Iowa Lean Insider-News from the Iowa Lean Consortium - October 2012
Iowa Lean Consortium
The Iowa Lean Consortium Awards First Lean Champion Award

On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC) recognized its first annual Iowa Lean Champion Award recipient – Ellen Gaucher, Executive Vice President at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. The award was created to honor a leader who has made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or led a Lean journey for 10 or more years.

The award was presented by ILC Board President Teresa Hay McMahon at a two-day ILC event in Pella. Of recipient Ellen Gaucher, McMahon said, “Ellen has been a strong Lean leader for many years.  She has led the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield continuous improvement effort for 15 years and we honor her work and achievements in process improvement.”

Ellen, an active member of the Iowa Lean Consortium, has an extensive background in health care and quality improvement.  Under Ellen’s leadership, Wellmark has achieved significant administrative cost and medical benefit savings since 2000. Congratulations Ellen!

John Shook Spends Two Days Teaching Lean Concepts in Iowa

On October 2nd, over 200 people heard from Lean Practitioner John Shook, Chairman and CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute.  John shared what a collaborative problem solving culture looks like and how it works while inspiring the group to create problem solving cultures in their own workplaces. 

He shared first-hand experience from his Lean journey, including his years working at NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.), the joint GM-Toyota auto plant in California, and why collaborative problem solving is critical to continuous improvement.  John also co-facilitated a Hoshin Planning workshop on October 3rd.

The ILC Hosts Lean Enterprise Institute All Day Workshops 

On October 3rd, the ILC hosted faculty from The Lean Enterprise Institute who taught about optimizing flow in the office processes, hoshin planning and improvement kata.  Some of the feedback we received from attendees included statements such as:
  • "Some very good practices and thoughts shared that we can incorporate into our existing processes."
  • "Excellent session - very engaging and fast pace was great.  Learned a lot and emphasis on key items was very good.  Very good use of time - lots of content in a short period of time!"
  • "Appreciated the interactive day.  It was full of learning and fun.  I also appreciated conversations about what is real for me in my workplace and thoughts around next steps.  Nicely done."
The ILC Holds First North America Lean Consortium Collaboration Discussion

In conjunction with the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), the ILC invited other Lean consortia from across North America to participate in a collaborative discussion on October 1st.  The group met in person and via the Internet to share best practices and processes for growing, operating and sustaining a successful consortium and explore continued collaboration among consortia.  John Shook, Chairman and CEO of LEI, facilitated the discussion.  The group is now working to extend their collaboration by identifying what gap we are working to fill and sharing information via LEI's web portal. 

Did You know?

ILC Members have access to lean job postings on the ILC website?  Log into the Member's area (look for the blue button in the top right corner of the website) to access current Lean job postings.  You will need to register to access the Member's Only Area if you have not already.  Access will be given to members within 1 business day of the request.  Just one more benefit of an ILC membership!

Welcome New Members!

We welcome the following members to the Iowa Lean Consortium.  Not a member?  Join Today and start attending ILC events for FREE!

New Organizational Members:
  • Deco Products
  • Nationwide Insurance
New Individual Members:
  • Adam Dehl
  • Kaleb Bently
  • Thomas Hafele
  • Scott Burgmeyer
  • Tricia Fisher
  • Bridgette Skinner
  • Carol Myer

Learning Opportunities

Nov 15 - Lean Leadership Workshop (FULL)

Dec 11-Lean and the Environment Workshop

Shared Event Calendar

Lennox is making the following in-house training opportunities available to ILC members at no cost in November

--VSM Project: 2-Piece Door Fab & Delivery Improvement – Heating Business Unit

--Kaizen Project: Top Blank Pull System – Cooling Business Unit

Ellen Gaucher

Thank You Vermeer Corporation

Thank you to the Vermeer team for hosting the two day ILC Conference in October.  The Vermeer family welcomed us in to their facilities and helped make the two events very successful.   A special thank you to President and CEO of Vermeer Corporation, Mary Andringa, for opening Vermeer to the ILC and for introducing John Shook at the event.
Join the ILC

Join the ILC!

If you are not a member of the Iowa Lean Consortium, we invite you to JOIN TODAY!  ILC membership offers a tremendous value by connecting you to companies, organizations and individuals using Lean to improve their performance.  Membership provides free access to ILC events and more, allowing you to see Lean in action and network with Lean practitioners.  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.  CLICK HERE to learn more now.
Questions?  Have suggestions for our next issue of the Iowa Lean Insider or an ILC learning opportunity?  Contact ILC Coordinator Tracy Schuster at or 515-259-0554.

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