Meet Our Team Members Below:
Bill Artzberger has over twenty-five years of experience in real-world senior management, including CIO, VP, President and CEO. He has worked with thousands of individuals from the boardroom to the shop floor, in virtually all sectors of industry.
Bill is a partner at the Lean Learning Center. He specializes in Lean Training, Consulting in Lean Manufacturing, Project Management, Kaizen Implementations, Shop Floor Management, Information Systems, and Supply Chain Management.
Bill earned his Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a major in management and a minor in marketing. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BA) from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan with a major in Information Systems and a minor in finance. He also holds an Associate of Applied Science degree (AS) from Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan with a major in systems analysis. Bill is ITIL Certified, a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a PMI certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Bill brings extensive strategic, project management, lean manufacturing, and information technology experience to The Lean Learning Center. He is also co-author of the top selling Lean book Driving Operational Excellence.
- Clients have included: DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, DTE Energy, Ford Motor Company, Spirit Aero Systems, GE, American Airlines, and BlueCross BlueShield
- Provides information systems analysis, project management, portfolio management, organizational assessments, and due diligence for the private equity investment community
- Holds of two patents and has been published dozens of times
- Regular speaker on college campuses and corporate events around the country
- Enjoys a reputation as a consultant with a unique combination of a broad business background, strong manufacturing experience, and deep technical knowledge
Tom Bechtel has more than thirty years of industrial and consulting experience in all aspects of manufacturing operations and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In his work as a consultant, he has provided lean training, leadership coaching, kaizen workshops, project management and ERP implementation to a variety of industries.
Tom graduated with degrees in both math and physics and electrical engineering from Penn State University. Tom is also a certified “Fellow” in Production and Inventory Control (CFPIM) by APICS.
He began his career as a shop floor supervisor and trainer for GE subsequently working in senior operations management positions with Nortel and Mitel and ultimately Vice President of Operations for Kaval Wireless Technologies before joining the ranks of the consulting community.
Tom is an accomplished trainer, mentor, facilitator and consultant for both Lean Manufacturing and ERP strategies and practices.
Tom’s wide range of experience in electronics, healthcare, food processing, automotive and gas/electric utilities has afforded him the advantage of being able to help companies with the blending of shop floor process improvement with business implementation enhancement. Many of his projects include:
- Project management to implement LeanERP, concurrent engineering, synchronous flow lines, new practices for design & build of complex products
- Implementation of production work cells and kanban systems for GE Canada and GE Puerto Rico
- Earlier implementation of ERP systems for a variety of companies in a variety of industries
- Forensic analysis and resolution of material production control systems
- Facilitation of Lean Learning Laboratories in food processing and auto manufacturing
- Lean materials development and training for gas/electric public utilities, food processing and healthcare
- Facilitation of over 100 kaizen workshops in a variety of industries from repetitive manufacturing to patient delivery in healthcare
- Featured speaker and trainer for APICS
Marcos Fabris is a lean manufacturing professional with solid production management and quality management experience in industries including shoes, metal mechanics and manufacturing. He has been introducing lean manufacturing tools and developing projects since 2000.
Marcos holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from PUCRS and a postgraduate degree in Production Management from UFRGS. He has completed additional seminars and course work including the Lean Experience from the Lean Learning Center, Six Sigma – Green Belt from Werkema, Trading from Paulo Pizarro, and Endomarketing from Unisinos.
Previous to joining the Lean Learning Center, Marcos was a director and consultant at Deploy Management Consulting where he developed and coordinated lean transformation projects for metal mechanics, footwear, textile and drinks industries in Northeast and South Brazil. At GS Consulting Service, LTD., Marcos trained more than 60 clients of GS Brazil and was in charge of the administrative, commercial and technical areas of Northeast Regional. An Industrial Director at MR Footwear Industry and Trade LTD, Marcos managed the whole process with three production lines with a capacity of 3,000 pairs a day, and supervised a staff of 400 employees.
