of members representing the different sectors of our membership.  We elect members on a 3 year rotating basis so that continuity is maintained through all of the sectors.  This year we are electing board members to the Manufacturing, Service/Transaction and Government sectors. Nominee must currently work in the sector for which they are nominated.

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else please use the button below to complete the online form by July 31, 2015.
Board Nomination Form

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July 28
Making the Invisible Visible
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Des Moines
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Training Within Industry Workshop
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Apache, Inc.
Cedar Rapids
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September 23
Lean Basics
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Iowa Memorial Union
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ILC Fall Conference

October 27 & 28

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Airport Holiday Inn
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Learn More!

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.
 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.

August 4
Sponsor Fundamentals at Pella Corp

September 3
LSS Mapping Skills at Alliant Energy

October 20
Continuous Improvement 101at Pella Corp

October 21
Team Leader Orientation
at Pella Corp

October 28
Sponsor Fundamentals at Pella Corp

CLICK HERE for the full list
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