Achieving strategic success through people-powered excellence

AME's 30th annual International Excellence Inside Conference will be held on Nov. 10–14 in Jacksonville, Florida.

By Ellen Sieminski, AME August 6, 2014

The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) will hold its 30th annual
International Excellence Inside Conference from November 10th-14th in Jacksonville, FL. 

This is a great opportunity to network, tour facilities to see lean in action, and learn from peers as well as industry leaders.

Our keynote speakers will feature both inspirational and continuous improvement thought leaders to enhance your journey to enterprise excellence. Eric Wahl, graffiti artist and corporate thought leader will challenge attendees to change their creative thinking process as he shares his message and his artwork with attendees. Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, will share his unconventional perspective that explains why some people and organizations are more innovative, more profitable, command greater loyalty and are able to repeat their successes. Billy Taylor, Director of North America Operations for Goodyear Tire will deliver a powerful leadership message and show practical examples of how to drive and sustain results and while embracing your organization’s culture and engaging employees.

Cheryl Cran, author of best-selling book 101 Ways to Make Generations X, Y and Zoomers Happy at Work, will deliver a keynote address on collaboration, innovation and leading change. Cran will include real-life examples and case studies focused on helping you grow a fast-paced, technological and multi-generational workplace. You’ll also hear from James Bonini, general manager of Toyota Production System Support Center and project general manager of Toyota’s Operations Management Development Division at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. Bonini will share his thoughts and insight on lean and the Toyota Production System.

The first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, Carey Lohrenz knows what it takes to win under pressure, reduce errors and overcome obstacles in extreme environments. She will share vital lessons in leadership that are as critical on the flight deck as in the front office: inspire, use good judgment, take initiative and make powerful decisions with integrity. You will learn how mastery of these fundamentals will help your team triumph in our high-risk, time-crunched world. Lohrenz will challenge you to achieve higher levels of personal and organizational performance.

As with all AME international conferences, you’ll have the chance to hear and learn from practitioners. Learn 10 key lessons that have transformed Autoliv from a struggling corporation into the world’s leading supplier of automotive safety products and one of the world’s few globally-lean companies. Hear about building an unbeatable organization through implementing the ideas of workers, releasing their total capability, and understand how to develop leaders as teachers. Attend the presentation by Dell associates to learn how to successfully extend and sustain your lean transformation initiatives beyond the factory floor. Gain valuable lessons learned about how teams use traditional lean tools and methods such as kaizen and value stream mapping to gain improvement and value in the office. Learn from Menlo Innovations – challenge yourself to rethink and plan your culture as you understand the difference between a default culture and an intentional one. Explore how joyful intention brings great business results. Gain insight on how to establish a sustainable, organization-wide innovation process, as Zodiac Arresting Systems has done. Examine a documented procedure for the capture, evaluation and storage of new ideas, engaging all employees in innovative thinking to help achieve your company’s desired future state.

Join us for a remarkable opportunity to hear insights from Kata thought leaders in a Special Interest Session offering. Gain understanding about the power of Toyota Kata and how it can transform an organization. Learn how A3s and other lean tools fit well within this concept. Expect examples of relevant case studies including Kata utilized in manufacturing as well as health care and other non-manufacturing environments. Engage in dialog and understand how to apply Kata thinking in a broad range of organizational environments. Whether you’re well on your way in your Kata journey or you’re just getting started and want to learn more, you’re sure to benefit from this session.

Did you know that you will have the opportunity to go to the gemba? Visit Anheuser-Busch LLC and observe the art of brewing and state-of-the-art technology (including OEE/machine reliability) as you discover how some of the world’s greatest beers are carefully brewed and packaged. Learn about the brewery’s sustainable approach for the use of natural resources, and hear about its quality initiatives that ensure taste and consistency with other breweries. Hear about benchmarked strategic planning, the transition to self-directed work teams, plant cleanliness and supplier connections to minimize inventory. At Rex Corporation, see how employees have learned from earlier, less-than-satisfactory improvement initiatives, later achieving a successful lean turnaround. Hear how the company has sustained its performance gains during the past seven years. Thanks to engaged employees, the organization is achieving cultural transformation.

Optional workshops, on the Monday before and the Friday after the conference, are designed to offer you deeper dives into a variety of lean topics.

I’m honored to be serving as Chair and supporting a team of dedicated volunteers who are putting together this incredible learning opportunity. On behalf of the entire Jacksonville conference team, we look forward to sharing, learning and growing with you in November!

Ellen Sieminski is the AME Jacksonville 2014 Conference Chair. Edited by Joy Chang, Digital Project Manager, CFE Media, jchang(at)