Marcos’s experiences in lean management include:
- Consulting in the areas of production management and quality management, focusing on improvement and rationalization of processes, ISO 09001-2008 and development of Lean Manufacturing
- Planning and analyzing production flow, cost/estimation control, supplying, manufacturing procedures and time measurements
- Referencing planning and analysis of production flow, cost /estimation control, supplying, working out of manufacturing procedures and time measurements
- Developing strategic planning with the use of BSC and methodology used in big and medium enterprises
Lean Learning Center
248 906-8605 Lean Learning Center
Susan Pleasant is a senior consultant at the Lean Learning Center specializing in making new levels of performance excellence a reality for companies undergoing lean transformation. Susan leverages over 25 years of experience from shop floor supervision to senior executive responsibilities at Frito Lay, Nabisco, Consolidated Container, and Wise Foods. She specializes in lean systems applied in manufacturing, supply chain, new product development and commercialization, production planning, and customer service.
Lean Skills and Competencies
Susan’s primary skills and competencies include coaching and advising company and business unit leaders as well as mid-level and front line management; lean strategic road map development; problem solving and problem solving systems; direct observation, process design, and rapid experimentation and improvement; lean management systems; kaizen; set up reduction, 5S, and visual management.
She is a skilled instructor of the Lean Experience, Leading Lean, Go See (Direct Observation, Process Design, Experimentation), Improvement Coaching, Lean Management Systems, Front Line Manager Training, and Kaizen Boot Camp.
Network Rail, Irish Rail, AGCO, Simmons Foods, Pitt Meadows Plumbing and Mechanical, MAST Logistics (supply chain division of Limited Brands), Spartanburg Steel Products, Timken Bearings, Tyson, Cooper Farms, Intel, ES3, United Technologies, Hallmark, Crayola, LM Glasfibre, Amazon, Ocean Spray, Mahle, Siemens, and others.
- Coached lean program managers and senior management teams during Phase 1 lean systems implementation
- Reduced operating costs at Irish Rail over €700,000 with kaizen workshops
- Identified over 1,000 improvement opportunities in Go See workshops at Network Rail some implemented prior to workshop end
- Improved capital planning, competency certification planning, capital project planning and execution processes, and possession planning processes at railway clients
- Reduced set up time 30-45% at client workshops
- Problem solving and process improvement instruction and coaching delivered results saved money, improved quality, improved safety, or delivered substantially improved customer service
- Frontline management training modules developed were implemented globally by major company
- Reduced factory cycle times by 46% avoiding major capital expense for capacity during volume growth
- Organizations using leadership coaching achieved globally recognized improvement over two year period. Coaching wasn’t the only intervention but was a notable change during the time
Senior Vice President of Operations reporting to CEO, Wise Foods 2001 – 2005
Reduce COGS 4.5%
Senior Vice President of Operations reporting to CEO, Consolidated 1999-2001
Improved EBITDA 5.6%
Introduced lean at 10 plants
Vice President of Manufacturing, LifeSavers Co. division of Nabisco 1995 – 1999
$15 million savings
Introduced new commercialization process, implemented 6 major
new products in 2 years
Director of Manufacturing, Services and Distribution Frito Lay 1991 – 1995
Plant Manager Frito Lay 1988 – 1991
Positions of increasing responsibility Frito Lay 1979 – 1988
Leading Lean, Lean Experience at Lean Learning Center
Leading Product Development, Harvard University
Principled Centered Leadership, Covey Leadership Center
Leadership Development Program, Center for Creative Leadership
University of South Carolina 1976, graduate studies education
Winthrop University, 1973, Bachelor of Arts Biology
Al Pond is a senior consultant for the Lean Learning Center and has collected nearly 50 years of experience, between Ford, his consulting practice, as founder of ALX Consulting and teaching at the University of Michigan Dearborn. Al developed his lean skills during thirty-eight years with Ford focused on operations, engineering and strategic planning. He retired in 2002 as the executive founding member of the Ford Production System. In his second career as a consultant and teacher, his focus has been on executive leadership and implementation of lean systems based on his experiences with the Ford Production Systems and expertise in the Toyota Production System.
Al graduated with a BS in Management and an MBA from the Eastern Michigan University. He attended Executive Development classes at the University of Michigan and Lean Enterprise Systems at the University of Tennessee. He is a lifetime Certified Manufacturing Engineer by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
Al holds the distinction of being one of an elite group of manufacturing executives that actually started as a union represented hourly worker on the shop floor. He progressed through the skilled trades via the apprenticeship program and then on to engineering and management. This wide variety of experience, starting as a production worker and progressing to a senior manager, gives him a most unique perspective and background as a lean change agent.
