A year ago this month, my article "Shingo’s Know Why" was published in Superfactory, marking the beginning of an enormously rewarding relationship with Kevin Meyer and the Superfactory readers. Shortly after the article was published, Kevin asked me to join him in the blog, and to my amazement, only the terms "Superfactory", "Evolving Excellence" and "Taichi Ohno" draw more readers to the blog than the term "Bill Waddell". More people come to Evolving Excellence looking for me than they do looking for "Shigeo Shingo" or "Toyota", which I find both astounding and humbling.
Many readers may not know that quite a bit of my blogging derives directly from you. I am swamped with email from people from all over the world, asking questions or making comments that they prefer to make privately, rather than post them on the blog. That direct involvement with the readers has enabled me to learn more than I have taught. With the exception of a computer disaster a few weeks ago, causing me to lose a loaded inbox (mostly with email pointing out the genetic defects that drove me to criticize MRP), I believe I can honestly say that I have answered every one of them, although sometimes it takes a few days.
Your ideas and suggestions for blog topics have not only been a great cure for my occasional bouts of writer’s block, but the best way for me to comply with the very lean principle of giving my customers what they need. If you click on my profile here, or at the top of the page on the right, you will find my email address. Please continue to use it freely to ask questions, challenge my thinking, to tell me a story of lean success or failure, or to simply to introduce yourself.
It is directly in response to your requests that I formalized and rolled out my Lean Manufacturing Management Essential Overview Course. Superfactory readers asked (demanded might be a better term) for me to package the core principles that drive my blogging into something for their company management. The best outcome of that effort has been the chance to meet some of the readers and to get into quite a few of your plants to see your version of evolving excellence. The Essential Overview Course will even find its way to Superfactory readers in Europe and Asia this summer.
The purpose of my blog post today is to thank Kevin for allowing me a chance to use the Superfactory forum, but even more to thank you for your support. I appreciate the fact that so many of you honor me by reading what I have to say, by buying my book, and by inviting me to teach in your factories. I also appreciate the fact that so many of you have graciously forgiven my occasional rants when emotion gets the better of me. And I thank you for giving me a great learning experience as you question and challenge me, forcing me to continue to evolve to what I hope some day is my own level of excellence. It has been a great year for me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.