A Lean View from the C-Suite

Rick Duha, CEO, Duha Group of Companies | 9 a.m. 

In this rare opportunity for a “gloves off” frank discussion with a successful lean transformation CEO in a small manufacturing enterprise (SME), Rick Duha will share some of his personal war stories. What did the decisions made look like from the C-Suite?  How tough was it to stay the course?  Where did the home runs come from? Where was the foul line?   What would have been done differently if time could be turned back? The view of continuous improvement from the top of an organization is a singular and unique one. Clearly, a successful lean journey is not about one position in a company, but as a CEO, Duha will discuss his opinion on the influences, both the good ones and the ones that can use “continuous improvement,” that he and others in his position may have along their lean journeys. 

Driving Operational Effectiveness in Complex Process Industries

Michael Rothschild, CEO and Founder, Profit Velocity Solutions | 10 a.m. 

Most management teams associate operational excellence programs with lean, Six Sigma and supply chain management activities designed to improve operational efficiency. Few, however, understand the importance of operational effectiveness as a driver of value creation within an operational excellence program. This presentation will introduce the missing metric of profit velocity and discuss its critical importance in guiding pricing, production and sales management decisions that will result in improved operational effectiveness and shareholder value. 

Innovation or Improvement: Does It Really Matter?

Jon Theuerkauf, Six Sigma Master Black Belt, GE Capital | 11 a.m.

Jon Theuerkauf seeks to tease out the difference between improvement and innovation in an organizational context not as a mere exercise in semantics, but to understand how both processes produce somewhat similar results, yet they differ in subtle ways. The message take-away is not the definition of individual words, but the fact that both innovations and improvements proliferate in organizations that foster a community of involvement with team collaboration and a culture welcoming new ideas and allowing experimentation and failure. Both improvement and innovation are rooted in engaging collective minds of people. Who are those people? They are a community made up of a department, a company, the customer base or the population of the planet.

People are the engine that, when led and managed correctly with a good set of tools, will collectively create ideas that will generate solutions to problems, come up with the next best product, or see an untapped niche. Innovation and improvement programs do not need to exist isolated from each other as they appear to be in some companies; e.g., technology companies tend to push innovation, while heavy manufacturing companies rely on measured improvements. While Theuerkauf explores the differences between improvement and innovation processes so his company can reduce duplicative systems for “making something better,” he will share how improvements and innovations arise from a community of collective minds in an environment that encourages expression, sharing, trust and even fast failure.

Protecting Innovation: Intellectual Asset Protection in the Process Industry

Vincent Howell, Manager, Information Security and Policy, Corning Inc. | 1 p.m. 

The process industry is one of the world’s most innovative industries. It is an industry that touches most products that impact our daily lives. Examples include chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, glass and ceramics, and food, just to name a few. Furthermore, the products from this industry continue to improve, making available to the world products that were unheard of just a few years ago. A case in point is pharmaceutical innovations that have helped eradicate diseases.

To achieve such breakthroughs, innovation and invention have been required. A recent American Chemical Council study states, “In 2012, chemical companies invested $57 billion in research and development to support new innovation. In fact, 17 percent of U.S. patents are chemistry or chemistry-related like life-saving medical treatments, automobile safety improvements and clean energy technologies.” With this in mind, it is critical for us to understand not only the importance of innovation, but also the need to protect the innovations that result in technological, economic and human benefit. Many would agree with Peter Drucker’s statement: “Innovation is the fuel of corporate longevity. It endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” It is these intellectual assets that come from the innovation process that we must protect. This presentation will discuss the concept of intellectual assets, considerations that should be made to protect them, and, ultimately, why protecting these assets is critical to the corporate and economic longevity of process industries. 

Maximizing Business Value of Production with Existing Assets

Carlos Moreno, CEO and Founder, Ultramax Corp. | 2 p.m. 

Most production/manufacturing operations fall short of utilizing all the capabilities of their assets in terms of achieving metrics important to the business. This presentation covers a practical solution to gain that unrealized value by applying an advanced supervisory control designed to complement existing process control systems. Existing process controls have included various approaches to regulatory control and several with various levels of supervisory control logic.


OpEx Across the Culture: A Midsize Manufacturing Company

Ronald Bracalente, President & CEO, Bracalente Manufacturing Group | 3 p.m. 

How does a third-generation family business in the machine shop trade survive the era of manufacturing globalization and the Great Recession and become stronger than they have ever been?  

Bracalente Manufacturing Group is a third-generation family business specializing in contract manufacturing in the field of precision machining for OEMs in the agricultural, recreation, medical, industrial, aerospace and energy industries.


Who we are is defined by our people, our systems, our capability and our global reach. Our culture is made up of family values, accountability, knowing there is always a better way, continuous improvement and positive attitude. Our systems are cutting-edge, utilizing the latest in computer technology to communicate and facilitate our business so we can plug into our employees, customers and suppliers from all around the globe.Our capability is whatever our customers want and or need. And our global reach is wherever our industry may take us to provide value for our customers.Listen to Ron Bracalente, third-generation president and CEO of Bracalente Manufacturing Group, on how he combined people, business and culture to create success.