Al’s extensive experience from plant floor to executive suite include: Manufacturing Operations and Engineering, Product Development, Strategic Planning and Employee Development. In 1993 he was recognized by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) for outstanding program achievement in the automotive industry as the author of Ford’s New Employee Orientation Program.
Al’s experience and accomplishments are wide and varied including:
- TPM prize award by Japanese Institute of Preventive Maintenance at the Charleville Climate Operations in France
- Ford’s senior coach and mentor for lean implementation in South America, Asia-Pacific, component operations (Visteon) and major new vehicle programs.
- Responsible for developing the lean curriculum and training for the staff of Oakland University, one of the early attempts to institute lean into academic operations
- Lean trainer and workshop facilitator for a semi-conductor provider in Japan, Malaysia and China
- Lean trainer and management coach for a leading worldwide snack food manufacturer
- Trainer and executive coach for LM Glassfiber’s North American Windmill operations
- Kaizen facilitator, Coach and trainer for the Detroit Medical Center and Sinai Grace Hospital
- Clients have included, AGCO, AlphaUSA, Dana Corp, Detroit Medical Center, Fidelity, Freescale Semiconductor, Genzyme Pharmaceutical, M&M Mars, J.D. Power, Limited Brands, Oakland University, Oshkosh Corp, Sinai Grace Hospital, Seneca Foods, and Timken Corp.
Kevin Bradley brings nearly 30 years of Lean manufacturing, supply chain and service experience to his clients. Kevin has guided and/or supported strategic and tactical solutions for a variety of customers spanning from Assembly to Service to High Technology facilities. Primarily in the Consumer products industry, Kevin has held roles and implemented Lean principles/systems/tools at every level of the organization from shop floor to the Board Room.
Prior to joining the Lean Learning Center, Kevin was the leader responsible for implementing the Simmons Production System at Simmons Companies. In this role, he was responsible for taking 18 plants and 3000+ associates forward from some pockets of excellence to a Toyota like system. Leading by example and personal involvement at the front lines helped Simmons achieve significant reductions in lead-times, inventories and operating costs.
Over time, rapid success led to his doing consulting work for suppliers and customers building some ultra-competitive supply chain solutions that are recognized throughout the industry. For Simmons lean also branched out into Product Development and Service areas to create a total system. Additionally machinery suppliers in the sewing industry became part of the SPS family delivering world class technology solutions to the home furnishings industry.
Mr. Bradley is also a member of the Shingo Board of Examiners. Through this process, Kevin has made contacts and contributions to a variety of other industries including: Automotive, Aerospace, Medical, and the Military by providing Kaizen facilitation support and assessments.
Mr. Bradley received his BS in Electrical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Also, he possesses many professional accreditations in Lean, Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Management, Quality Engineering, Facilitation and Theory of Constraints. He remains an active member in ASQ, SME, and AME. He is an active Instrument rated Pilot, a father and grandfather who currently resides with his wife, Paula, in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Michael is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who brings over twenty years of experience to The Lean Learning Center, applying best practice improvement tools to drive performance in efficiency, value and customer satisfaction by improving manufacturing and transactional processes, safety, shop practices, product quality, testing and inspection methods, and production equipment reliability and maintenance.
Throughout his career, Michael has led more than 50 L6S Black Belt projects that focused on process improvement, strategic planning, technical problem resolution and implementation of company initiatives. He established and directed world class Lean and Six Sigma programs for four companies that produced an 87% improvement in product quality, while reducing operating costs by 23%. Michael’s proven track record has produced over $66 million dollars in savings for his clients. He also has extensive experience working directly with leadership to steer decision making in soling critical issues in quality, engineering, safety, executive management, customer satisfaction, corporate planning and personnel resourcing.
