Host Jesse Tyler is joined by his colleague at Hypertherm, Kim Gage, Corporate Improvement Specialist, and Jon Sweigart, principal at Praxis Consulting Group, for a deep dive conversation about Continuous Improvement (CI), including why it's so important, how it works, the steps necessary to begin a CI initiative, including leadership buy in, rank and file participation, and looking for “easy wins” early in the CI process.
They also focus on the close relationship between CI and culture, the skills that make for a quality CI initiative, and how CI improves the bottom line.
The goal of this podcast is to have owner-to-owner discussions about a wide range of ownership experiences and culture topics, and to bring more insight into the individual ownership experience.
About Kimberly Gage (in her own words from the podcast)
"I am the company's corporate improvement specialist, which is a fancy word for the person who gets to really empower associates at Hypertherm to look for opportunities to improve improve in their day-to-day.
This could be processes. This could be product improvements, safety, cost, ergonomics. There's so many different types of improvements that we are encouraging and empowering associates to look for, own, and implement themselves. As far as me and my background, I've been with Hypertherm now for 11 years, I started in our manufacturing facilities, working on some of our products as an assembler.
From there, I moved into our sales team where I worked for five years as inside sales, really understanding our products and what they're doing for our customers, learning about our customers, the industry. And then after about five years, I did a quick switch over to continuous improvement where I actually now focus on our internal customers.
So what are we doing to make sure that our associates are being taken care of, that our associates' voices are being heard, and that they're able to take initiative and make change. So, yeah that's what I do. Some project management program management, but the biggest joy of my job is really around empowering of associates."
About Jon Sweigart (in his own words from the podcast)
I am a principal consultant with the practice consulting group. Our headquarters are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We're a small firm of about 13 people. We were founded by Alex Moss and Ginny Vanderslice over 25 years ago. And since then have been working in the, both the nonprofit, but mostly the employee ownership community, trying to bring together three things. And that is strategy, leadership and culture.
More practically, a lot of my work I feel is really bringing together groups of people to have meaningful interactions that communicate, Hearing people, respecting people, bringing in different voices, sharing decision making, sharing information at all levels of the organization in order to make the most of the opportunity of being employee owned.
John also appeared on Ep. 216 of The EsOp Podcast, for a one-on-one conversation with host Bret Keisling. Listen here.