Continuous Improvement Critical in Manufacturing

Mark Fendley, a speaker at the marcus evans Manufacturing COO Summit 2012, on how continuous improvement is critical to manufacturing success.

New York, Mar 14, 2012 - (ACN Newswire) - "Customers want value in the products that they purchase," says Mark Fendley, VPS Program Leader and Continuous Improvement Manager, BMW Manufacturing Co. "They also want what they want, when they want it. To turn customers into fans of your product and company, you have to improve how you produce the product. Continuous Improvement in manufacturing is necessary to improve that value to the customer. And if you are really good, improvements in manufacturing may turn customers into fans."

A speaker at the marcus evans Manufacturing COO Summit 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 16-17, Fendley shares his expertise on continuously improving manufacturing processes.

- How could Manufacturing Chief Operating Officers (COOs) ensure they constantly innovate and improve processes?

Manufacturing COOs must spend time in the process, in gemba, observing, listening, challenging, encouraging and making sure everyone knows they are expected to improve. They should not expect a perfect solution the first time. They need to encourage calculated experimentation, such as pilot activities.

Continuous Improvement is actually Continual Improvement; it is incremental. Innovation requires looking outside their industry for benchmarks. They can only learn so much from their competitors or the best in their own industry. True inspiration often comes from where they do not commonly look.

- How can they make sure to respond to changing consumer demands?

They have to listen to existing customers and identify new customers, which might mean expanding the product portfolio to take advantage of the market. Sometimes this means showing existing customers a new product feature or performance characteristic that they did not ask for. That can be a risk, but it is often how they lead once they realize the new feature or content that makes the product experience better.

It is important to think about the long term viability of a product. Will society or a customer need it in 20 years? Is there a societal, demographic, regulatory or technological shift that will render the business less viable in the future, as what happened with traditional films, cameras and typewriters? What do mega-trends mean to the product design, function, raw materials, where and how the product is produced and sold?

- What works best at reducing operational costs?

If manufacturing directors harness the power of 500, 1,000 or 50,000 employees and expect them to improve the process and product, continually, incremental improvements will be massive when viewed as a whole. The same should be expected of suppliers; they need to improve value too.

- What is critical to success in this field?

If any Chief Executive Officer could produce a product by spending 0 dollars, have it delivered in 0 seconds and with 0 defects, they would. Manufacturing is a necessary cost center. COOs should do everything in their power to drive continual improvement to 0 dollars, 0 seconds and 0 defects, while assuring the value add of the product is not compromised. The customer determines the value.

About the Manufacturing COO Summit 2012

This unique forum will take place at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 16-17, 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on implementing LEAN best practices, green manufacturing and flexible production systems.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at

marcus evans Summits deliver peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional trends and breakthrough innovations.

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Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world's leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

Source: marcus evans Summits


Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian
Press Manager,
marcus evans Summits
Tel: +357-22-849313

Copyright 2012 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.

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