Michael holds a Master of Science in Industrial Optimization from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. In addition, Michael holds multiple certifications as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Manager, Experienced Change Agent, Kepner-Tregoe Situation, Decision and Problem Analysis and is also a Certified Incident Investigator. He specializes in DMAIC, Kaizen, DFLSS (DMEDI), R6S, CMMI, TPS, DOE, Regression, ANOVA, Chi-square Test, Median Testing, Hypothesis Testing, SPC, Gage R&R (MSA), FMEA/PFMEA, 5S, Pull Systems, VSM, Poka-yoke (error proofing), TPM, Takt Boards, C&E, Capability Analysis, Control Plans and Kanban. He also has expertise with Statistical Analysis and Problem Evaluation Software including Minitab, SigmaXL, REASON Root Cause Analysis and Simul8 Process Modeling.
Prior to joining the Lean Learning Center, Tom played a leadership role at the Timken Company in Canton Ohio. Tom’s projects and major accomplishments include the following:
- Created and delivered Lean Leadership Training for all global leadership teams
- Created and delivered Lean Basic Training for operative associates
- Developed and implemented a Lean Production Management System, incorporating six foundational lean tools, throughout Timken Bearing plants globally
- Mentored and coached candidates globally to complete a Lean Leader Certification program
- Led the development and deployment of Front Line Leader Lean Training program globally
- Conducted plant lean assessments globally on an annual basis
- Coordinated and led Global Lean Conferences for all Timken Bearing plants
- Collaborated in the development of Timken Problem Solving Process with Quality Department
- Developed and delivered the Train the Trainer program to deploy the Timken Problem Solving Process
- Led the implementation of multiple lean tools and standards at Timken manufacturing plants globally
- Designed the material and information flow and connections for proposed eastern European Timken
- Bearing Plant
- Lead and conducted lean6sigma training globally
- Developed and implemented training to support TPM, 5S, and Set-up reduction efforts
- Coordinated the Canton District Apprenticeship program (150+ apprentices in multiple crafts)
- Managed a staff of 25 people responsible for eligibility and placement of unemployed workers
Ron spent his first 30 years working to improve the automotive manufacturing processes at the Ford Motor Company and Visteon Automotive Systems. His major contribution was the highly successful launch of the Ford Romeo Engine Plant, which produced the world class Triton Engine. Subsequently, he was the founding director of the Ford Production System (FPS) Institute, which deployed the FPS System to 340,000 employees in 73 plants in 43 countries.
Ron has worked with hundreds of manufacturing sites in automotive tier 1, 2 and 3 plants. While personally managing the axle assembly operations at the Sterling Axle Plant, he introduced Lean concepts and won national acclaim. He was published as a finalist in the Franz Edlehman Award for global excellence in Industrial Operations Engineering as a result of productivity improvements in the Front Axle Assembly Department at Sterling.
For the past fifteen years, Ron has worked as a consultant to organizations in a wide variety of industries ranging from computer chip manufacturing to poultry processing and health care delivery to engine testing. His engagements include training, team development, process improvement events and broader demonstration projects integrating plants and processes across international borders. His notable clients include Intel, DANA, Harley Davidson, Visteon, Pratt Whitney, Carrier, Sikorsky, UTC, and lesser-known but unique clients like Burger Boat, a producer of world class 100+ foot luxury motor yachts founded in 1863. His most notable success was helping a poultry processor in Arkansas improve their “Agri-stats” (a set of nationally collected productivity measures collected and published by the USDA) from last place to first place among 25 competitors over a five-year period. These improvements helped fund the acquisition of a competitor’s company increasing his client’s capacity by an additional 50% at a time when other poultry processors were declaring bankruptcy.
Ron has taught SPC, TQM, FPS and Lean Systems to thousands of students and manufacturing professionals. He is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Detroit Mercy and has been very active in research and teaching programs at Michigan Technological University. Ron has a B.S. in Computer Science and an MBA in Manufacturing Planning and Control Systems from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Ron focuses on the leadership understanding of and commitment to the Lean journey. He promotes active engagement and consistent encouragement as a critical success factor. Ron’s mantra is “If we do not improve our processes today, tomorrow’s results will be no better than yesterday’s.”
Paul is a highly experienced manufacturing expert and quality professional with demonstrated ability to lead diverse teams of work force personnel and professionals to new levels of success in a variety of industries including Automotive, Aerospace, utilities, food products, public sector, health care and DOD. He has a strong technical and business background with an impressive track record of more than 20 years of hands-on experience in manufacturing process improvement, supply chain management, project/operations management and Lean Six Sigma implementation. Paul has the proven ability to successfully analyze an organization’s prime value chain, identify deficiencies and potential opportunities, and develop innovative and cost-effective solutions for enhancing competitiveness, increasing revenues, and improving customer satisfaction.
