The 2006 annual conference of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence just wrapped up in Dallas. This was another record-setting conference, with almost 2,000 attendees from over 600 companies.
That means 600 of your competitors just got a little smarter. They learned about new tools, they got some new ideas, they networked with other companies from around the globe. They left inspired to become the best.
Nine major keynoters. Jim Collins, best-selling author of Good to Great and Built to Last, told us how to "get the right people on the bus, and into the right seats." William Schreyer of the Center for Strategic and International Studes told us about major trends that will impact our future. Richard Hunter, VP Americas Manufacturing for Dell, explained how his company is working to shorten order lead times from days to hours. And Dale Crownover of Texas Nameplate inspired us with stories of his small company’s path to two Baldrige Awards, and more importantly how the journey created a truly incredible company.
Sixty presentations from real practitioners at real companies in the real world… not consultants. We learned about global logistics from the experts, such as Shingo Prize winning Letterkenny Army Depot. Aerco helped us understand leadership and culture. Southwest Fabricators gave us tips on how to sustain lean after the consultants have left. dj Orthopedics told us how they turned off their shop floor MRP and use visual scheduling to run a $400 million company. Nordson described how they took the waste out of their product development process. Hamilton-Sundstrand showed us how they extended lean to the entire enterprise.
Thirty-three hands-on half- and full-day workshops such as creating the visual workplace, OEE, TWI, 3P, standard work, the Shingo Prize, and lean accounting. Nineteen plant tours of operations as diverse as Medtronic, GM, Texas Nameplate, Lockheed, Texas Instruments, and Raytheon.
If you weren’t there, two thousand of your peers and competitors just made your job a little harder. You might want to set aside the week of October 29th, 2007 for the next AME conference in Chicago so you don’t fall further behind.