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Karl specializes in end to end process and value stream management. He is considered a Lean Sensei and learned the Lean practice while working 13 years directly for Toyota. He gained tremendous knowledge of Lean from his own Japanese Sensei’s while working at both the US and Japan Toyota facilities. He was hired as one of the first leaders to transfer the Toyota Production System from Japan to the US Georgetown KY facility. Karl worked as a Quality Engineer and quickly advanced from his intense lean training and performance results into various roles. He was Model Change Leader for the first three vehicle launches, Manager of Stamping Production and crossed trained to hold senior management positions in both Engineering and Quality.
As a Senior Lean Sensei, Karl has successfully taught and implemented his learned skills as a Plant Manager for a Tier 1 Supplier. He has consulted senior leaders at major automotive manufacturers such as Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, & Volkswagon to support Lean transformation initiatives. Other examples include Karl successfully implemented TPS tools in the crane industry in the US, Italy and France and facilitated a 5 day kaizen event for the US Air Force at the Pentagon. Karl also spent four years in the garment industry in Sri Lanka successfully leading clients to develop and implement their own production system, emulating core principles and practices of TPS. Karl believes a key to success is building simple systems that give repeatable, sustainable results as autonomously as possible by the owners of the process.
Area of Expertise
- Kaizen, Kanban Implementation, Kaizen Events
- Inventory Reduction
- One Piece Flow
- SMED, Poke Yoke
- Cycle Time Reduction, Balanced Line Prod, Yamazumi
- Just-In-Time Production
- Toyota Production System
- Pull Manufacturing
- Visual Controls
- Process Flow & Value-Stream Mapping
- Transactional implementation
- Sample of organizations served: General Motors Assembly Division, Volkswagen of America, Toyota, Several lean consulting groups, Ford, Mitsubishi/Caterpillar Forklift of America, SW Manufacturing, Tower Automotive, Chrysler, Averitt Express (Mercedes cross-dock warehouse), Terex Crane, US Air Force, Volkswagen of Argentina, MAS Holdings (Sri Lanka), Canadian Pacific Railroad, Wells Fargo, ARJ Manufacturing, Husqvarna Outdoor Products, John Deere, Brandix (Sri Lanka), Allied Specialty Vehicles, Webasto Roof Systems, Raybestos Powertrain, Bar Louie.
- My 33+ year career path as a full time employee was 7 years with General Motors as a welder, press operator and met repairman. 10 years with Volkswagen starting the 1st American automotive transplant. 12+ years with Toyota starting their 1st wholly own American factory. 3.5 years as Plant Manager. Operations Manager, Quality Manager with 1st tier suppliers.
- My 12+ year career path as a Consultant has been facilitating organizational transformation through leadership development & training, strategy development & alignment, organizational infrastructure design, process management, change management & strategic Lean Six Sigma business improvement services in Automotive, Heavy Manufacturing, Rail Road, garment, Military, Banking process improvements.
- My professional international travels have taken me to Germany, Mexico, Japan, Argentina, France, Italy, and Canada with assignments up to 3 years.
- Sample of just a few significant achievements as a full time employee:
- 1) Started 2 new automotive factories from the ground floor for different companies. Participated in hiring and training.
- 2) Volkswagen of America: Plant start up with my initial responsibilities to hire and train all metal finish repair employees. I was responsible during production for final metal repair out of Body Shop as well is Final Assembly door fits and major metal repair area. I was promoted to plant quality supervisor with responsibility for Body Shop Inspection. I spent I year in a Volkswagen’s Puebla Mexico plant as liaison for quality (dimensional control and weld integrity) for the Jetta body shell that was framed in Mexico the shipped for re-spot and assembly in Pennsylvania.
- 3) Toyota Motor Manufacturing USA: Quality Engineer- Launched of the first solely owned Toyota plant in the USA. The philosophy was to hire as many people without automotive experience from within the state of Kentucky to be able to formulate good work habits from the beginning. I was part of the interview team during the initial hiring. I was tasked to quickly learn the Toyota Production System and establish the proper systems to assure quality. The systems had to cover weld integrity; dimensional accuracy and surface finish control. A quality section was established and trained as well as the training of manufacturing staff to assure “built in quality” not “inspected in quality”. The successful start of production happened 4 months after I started with the second shift beginning after 9 months. Assistant Manager – Production Engineering- I led the Toyota Georgetown factory’s 1st major model change pilot group of 50 Production, Maintenance, Quality and Tool & Die member members. This successful experience took me to 14 trips to Japan visiting machine builders, Toyota factories and Engineering offices. My project team managed three new models to be launched within the same year. My team worked with both parts and equipment suppliers to have the smoothest model launch. We made adjustments at the equipment manufacturer prior to delivery for things such as ergonomics, equipment efficiencies, cycle times, spare parts, etc. I was responsible to make the Body shop tryout schedule to allow us to tweak out parts and equipment prior to launch as well as meet the tryout part requirements for other departments and suppliers. Manager – Production – Stamping- My philosophy was “structure drives behavior and behavior drives the culture”. Therefore I developed a culture were people felt empowered to solve problems themselves at the lowest possible level not wait for management to solve all problems for them, I gave them a method to list their daily problems and track the countermeasure effectiveness daily themselves. I established a clear system as of how major breakdowns were handled as well as a reflection process to prevent reoccurrence. I wrote clear expectations for communication (Who was to inform whom and within what time frame). I implemented a check book system for budget control down to group level. Manager – Production Engineering – Stamping- Led new model coordination major breakdown prevention. This included installation of a large transfer press and a tryout press. I developed a “make vs. buy” procedure. I led preventative maintenance reviews to prevent reoccurrences and predictable failures. Manager – Quality Control- Implemented Department financial control system (lean accounting); I managed implementation of paperless computerized inspection system. I assisted the General Manager in combining the previous Quality Control and Quality Engineering departments into one department.