Paul’s areas of expertise include:
- Process Improvement
- Project Management
- Quality Management
- Lean and Six Sigma Implementation
- Supply Chain Management
- Organizational Assessment
A sampling of Paul’s recent projects and accomplishments include:
- Implemented a complete continuous improvement program at a Major East coast Utility.
- Master Black belt for the US Army Office of Business Transformation
- Co-lead Continuous Process Improvement for the US Army Logistics Command and US Army Personnel Command-Leading and Mentoring projects with projected savings/avoidance over $750m.
- Acted as the Senior Lean Leader for major Hospital implementing Lean in Surgery, ER and Rehab. Realized benefits of 50% reduction in wait times, 30% increase in revenue, and upward trend in patient and employee satisfaction
- Successfully oversaw the start-up and deployment of Lean Six Sigma in the US Army Logistics Command, which realized project savings exceeding $1.5 billion.
- MBB/Project lead for developing an on-going future process plan for IT pfm effort across 4 Army Commands.
- Established critical partnerships with other Army Headquarters Commands in the Pentagon-HR, Intel, Procurement, and Information Technology.
Certificates and Clearances:
Certified Master Black Belt, (1995, 2008)
Top Secret Clearance-DoD
Ted Haelein has over 25 years of experience impacting corporate performance in strategic and operational environments as an improvement and transformation project and program manager. Ted specializes in visionary improvement strategy, assessing structures, pinpointing gaps and weaknesses, and optimizing processes and business structures to boost operational efficiency while significantly reducing risk exposure and delivering major projects that impact the bottom-line.
Ted is a dynamic leader, offering extensive experience with BPM, Lean, Six Sigma, traditional and Agile Project delivery, CMM, ISO 9000, Supplier Management, Change Management, Healthcare Records verification/transmission, SLAs and ITIL.
A sampling of his recent projects include:
- Provided one on one coaching and training to entire senior engineering leadership in implementing a structured improvement strategy for resolving the organization-wide issue of insufficient parts at machine assembly.
- Worked with the organizational middle managers to help them acquire the tools and techniques of statistical process control leading to the development of an improved and highly effective control chart understanding of actual process performance across a wide range of the manufacturing operations.
- Led the design and strategic planning to develop the roadmap for transformation; led the tactical activities of documentation development, critical metrics identification, deploying operational risk management practices, and Visual Management, WIP Kanban and Gemba systems, as well as Critical Process Controls Management within Lean process management methodology.
- Analyzed and implemented WIP Cap controls, WIP Kanban and parts work-flow efficiencies in 3 different machining areas (Rounder Bars, Augers, and Auger plates) with demonstrated efficiency improvement within 1 month.
- Led 5-S focused plant lay-out upgrades to include sorting, identifying standard operating procedures, standardizing labeling and tools locations, and over $250K in old/non-used inventory reduction in the stock room.
- Led a parts work-flow analysis pilot effort at an assembly area, which resulted in first time ever total assembly cycle time of less than 30 days with more than 75% reduction in extra and wrong parts delivery.
- Deployed Visual WIP Kanban management techniques to the Engineering division both in the new design area and in the R&D areas.
- Implemented bottom-line improvements within 7 months which led to the organization having the first-time-in-corporate-history an entire quarter of on-time delivery of major machine assemblies.
- Drove major improvements in claims processing across all private healthcare insurance providers as well as Medicare/Medicaid value streams.
- Delivered a new Parts Sales forecasting methodology based on statistical analysis of historic customer demand data leading to improvements in workflow planning for critical machine shop operations and inventory management; instituted 2 bin replenishment pull systems for critical machining operations leading to improvement in PCE and workflow leading to improved on-time delivery to customers.
Certifications (past and present)
- Six Sigma Black Belt
- PROSCI Certification (Change Management)- ADKAR
- CMM Assessor Certification
- Certified Quality Manager, Reliability Engineer, Quality Engineer (American Society for Quality)
- Certified Government Contracting Officer
- Certified Government Professional Financial Manager
- Certified Educator (Tulane University)