The Gemba Walk Network

Introducing the Gemba Walk Network to New England based companies interested in Continuous Improvement, Lean, the Toyota Production and Management System, Six-Sigma and Business Process Management.

What – The objective of this network is to leverage the collective knowledge, experience and motivation of the network to significantly improve the competitiveness and profitability of all our participating companies.

Who – New England based companies interested in continuous improvement, Lean, Toyota Production and Management System, Six-Sigma and Business Process Management.

Manufacturers – make to order, make to stock, mixed mode, engineer to order

Healthcare – hospitals, healthcare providers and services, long-term care etc.

Service – vehicle repair (collision and mechanical), lawyers, insurance etc.

Distribution/Warehousing – Distribution Centers, Fulfillment Facilities

When – Seven to Nine meetings per year will be schedule and facilitated by Dwight Bowen

Why – to expand the knowledge of all members, to meet peers and discuss problems and success, to see best practices you have not seen before, to share forms, photos etc.

Where – at network member sites located in Western Mass, Connecticut, Western New Hampshire and Southern Vermont.

How this works – Member hosted meetings focus on the continuous improvement subject of the hosts choice.  The network tours, “goes to see”, the facility and provides the host impartial, objective feedback.

Please take less than five minutes to listen to this Podcast   “Go See”  Click this link to listen:

© Zone Control Achievement Program

A hands-on, gemba based, intense, nine to ten week training program for supervisors, lead people and front-line managers.

Developed to recognize the “key group” in a lean transition., “the sergeants and lieutenants in the war against waste”. Among other daily responsibilities, this group bridges the communication gap between operators and leadership and leadership and operators. This group is vital to successful policy deployment, and the development of a cultural of continuous improvement.

Purpose: to develop and strengthen policy deployment capabilities in supervisors, front-line managers and lead-people.

  • Supportive Theory and Focus: The Toyota Production System
  • Achievement occurs on the floor at the student’s company work site (within their zone of control)
  • Roughly 50% in classroom, 50% on-site
  • Hands on learning, coaching and mentoring.
  • “90% of change is people, 10 % tools”…learn more about and how to effectively deal with people and cultural issues.

Target participant:

  • Is currently a lead person, supervisor or front line manager working within a company-wide lean system.
  • Has a general understanding of lean/flow and kaizen


“The program is very effective. Our team has gained a practical understanding of Lean Policy Deployment. The team mentioned that the combination of presentations and discussion plus the videos and hands on, worked well and they now understand the topics fully” – Rich Maguire, Vice President Operations, Remcon Plastics, Reading PA

The Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, in their terrific video on lean culture, “Moments of Truth”, create a wonderful image, an image I have found to be consistently true and powerful. Imagine a pipeline divided into three sections separated by valves.

The section to the left is value adders (operators/direct labor/service providers), the middle section is supervisors/frontline managers and lead people and the right hand section is leaders. If ideas flow back and forth in a mature, effective “lean enterprise”, these ideas must all go through the middle sections, the one occupied by supervisors/frontline managers and lead people.

I have been a Lean/Toyota Production System consultant for many years. I have worked dozens of manufacturers, distributors and service companies. I have worked in the office, out in the warehouse and in the plant and continue to learn with every new company and kaizen. One of the primary lessons I have learned is that supervisors, frontline managers and lead people are the sergeants and lieutenants in the war against waste. That means without their knowledge and support implementing and sustaining a lean enterprise is next to impossible. This is your key group, a group that requires recognition, support from leadership and sufficient training in the culture and tools of lean.

With this in mind I went searching for a training program that provided this group with hands-on, Toyota based training. I found many wonderful certification programs out there: SME’s gold, silver and bronze certification programs, Productivity Inc. lean certification, and many, many others, but nothing that appeared to achieve my objective.

Search completed, I decided to develop one. I am an avid bicyclist and do some of my best thinking when sweating up a storm on my bike. It was during a lunch time ride that I came up with some key ideas for this program; Zone Control and A3 Thinking requiring all students to develop and demonstrate control of a “zone” with which they control or share control and use an A3 report to clarify performance, issues and counter-measures and measurement using a “stop light”…green, yellow, red color visual.

Next I established an “advisory board” of lean savvy professionals to assist me in alignment to my “true north” and to use the kaizen rule “to seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one”.

Check out “the program” and if your company is interested or you have any related questions go to the “contact” page.

Advisory Board:

Tony Byrne, President, Misco Products Inc., Reading PA - Rich Maguire, Vice President of Operations, Remcon Plastics Inc, Reading, PA - Andrew Bishop, General Manager, Pennsylvania Operations, Yoder Brothers Inc., Lancaster PA - Mark Hammond, Quality Assurance Manager, American LaFrance, Ephrata, PA - Bonnie Spayd, Director of Manufacturing Technology Programs, Reading Area Community College, Reading, PA