President, Value Stream Solutions Inc.
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada in a family supported by manufacturing, Chad worked in several manufacturing and warehouse operations as an operator and quality inspector while attending college and began his career as an electronics technologist for Dynatec Mining and soon after left to go to IBM. By the early 1990’s Chad joined Multilin in Markham that was later purchased by General Electric. Originally hired as a Product Service Technologist, Chad was promoted to Product Manager and then International Service Manager before he decided to move on in late 2000.
During his years at Multilin and GE, Chad completed a bachelors degree and was trained as a Black Belt in Six Sigma. Since 2000, Chad has been training and advising companies in methods of continuous improvement to strengthen their business position in industry. In 2006, Chad formed Value Stream Solutions Inc. and now leads a team of advisors and trainers to serve customers from coast to coast in Canada and the US.
As a recognized leader in process improvement, Chad has helped guide companies and individuals to phenomenal results. His expertise in Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Leadership and Team development, developed through years of practical application in manufacturing and service organizations throughout North America, gives him the ability to relate big picture thinking to real world implementation.
His education includes a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Technology from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota and a college diploma in Electronics Engineering Technology from Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology in Barrie, Ontario. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt that has led and mentored dozens of other ‘Belts’ and coached them in their projects. In addition to leading change in manufacturing, engineering and service, Chad’s experience also includes kaizen improvements in administration, sales, call centers, health & safety, human resources, IT and accounting.
Chad and his wife Nancy created and continue to operate HockeyStockings.com, a Christmas stocking manufacturing and online store business since 2011.
When it’s time to wind down, Chad enjoys family time with his wife, son and two dogs. A favourite getaway is to the family cottage for boating, relaxing and puttering. Picking up a guitar around a campfire is not uncommon.
The family are avid animal lovers and volunteer countless hours to raise or foster dogs for the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, Golden Rescue, Danes in Distress, Soi Dog Rescue and Finding Them Homes.
Devin’s 25-year manufacturing career includes P&L accountability for consumer electronics, military, automotive, point of purchase retail, and aerospace. He has worked as an assembler, QC operator, team leader, supervisor, manager, plant manager, and as a multi-site Director of Operations. He is equally at home speaking to teams on the shop floor, logistics, engineering, maintenance, and the ownership group in the board room.
Devin now focuses on sharing his enthusiasm for waste reduction and team building with clients ranging from farming to pharmaceutical, and mining through to manufacturing and field service. He does this by teaching and coaching both the employees and the leadership team how to work together to drive waste out of the business.
Time and again, clients understand that their customers want shorter lead times, more variety, more features, and aggressively controlled costs with better quality. They deserve it… so Devin makes it his goal to help all employees to work together to make sure the customer can get this improved value from the enterprise, not the competition.
When not working on Lean projects, Devin can be found relaxing at home with his wife and two children in the Hamilton area. And by “relaxing”, he means running a recording studio… or volunteering his time to families that are starting their first garden … or joining his family on stage as they present their seven-year journey of raising Monarch butterflies.
Jeff has been in the manufacturing industry for over 25 years and has held various management and leadership/advisory roles with companies ranging from 22 employees to over 12,000 with multiple business units internationally.
Based in Nova Scotia, Jeff started his career after studying Commerce at St. Mary’s University with a small; family owned printing plant of 20 people that printed the Globe & Mail, one of Canada’s national newspapers. He worked in all areas on the production floor and was a supervisor and manager for different departments within the manufacturing facility. In 1998 Transcontinental Printing purchased the company, and Jeff was implementing Lean initiatives as a Department Manager and was asked to focus on leading the customer service department to manage customer migration and production flow through two greenfield site construction phases. His true passion for improving processes and production teams’ efficiency was elevated when he was asked to work with others across the Transcontinental Printing Sector to start the company’s formalized journey towards Lean.
His ability to review systems data to point out operational improvements, combined with a proven track record in managing CI activities in two plants, he was asked to join what is now the Manufacturing Efficiency Team at the Sector’s head office in Montreal. This promotion provided the opportunity to consult and advise management teams in 68 printing plants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Jeff held this position for 4 years before leaving Transcontinental and earned a Masters Lean Certificate during this time. He has gained added manufacturing experience and familiarity within all aspects of the heavy industries of Mining, Aerospace, Marine, Plastic extrusion, Pulp and Paper, Metal Fabrication and the Food and Drug Industry.
His respect, integrity and accountability to where the action takes place make it easy for him to relate with all levels of an operation. He feels just as comfortable working 4000 feet underground as he does discussing strategy in a boardroom. Jeff is able to clearly communicate the message of where opportunities can be driven to results in a team-based approach.
