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Your small plane has crash-landed in the deserted wilderness of the subarctic and you must decide the importance of each item in your possession as it relates to your survival. Are you better off as an individual or with a team?

This is the premise of our Survival Simulation, which was run at an annual training event for Nissan Canada. Due to COVID, this event wasn’t held in-person, so on Friday, December 11th nearly 100 Nissan employees joined a Zoom call from their various home offices to participate in this fun, challenging, and educational activity. Utilizing “breakout rooms” participants were still able to experience the small group collaborations which are vital to this exercise.  

After the exercise, students took the Group Styles Inventory (GSI) assessment. This assessment highlights team behavior features that help (or hinder) a team’s performance in a way that makes it easier for the individuals to discuss scenarios to overcome team interaction obstacles and achieve a more effective teamwork dynamic. 

The Survival Simulation along with the GSI assessment made for a perfect team-building experience that left participants with a new understanding of the importance of team dynamics. 

This is just one of the numerous training simulations we offer as part of our consulting services. You can read more about some of our simulations here or contact us to discuss how we can help with your team building.

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TGG Board Member, John Biedry, was the chairperson for the Operational Excellence & Process Transformation Summit held in Boston, Mass in November 2019. Knowing the important role Lean plays in operations and processes, he invited our President Zack Guthrie to be a speaker at the event. John also spoke at the event (pictured below).

Zack was one of 25 speakers and led two sessions during the three-day conference. The first was on our “tgg Playbook” which lays out the four components of Lean transformation: Enterprise Alignment, Develop Scientists, Process Confirmation, and Continuous Results. The second session focused on Leader Standard Work (LSW) and the importance of strategic alignment.

Interested in learning more about our Playbook? Visit this page to learn about the tools tgg utilizes that make up each of these four components.  

Would you like to have Zack speak at one of your events? Contact us today!


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In November of 2019, Zack and Phil traveled to Canada to facilitate a team-building exercise as part of a large training event for Nissan field staff. They ran our PROD Simulation, which teaches Lean concepts in a fun and interactive way, with over 50 members of the technical sales team. By the end of the training team members had the skills to identify areas of waste and find opportunities for process improvements.     

For more information on the PRODSim, visit

If you’re interested in team-building exercises or Lean Six Sigma training contact us today.


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Have you ever wondered what IS Lean Six Sigma? How is it beneficial to me or my company? Does it actually work? If so, then we have an opportunity you don’t want to miss! Join us for a webinar on Thursday, August 15th at 11:00am and learn more about the basics of Lean Six Sigma.

After this presentation, you will…

  • Understand the basics of Lean and Six Sigma
  • Be able to identify eight different types of waste
  • Understand the importance of standardization
  • Know about management styles and the mechanics of change

Click here to register and reserve your webinar seat.

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Event Consultant: Zack Guthrie

Event Description: Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) Train The Trainer Event

Event Location: Fort Worth, Texas


Problem Statement:

  • The Make-Ready time for ABC was above average. The target is to reduce the average M/R time by 20%.

Event Objectives:

  • Improve Safety
  • Reduce Make-Ready Time.
  • Identify all external make-ready activities.
  • Streamline all internal make-ready activities.
  • Clearly define simultaneous internal make-ready activities responsibilities and timing.
  • Organize and define 5S activities as it relates to Make-Ready.
  • Replicate to other Presses
  • Create Make-Ready Standard Work and targets.

Improvements Implemented:

  • 18 safety hazards were corrected, including replacing cracked electrical outlets, repairing stair gaps, and implementing the use of a dolly to decrease the risk of injury when moving large objects.
  • Using 5s practices we reduced waiting and waste of motion by creating a shadow board for tools, a Make-Ready portable kit with needed supplies, a staging area for “Next Job” material, as well as dedicated areas for completed jobs and other material.   
  • Created standard work for multiple processes to reduce variation and provide training documentation. Also created a Gantt chart for Make-Ready standard work with visual components for a medium complexity change-over.  
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On May 22, 2018, Zack had the pleasure of meeting the famous Jim Womack at one of our Lean Events. 

Jim is best known for 

    • Research director, MIT motor vehicle programs, 1979-1992
    • Founder, CEO and now Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute > 1997
    • Author: Machine That Changed the World, Lean Thinking, Lean Solutions, Gemba Walks, etc.
    • Gemba walker since the early 1970s


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On October 24th, Zack was honored to speak at the 2017 NCBA Management Team Conference in Greensboro.

This conference provided opportunity for industry leaders to connect and be informed about the latest banking issues. This information provided is current and marked the path to the future of financial institutions and its leaders.

Zack’s presentation entitled Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Banking Industry, spoke on how LifeStore bank mapped their current state process, made improvements using LSS, created and implemented standard work, and reduced their lead time to close a mortgage by greater than 50%. These tools can be used to make improvements with customers that make every process step easier, faster, safer, better, and cheaper.


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PaperWorks Celebrated 19 Green Belt Recipients 

These employees worked diligently during the last year to complete two concentrations for their Green Belt certification. They celebrated everyone’s completed progress on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Completing these two concentrations included:

  • Projects
  • Book Reports
  • Online Course Work
  • In-class Training

In addition, there were four participants who completed their Green Belts last year and leveled-up this year by completing more concentrations.




