Relentless Improvement : True Stories of Lean Transformations book cover
1st Edition

Relentless Improvement
True Stories of Lean Transformations

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ISBN 9781466554306
Published November 28, 2012 by Productivity Press
237 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations

USD $39.95

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Book Description

Tracing the author’s decades-long continuous improvement journey, Relentless Improvement: True Stories of Lean Transformations walks readers through vivid shop floor experiences to convey a genuine feel for the environments in which Lean Six Sigma transformations occur. Recounting numerous Lean Six Sigma transformations, it illustrates the spectrum of successful operational tactics.

The story starts just outside Detroit, Michigan in the 1970s when the auto industry was booming, and most people in the area worked in the car factories, or in one of the component factories that supplied the Big Three. The complexity and detail of the projects grow chapter by chapter. The book begins by explaining how to manage Lean basics such as applying 5S, shortening product cycle times, and creating standard work. It then progresses to factory Lean Six Sigma transformations. Providing implementation guidance geared to functions on the operational level, the book:

  • Presents stories based on the author’s interactions with company leaders and shop-floor employees in the midst of great change
  • Illustrates real-world plant politics and manufacturing situations using compelling stories
  • Highlights valuable lessons learned at the end of each chapter

Using an engaging story format, the book recounts the author’s career experiences to provide you with a real-world understanding of how to use Lean tools. The stories in the book illustrate everything from standard work and takt time to Kaizen events and Total Productive Maintenance. The text also includes accounts of "front end" or administrative processes such as product development and materials handling.

Table of Contents

A Manufacturing Family
Lessons Learned

My First Factory
Lessons Learned

Maybe Not Lean, But Lean Things
Do It Right the First Time
Product Development
Problem Solving
Takt Time
Standard Work
Lessons Learned

My First Process Improvement Project
Leadership Nirvana
Lessons Learned

Process Improvement Project #2
The New Owners Are at the Gate
Lessons Learned

My Lean Journey Begins
Water Spiders
The Building Is on Fire
Hazardous Spill
Lessons Learned

Outboard Marine Corporation — Marine Power
Products Group
Marine Power Product Group Purchasing
Getting to Know the Gemba: The Product and the People
     OMC – Calhoun
     Lessons Learned
Jet Skis
     Lesson Learned
Cylinder Sleeves
     Lessons Learned
More Standard Work
     Lessons Learned

     Mr. Yamata
          Are You Sure He Is Not Mad at Me?
     Closing Out the Audit
     Mouth Test
     Lessons Learned
Multi-Plant Inventory Reduction
     Lesson Learned
Bearing Shortage
     Lesson Learned
Stickle Bricks: One-Piece Flow
Affinity Diagram
     Lesson Learned
The War Room
     Lesson Learned
The Project Continues
Design for Manufacture and Assembly
Proven Technology versus High-Tech
     Lesson Learned
Competitive Product Comparison Project: Boston
Consulting Group
     Lesson Learned

Lean Transformation # 1
The New plant manager
     The "Incentive" System
Quality at the End of the Line
The Aft Cabin
Rate versus Quality
     Let’s Summarize
The Loop
The Transformation Begins
Quality: Stabilizing the Processes
Quarter Drills: Production Status Boards
Manufacturing Engineers/Process Improvement Technicians
Lean Training
     Boot Stripe Rework Reduction: Defects, Non-Value-Added Rework
     Lesson Learned
Where to Start
Grinding and Flipping Fiberglass Decks: Waste, Rework, Transportation, Motion
Fiberglass Small Parts

Components Plant
On Sabbatical
Let’s Get Lean

Lean Transformation #2
Process Improvement at Wellcraft
     Lamination Process Improvement
     Mold Care Project
     Assembly Process Improvement
          Implement 5S
          Quality Process
          Lean Six Sigma Cost Reduction Projects
          Product Development
     Lesson Learned

Improve Design Engineering Process
Lessons Learned

Improve Materials Management Process

Lean Transformation Strategies
Elements of a Successful Lean transformation
     Develop a Lean Roadmap
     Get a Lean Leader
     Establish a Lean Steering Committee
     Establish a Lean Resource Plan
     Establish a Lean Team in the Company
     Establish and Communicate the Lean Vision for the Company
     Develop the Roll-Out Plan
     Implement the Plan
     Implement Relentless Improvement
     Map and Improve Support Processes
     Move to Advanced Lean
Implement the Roll-Out Plan
     General Training: Lean Values, Overview
     5S Implementation
     Map and Improve Value Streams
     Implement Lean Metrics and Visual Management
     Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
     Align Product Development/New Product Launch with Lean Principles
     Deploy and Sustain Relentless Improvement Activities
     Map and Improve Support Processes
     Kaizen Events
     Move to Advanced Lean
Miscellaneous Topics

Organizational Politics Leadership
How to Conduct a Process Mapping Event
     DAY 1
     DAY 2
     DAY 3


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Bill Trudell is a passionate manufacturing professional and scholar of Lean Six Sigma. He has worked in manufacturing for twenty-five years in positions ranging from assembly line worker to middle management roles to vice president of quality and process improvement. He is currently president of Relentless Excellence LLC. a Lean Six Sigma practice, and has led or been directly involved in Lean Six Sigma transformations and projects for more than twenty years leading three factory Lean Six Sigma transformations.

Mr. Trudell graduated from the University of Tennessee and earned an MBA from Jacksonville State University. He holds the ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and the University of Michigan Lean Certificate. He is APIC and NAPM certified and has attended training at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Mr. Trudell co-authored Lean Six Sigma that Works published by AMACOM and his efforts were highlighted on the April 2007 cover of Composites Manufacturing Magazine.

He currently offers Lean Six Sigma leadership services through