Is Rhode Island at the Tipping Point for Lean?

by Linda Kleineberg | May 21, 2013

Process Improvement.
Regulatory Reform.
Workforce Development.
Factory Tours.
Government / Private Sector Collaboration and Sharing.

These were the themes at the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Manufacturer's Association (RIMA). Looking around the room, I was struck by the number of attendees that have "Come to the GEMBA" at VIBCO Headquarters. To date, we've toured more than 6,000 people through our plant. They come to VIBCO to learn about Lean, Operational Excellence, and Organizational Culture; to gain inspiration to change and improve their own organizations; and to see the potential of an engaged workforce. Visitors have included private and public sector employees; manufacturing and service sectors, union and non-union, government officials and news media. 

"The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshhold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." - Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Now Available in the VIBCO Bookstore

Is that what is happening in Rhode Island right now?  Have we finally reached the threshold? Has "Vibration Nation" thinking Tipped?

  • Bob Nangle, CEO of RIMA, spoke about the strength of the Rhode Island Manufacturing Community. It is cleaner, faster, more innovative, and more responsive today than ever before.
  • Deborah Gist, Education Commissioner, spokeDeboarah Gist about an in-progress initiative to tour manufacturing facilities and to collaborate with the manufacturing sector to ensure our young people are ready to work in Rhode Island industries upon graduation. Show Support for Commissioner Gist at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, May 23 at 5:30pm.
  • Bill McCourt recognized the efforts at the Department of Environmental Management to implement Lean - those efforts have long been championed by Terry Gray. They are gaining great support and momentum under the leadership of Janet Coit, with the help of Tom Pesaturo of Exceeda Consulting.
  • Governor Lincoln Chafee highlighted Regulatory Reform and his challenge to government departments to really listen to the Voice of the Customer

It's gratifying to hear words, hopes, and ideals that we hold so dear become the framework for a conversation on how to create a new future for Rhode Island. We are proud to be part of the solution.