View some of the images from the ceremony






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Event Consultant: Arnold George

Event Description: MGB Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) Kaizen

Event Location: Baldwinsville, NY

Purpose for Week’s Activities:

  • Review videos from Week 1 changeovers
  • Determine what internal changeover elements can be moved to external
  • Identify opportunities to eliminate and reduce non-value added and business value-added tasks
  • Identify opportunities to modify the equipment to make it more conducive to SMED principles of safe, faster and mistake proof
  • Create Standard Work for all crews to follow
  • Create training plan to implement changes across all shifts
  • Reduce average change over time

Largest Categories of Waste – Motion, Rework, Over Processing (adjustments)

Reduce Motion –

  • Sequenced work steps
  • Each step was identified as VA or NVA
  • If possible, NVA steps were eliminated by using templates and quick change tools
  • Activities were organized so the operator and feeder worked in tandem rather than separately
  • Reduced tasks
  • The number of trips to check and reset fixtures was reduced

Over Processing –

  • Work steps were redesigned to take advantage of quick change hardware and incorporate tools into the machine
  • X locations were located on the machine where tool-less quick release fixtures were installed (Y other locations identified for expansion)
  • Identified Z opportunities to remove non-value added tasks

Things Implemented This Week

  • Quick change hardware
  • Hardware standardization
  • Machine modifications
  • Exposed all 3 shifts to the new process
  • Buy into the process
  • Detailed Standard Work steps were tested on two changeovers

Overall Observations This Week

  • The team remained diligent through the SMED training and were intent on identifying and eliminating waste throughout the process.
  • One team member did not originally think we could achieve our goal of an X minute changeover, but after the exercise believed a sub-hour make ready is possible.
  • The _____ crew was very diligent about their work during these changeovers and desired to improve their last performance and get to the running stage quickly.
  • We observed several mechanical delays that were unexpected. These are true opportunities to investigate and drive out the root causes.
  • The crew was very helpful in validating these elements during the week. One operator led the team on his first changeover and was able to beat the previous standard.

Next Steps

  • Finalize training plan to include four shifts of changeover training and roll out by end of month.
  • Issue the current version of Standard Work and review with users for opportunities to streamline and improve.
  • Continue to develop tools to reduce adjustment and set up times.
  • Continue working with maintenance to identify better ways of setting up, and eliminate the need for adjustments.
  • Incorporate tools into hardware so no tools are required.
  • Continue to monitor changeover results and perform root cause analysis to reduce time from last good part to first good part.


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Event Consultant: Lynn Clark

Event Description: Inserter DOE Week 2

Event Location: Baldwinsville, NY

Preliminary Questions (from last report):

  • What is the relationship between the quality control measures Baldwinsville takes and the defects observed at another plant?
  • Is the sampling frequency appropriate to keep bad product out of customer’s process?
  • How well does BVL perform those measures?
  • How well do the quality control measures meet the customer specs (Capability)?

This Week’s Key Actions:

  • Conducted capability analysis of __________ hourly quality measurements.
  • Compared ___________ hourly quality measurements with customer defects.
  • Prepared samples for Measurement System Analysis (MSA) evaluation.
  • Conducted operator measurements.
  • Performed MSAs.
  • Prepared conclusions and recommendations based upon MSA findings.
  • Reviewed and updated action registry.

Capability Analysis:

  • Many parameters are measured hourly and entered into _________.
  • Data for Feb., March, and April was evaluated.
  • Each parameter was checked for normality and stability before performing capability analysis.

MSA Sample Preparation:

  • Off spec item was used for this test so no additional scrap was generated.
  • The operator manipulated the _______ to induce variation consistent with that observed in the historical data.
  • Ten samples were pre-selected by CI team for each of the three parameters.
  • Four operators who routinely perform these test participated.
  • The samples were randomized before presentation to the operators.

MSA Analysis:

  • Each operator evaluated each sample twice
  • Two operators indicated they could not measure skew considering the way the samples were prepared,
  • Good measurement systems have <10% Tolerance and Process.
  • %Tol and % Process must be <30% for acceptance.

MSA Conclusions and Recommendations:

  • Current process measurements can’t tell good from bad, or if the process is getting better or worse.
  • No standard work for X exists.
  • Standard work for alignment and width were not present.

Use of black light at measurement station appears to aid in reduction of measurement error.            







Path Forward:

  • Develop/Revise standard work for all measurements
  • Trial use of black lights at measurement stations
  • Train all operators who perform the measurements
  • Re-run MSA to determine if %Tol is <30%.
  • Modify leader standard work to include spot checks of measurement system.


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Define your Problem Statement.

The first step towards breaking your organizational log jams is identifying and verbalizing the challenge you're facing. What are you trying to solve? This simple Problem Statement exercise can have profound implications for your team. It helps you define the issue and gives TGG some sense of where the soft spots could be in your Order to Cash process. We invite you to take a few moments to fill out this form. A TGG consultant will contact you shortly to discuss your Problem Statement and provide some insight on how we may be able to help.

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