EMC Cornwall & Brockville & Area Regions SIG Event Summary: The Path to Operational Excellence

December 21, 2018 Bren de LeeuwEastern Ontario 382 Views

EMC Members and Guests throughout Eastern Ontario were invited to participate in a very special session with Chad Metcalf, President, Value Stream Solutions on “The Path to Operational Excellence”

Networking sessions were held at Dynamic Closures Ltd. in Cornwall and at INVISTA Canada Co. in Maitland in the latter part of November 2018.

When it comes to Operational Excellence the terminology can be rather broad in its scope.  Our Speaker encouraged participants to share what might be some of the “bumps in the road” that they have encountered such as technology advancements or lack of, talent, leadership and so forth.  We talked about gaining support and commitment with projects, meeting expectations and attracting good people.

Chad mentioned that today’s leaders need to put an optimistic spin on what we are doing.  He takes the time to review Canadian and US business markets to understand how that may impact our employees futures and as leaders, we need to have the “big picture” in mind.  We need to be clear on what our goals are particularly when leading an organization through change.  How you are feeling today has a lot to do with industry, where your customers are located, how long you have been in business, your relative performance, and what the future outlook may be, etc.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the business world today whether because of new and impending regulations and trade agreements, political climate, economic issues and so forth.

Chad shared that the need for operational excellence is clear because although the continuous improvement focus has been helping, sustainability is one of the biggest challenges.  Operational excellence is really what continuous improvement means and implementing and sustaining the culture piece of that is where most companies have problems.

We talked about the necessity of making sure we have the correct measures in place for the right behaviours.

Culture is the collective actions and behaviours of a company and whether you actively try and shape one or not – there will be a culture. 

With Chad’s guidance, we also reviewed the importance of Vision statements.  It forms the basis of “where we are going” and what we are about.  What then is operational excellence and how does it help define us and where we are going as a company?  How do you use your Vision to align your people and set direction on where you are going?

A Vision statement allows you to connect conversations with what people are doing and where the company is going.  It’s a tool that can be integrated and used in conversations every day.

Values are who we are and what are our shared beliefs that can guide us to operational excellence.  It forms the foundation where we are starting from and how we treat each other.

Vision and Values are really important leadership tools and we need to consider how we effectively use them every day.  Leadership is not about position and title, it’s about behaviours and actions and Vision and Value are cornerstones of that.

Roles determine who is accountable for what and how we will support each other in the most important tasks.  Traditionally, organizations were built around silos.  In lean relationships, everything is about the supplier-customer relationship which has departments working cohesively for the good of the company.  As leaders, our roles then would be to ensure that any roadblocks are removed so that people can complete their jobs.

Chad also reviewed the methods companies might utilize to help with their visioning including the use of lean, process stabilization and flow enabling tools.

We also talked about various measures and he suggested that companies look at things that employees see every day and can then react.  What can they relate to?  What charts would be meaningful?  Site KPI’s – revenue, safety, quality, delivery, cost, engagement…

In summary, Chad shared his thoughts that Continuous Improvement is not unlike experimentation – there is implementation but there is also required alignment between our vision, measures, methods, roles and values – the latter which steers our entire direction.  All of these need to be in alignment with our continuous improvement plans.

There was considerable discussion throughout each of the events and participants shared experiences and asked questions of our Speaker.

If you would like to connect with Chad, please feel free to reach out to him at Value Stream Solutions via his email address at:

As a Preferred EMC Supplier, we have a number of excellent courses available both in-house and privately that compliment our session today.  A few of these are highlighted below and if you would like additional information on these or any other Training Programs relating to the tools and Management of Lean and/or Human Capital courses not listed here that VSS provides, Chad, Amy Edwards, our Training Coordinator (, or I would be happy to help you in that regard.

Trust, Teamwork & High Performance! – 1-Day Program

  • The greatest roadblock to continuous improvement is, or will be, the workplace culture. Lean practitioners and leaders around the World unite on this issue. Without a culture that supports the use of the Lean methods you've spent years learning, change will be difficult and sustaining those changes, near impossible.

Lean Leadership – 2-Day Program

  • Focused on Leadership this new comprehensive program is designed for anyone who leads or manages teams and is accountable for delivering results in their organization.

Lean Strategies for Executives & Leaders - 1-Day Program

  • A look at competitive forces that effect your organization and how ‘Lean Strategies’ can be used to improve competitiveness and global performance.

Management Skills & Leadership Styles – 1 Day Program

  • This course teaches the minimum legal requirements needed for supervising people and processes, while building leadership skills and coaching/mentoring strategies.

The Practice of Leadership Workshop – 3-Day Program

  • The purpose of this training to develop a greater 'bench strength' among employees and future leaders and to move away from 'boss / employee' to 'coach / team' culture. The program uses a variety of methods to have people discover what tendencies they already have (good and bad) and how to transition those tendencies to coaching behaviours. Given that becoming a leader is a lifelong journey, this program sets out to create the right behaviours that participants can practice and master with each other throughout their careers.

Facilitation Skills Training (Train the Trainer)- 2-Day Program

  • Facilitation is an essential business skill when working with teams of people to complete projects, engage in problem solving, train them in a subject or skill and to implement change.

Team Facilitation Skills – 2-Day Program

  • This workshop develops participant’s skills and knowledge in the role of facilitator.  Facilitation is an essential business skill when working with teams of people to complete projects, engage in problem solving or implement kaizen improvements. At a minimum, every team leader, supervisor and manager should have the skills to facilitate action and empower teams to get the results they need.

Looking ahead, we have an exciting year of activity planned for 2019 and hope that you will be able to join us!  Please mark your calendar for our next Regional Consortium Events which are scheduled as follows:


Click to RSVP

Cornwall & Regional SIG Event
Host:  MPIQC
Business Growth Through Exporting with
EDC (Export Development Canada); MEDJCT (Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade); Trade Commissioner Service; and the Magnet Export Business Portal


Click to RSVP

Brockville & Regional SIG Event
Host:  Hewitt (Brockville) Ltd.
Programming and Scheduling Training Opportunities; Employee Testing and Performance Evaluations

A Little Reminder:  To stay abreast of upcoming Events, please check your Member Consortium page and save the dates.  Our Host and your peers would love to have you join us! 

Very, very special thanks to our fabulous Hosts, Dynamic Closures Ltd. in Cornwall, and INVISTA Canada Co. for the warm welcomes and to our Guest Speaker – Chad Metcalf, President, Value Stream Solutions for providing us with such an excellent presentation!

All the best as always!


Bren de Leeuw, Director – Interim Field Service Advisor
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - - 519-372-6009