Since 2000, Jeff has conducted over 1000 improvement projects consisting of CI workshops, Kaizens and training events. He has vast experience in implementing projects in the areas of 5S, SMED, Kanban, Standard work (SOP’s), Training Within Industry (TWI) and Reliability Centered Maintenance in small to very large-scale operations. This is the same foundation that he applied when he won a National Racing Championship that allowed him to race with some of the world’s best drivers today.
His passion to improve and share best practices has provided opportunities to speak at conferences at both Regional and National levels in both Canada and the U.S.
When he is not working with great companies, Jeff enjoys family time outdoors at the cottage, sailing, playing hockey and golf. He also volunteers as a 20 year member of Kin Canada, the largest all Canadian service organization.
Tom Bechtel has been providing training and facilitation services since 1985 after gaining valuable manufacturing, human resources, training and management experience with General Electric and other high-tech manufacturing companies in both Canada and the US. From the shop floor to the Corporate office, Tom has experience in every aspect of a manufacturing enterprise including both running factories and designing & building them. A graduate engineer, Tom has focused his professional development on attaining the highest status (CFPIM) in operations management with APICS and on acquiring skills for designing and delivering training based on Accelerated Learning concepts and techniques.
Tom brings a unique set of skills and background to the training arena because Tom has helped companies implement both ERP systems and Lean manufacturing. He is able therefore to design, build and deliver training based on concepts, systems and techniques such as: ERP/MRP II/MRP (Enterprise Resource Planning / Manufacturing Resource Planning/Material Requirements Planning) and Lean Manufacturing (Workcell implementation, Kaizen, 5S, Kanban, Set-Up Reduction, Problem Solving & Root Cause Analysis, Poka-Yoke, Visual Factory, Standard Work). In addition, he has expert knowledge in the continuous improvement technique known as kaizen or kaizen blitz. To round out Tom’s training expertise, he is also able to deliver workshops to help prepare associates for change and to help them become better performers on both projects and teams via specialized workshops on Teamwork, Effective Meetings, Effective Communication and a special motivational program called Quality at the Source.
Tom has been fortunate to have been able to provide training, continuous improvement facilitation and project support to a variety of organizations including Fortune 100 & 500 manufacturing companies, small business, healthcare (insurance and hospital), public utilities, Scouts Canada and the Toronto Board of Education. Manufacturing company assignments have taken Tom across Canada and the United States and into Mexico and Puerto Rico. Special project assignments have included re-layout of factories, training of internal kaizen facilitators, running a factory, managing implementation of new business system software, solving business performance problems related to customer delivery, quality and capacity planning.
Tom’s approach to training and project work is to be an enabler. He promises only that with his guidance and training, those spending time with him will then be much better positioned to help themselves, their associates, their teams, their enterprises. He is a change agent, a motivator, a guide on the path to self-discovery and paradigm-shifting thinking. He is a collaborator, a builder of teams and the hope for better teammates. He is a quick thinker, a problem solver and a fence mender. He is keen to transfer knowledge, very visual and respects and nurtures the value of having fun.
Recent assignments have included (a) training lean leaders via a highly engaged kaizen facilitation approach for a Fortune 100 company with 9 lean leader candidates at three sites: Portland, Phoenix and Albuquerque and (b) mentoring a lean leader at a Guelph, Ontario company via specific project activity – the first project was to prepare the operating system and users for an ERP upgrade and the second to improve delivery reliability and ship-on-time performance for the primary manufacturing site.
Time off the job means time on the guitar and microphone. Solo gigs on summer lake country decks and duo performances with his high school buddy.
Brian Sloan CMA, MBA
Brian Sloan is a Senior Consultant for Value Stream Solutions Inc. with a special focus on Lean Accounting and Lean Administration. He is also Controller for Armo-Tool Limited, providing controllership, SR&ED and Lean expertise. In prior roles, Brian was Controller for two manufacturing plants in Southwestern Ontario for seven years. Introduced to the initial concepts of Lean through the traditional channel of the shop floor, Brian has made it his passion to include the concepts of Lean in the accounting and administrative functions of the organization. He combines his senior management experience, education and financial skills to provide client value add around employee engagement, business strategy and continuous improvement.
Brian has been instrumental in implementing a number of Lean initiatives in his roles as consultant and Controller. He has coached, led or facilitated numerous 5S, kaizen and value stream mapping events on both the shop floor and in the office. In administrative disciplines, Brian has implemented cross-training, standard work, visual controls, problem-solving and 5S methodologies.
Brian received his CMA designation in 1992, his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2006, a certificate in Lean Business Processes from the University of Michigan in 2007, and is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Business program with Edinburgh Napier University. The focus of his study is on cultural factors that impact the adoption of Lean methodologies in a manufacturing environment.
In his free time, Brian is a professional player of nearly every instrument with keys.