- 4) Mitsubishi/Caterpillar Forklift of America: Engineering Services Manager- Main focus was to turn “Job Shop” production process into Lean assembly line “automotive style” production. I managed seven Manufacturing engineers and Managers teaching and implementing lean methods. I taught and implemented “Hoshin Kanri” (annual plan) and project planning methods, as well as how manufacturing engineering supported production with standardized work, problem solving and continuous improvements, visual controls, preventive maintenance, lean measurables, etc. I realigned fabrication process flow to minimize waste such as walk, ergonomic burdens, wait time, etc. teaching lean tools such as work balance charts (yamazumi charts). I supported moving “off-line” option processes to “on-line” assembly to reduce plant WIP and paint mutilation.
- 5) SW Manufacturing: Plant Manager– Manufacturing, Quality, Engineering, Information Systems, Shipping/Receiving, & Scheduling departments reported directly to me. HR and Accounting had dotted line reporting between me and corporate office. I reported directly to a Japanese VP. I was responsible for P&L. I developed a “joint management” style and introduced “Hoshin Kanri” (annual plan). I assigned department heads as element champions to developed and track goals with concurrence in major decision making as a team. This included capitol expenditures, hiring, key point targets and goals etc… I improved OSHA recordable results by 20 percent over previous year. Initially SW Manufacturing had many lean systems on the surface. Kanbans were used for labels and not ordering, discipline of following systems such as 4S, standard work, was weak. My daily challenge was to drive adherence and consistency within the organization.
- 6) Tower Automotive: Operations / Quality Leader- Initially as Operations Leader the Assembly, Stamping, Maintenance, & Tool & Die departments reported directly to me. My initial role was to develop an improved overall process utilizing the TPS/Lean manufacturing concepts. I implemented daily joint information meetings on the floor with all support departments. I established a visual system to track top problems. This allowed all employees could see that support departments had a clear understanding of their problems, who was assigned to their problems and the timing of problem improvement activities. I established a “Hoshen” annual planning process and seven small group employee involvement teams. My secondary role was to improve relationships with our customers (Toyota, BMW & Nissan). I directly interfaced with customer contacts, work to improve cultural understanding and clarify that expectations were met. I became the Quality Leader due to staff reductions stemming from corporate bankruptcy process.
- Sample of just a few significant achievements as a coach, mentor and consultant: 1) Changed “Job Shop” type manufacturing to “Just In Time“ assembly line manufacturing in 7 months. 2) Implemented Toyota style Hoshin Kanri Annual planning with many companies. 3) Developed warehouse management system including bar coding and just in time delivery to main auto plant. 4) Led reduction a established system in the military from 30+ days to 12.5 hours using a kaizen event in the Pentagon. 5) implemented a Toyota style Management system to a successful production system in 3 years in the garment industry which included unprecedented 1 piece flow with all systems that made that achievable and tripled throughput in my pilot factory in 1.5 years. 6) In 16 months mentored a seasoned traditional manager to a Lean Manager. His responsible area achieved best in class for quality, designed/implemented a new electronic production andon board, trained trained team leaders as problem solvers using 5 Why and A3 thinking, implemented flow racks in to model operations the reduced walking by 1000+ miles per year. 7) Reduced production downtime caused by warehouse line feeds by 87% in 4 months.
- Certificate: Shihan Black Belt Sensei (Master Instructor in Advanced Toyota Production System) Issued by TSD. I completed Toyota training classes in the following: Standardized Work, Meeting Facilitation, Problem Solving, Problem Solving for Managers, Practical Problem Solving, Kaizen, Quality Circles and Manufacturing Processes, SPC, Conflict Management, Situational Leadership just to name a few. I completed Dale Carnegie’s Public Speaking course as impromptu speaking champion. I was certified in Welding Theory. I am well versed in Microsoft Office applications including Access, Word, Excel, and Power Point. I have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
I am a high school graduate and attended both Kent State and Pittsburg State University’s taking course work as required to support my career and toward an engineering degree.