Business associates reviewing notes together in a meeting.


Repairing Your Smartphone With A Butter Knife
October 12, 2018

By George Strodtbeck A good leader should focus on making sure everyone is being given the tools to do their job, not just expecting – poof! – that they’re going to produce great work. — Anne Sweeney, formerly the co-chair of Disney Media I was recently asked a question that I have been thinking about

Message To Leaders: You Are Missing The Point!
October 5, 2018

By George Strodtbeck Three things leaders don’t understand about the value of six sigma.  This is intended for leaders of organizations. It is meant to make you stop and think about three points that I have observed you are missing when it comes to committing to deploying Six Sigma (or any continuous improvement system) into your

Six Sigma is Dead. The Next Big Thing.
September 25, 2018

How many improvement philosophies can there be? We had: Plan Do Check Act Lean Toyota Production System Kaizen 5s Six Sigma And many more… Six Sigma is a few decades old—surely it must be on its last legs? Many companies want to utilize the most effective tool and want to stamp their own cultural legacy.

July 18, 2018

By Ray Young HOW DO WE COMPETE IN TODAY’S LOWEST COST-PROVIDER WORLD? One mile down a mining shaft. Every day. A 24-hour/365-day operation. Capacity constrained. And an underutilized workforce. A major manufacturer of fertilizer products faced a dilemma: a widely variable, time-consuming process of digging through dirt and rock using a very expensive piece of

Why training doesn’t work, but building competence does
June 15, 2018

By Al Landers What makes SBTI training different from the rest? SBTI gets many calls about training Lean Sigma. The usual question that comes up is “what makes your training different from all the others”. Our training program is not about teaching a skill, but developing a competency.  It’s geared towards producing results. We can

How to Use Personal Attributes to Select Future Leaders and Strengthen Management Teams
June 6, 2018

By Bob Jeske What personal attributes are part of the criteria for selecting senior managers? Curiosity, Insight, Engagement and Determination are personal attributes that can be predictors of individual managerial success and can be measured, according to executive search firm Egon Zehnder. That’s great news but only part of the story, especially when managerial team

May 22, 2018

By Ray Young HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY A ROUTINE PROCESS SUCH AS INVOICING CAN BECOME SO COMPLICATED, ERROR PRONE AND TIME-CONSUMING? A major distributor of fertilizer products faced a dilemma: a widely-variable, time-consuming invoicing process that was vastly different from one location to another. The amount of time to process an invoice and send

April 18, 2018

By Bob Jeske Does your soon-to-retire leadership have confidence in its successors? Today’s complex business environment demands the targeted development of personal attributes in relation to your needed leadership competencies along with fundamental skills. These do not happen by chance. They are developed within the context of the unique issues your business faces. Our leadership

Why do great plans turn into chaotic execution?
March 8, 2018

By Mick Holly You probably went through an exhausting process carefully crafting your 2018 annual operating plan. The question is how confident are you that the performance improvement goals you have built into it will turn into a reality? If you are like most of the 700 clients we have worked with last 20 years,

Good to Great: Increasing the Craftiness of Woodcraft
October 24, 2017

John Gledhill seemingly had a good problem on his hands. As VP of Continuous Improvement at Quanex, a leading supplier of window and door components, he was to increase EBITDA for its recent acquisition: Woodcraft, a top supplier of doors and components to Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEMs”) in the kitchen and bathroom cabinet industry. An

How Al Landers is Integrating HBDI with Six Sigma
August 25, 2017

SBTI Vice President Al Landers was recently invited to interview for The Debrief, a newsletter for HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) Certified Practitioners. Herrmann helps organizations adapt to today’s technological advances and economic changes through Transformative Thinking. In the interview, Al Landers shares details about the executive presence programs SBTI offers to help professionals learn how to

SBTI Celebrates 20 Years of Successful Business Improvement
June 19, 2017

SBTI is proud to announce that on June 19, 2017, we celebrate our 20th anniversary, which translates to 20 years of successful client engagement, leadership development, and financial improvement. With over 400 client companies under our belt, SBTI continues to drive culture change in the world’s leading companies. In 1997, SBTI was founded with a

In Memoriam: Dr. Mikel J. Harry
May 12, 2017

Dr. Mikel Harry made his mark in business and had an impact on everyone he met. He was a force to be reckoned with, and I was fortunate to have known him and to have worked with him. That’s not to say, however, that we always agreed or got along. Like many trailblazers, Mikel’s personality

Beware the One-Trick Pony
January 11, 2017

Al Landers had just put his career on the line. As Director of R&D at Huber Engineered Woods, he was under constant pressure from top management to develop new and diverse products – the CEO often reminding him with equal parts advice and warning the pitfalls of becoming a one-trick pony. Al’s team was relatively

Comfortable With Your Performance?
November 21, 2016

“Comfortable is a word I would choose to describe an old sofa. Sadly, many people in business see it as a destination.” Published by: Mick Holly | SBTI VP of Strategy I decided I needed to improve my writing skills and joined a writing class. One of the exercises we were given was to write

Can Continuous Improvement Protect Your Economic Moat?
November 9, 2016

The term, “economic moat” was coined by Warren Buffett. Morningstar have taken this term and developed an economic moat assessment to help it rate companies. Their definition is: In a free-market economy, capital seeks the areas of highest return. Whenever a company develops a profitable product or service, it doesn’t take long before competitive forces

Enhancing Material Utilization
June 29, 2016

Background Our client is a North American rigid packaging manufacturer of plastic bottles and containers. Operational Excellence is a principle tenet of the executive leadership team specifically raw material utilization to drive improved bottom line net income.   The Challenge Balancing footprint consolidation with ongoing manufacturing efficiency efforts possessed significant challenges in resource allocations. Management

Improving Inbound Supplier Quality
June 20, 2016

CLIENT’S BACKGROUND Our client is a global power systems company. During a twenty-year period beginning in the 1990’s the company experienced 300% growth emerging as the sole independent producer of diesel power systems and components in the world. In addition to rapid expansion the company saw the complexity of its products increase in a totally

A Little Push Is All We Need Sometimes
May 20, 2016

Relatively speaking, it was a good problem for Naveen to have – as of fall 2014, customer demand had skyrocketed at this leading global maker of suspension systems for semi-trailers. And as Manufacturing Engineering Manager, a key responsibility was to address this gap.   The Current Situation Internally, no unrelenting pressure from the C-suite or

With Common Language All Shall Flow…
May 5, 2016

Fred Stone’s grimace told it all. He was straight-shooting, no-nonsense plant manager at a leading automation company in the American Midwest, where poor third quarter numbers had worsened his already bad mood — the disappointing year was continuing… The Company Story It had become abundantly clear to him in-house measures were not solving problems of

Real World Experience Makes A Human Difference
April 7, 2016

At the corporate level, this consolidation process meant the purchase and merger of a handful of companies under one umbrella, with Jay’s facility itself being a $70 million business pumping out 18,000 bumpers a day for some of the largest automakers in the world. More specifically, Jay’s facility provided bumpers to a sequencing facility which

Why do most improvement initiatives turn into cost reduction?
November 25, 2015

  So you have been to the “transformation roadshow” or launched the “insert your own catchy title initiative” or “lean enterprise”, and six months in the results are not being seen in the ultimate scorecard –the financial statements.  The quarterly numbers need to be met so we know the quickest route to moving the dial

Why leaders should go and smell the cheese
October 15, 2015

Yes, the French take their cheese very seriously. Many years ago a local company in Normandy was famous for its Camembert creations. Reputedly this company had learned the art of making this venerable fromage from a priest who came from Brie in the 18th century. His secret had been passed down though a family of