| About Us

Who is Lean Frontiers?

Simply stated, we host leading-edge, intensely-focused learning events for the lean community. These events take the form of Large Summits, hands-on workshops, and online learning opportunities. Everything we do is focused on involving EVERYONE in lean thinking and giving them the SKILLS to sustain it.

Involve Everyone…

Lean is a business model, so it only makes sense that EVERYONE in the business understand that model. Too often those in Accounting, HR, IT, Product Development, Supply Chain, Sales & Marketing, and even Executive Leadership don’t understand lean thinking. So Lean Frontiers offers learning opportunities on these subjects…

– Lean Accounting
– Lean HR
– Lean Sales and Marketing
– Lean IT
– Lean Supply Chain & Logistics
– Lean Product Development

Give Them Key Skills…

We also recognize that many organizations are missing important behaviors that sustain a lean transformation. To address these gaps, we offer learning opportunities around the following…

– Toyota Kata: Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata
– Lean Coaching
– Training Within Industry (TWI): Job Instruction, Job Methods, Job Relations
– Leadership Development

What we DON’T do…

We don’t do consulting. That means our events aren’t a means to gain consulting work. We run world-class lean events, on very focused topics, and gather the world’s top thought leaders… and that’s it.

pic-jim

Jim Huntzinger

I’m as surprised as anyone that over twenty years have elapsed since I first began developing lean enterprises through system design and development, and implementation. It’s been a remarkable time as I’ve been fortunate to guide organizations both strategically and tactically through the transformation process – making real, lasting impact in their operations and cultures.

My career began ‘normally’ enough as a manufacturing engineer with Aisin Seiki, a Toyota Group company transplanted to North America to support Toyota. This provided solid, rapid learning opportunities and equipped me to hold positions in engineering, operations, and management working to implement and evolve lean into operational and business practices. Consulting with organizations ranging from small privately-held to huge-global corporations rounds out my experience over these twenty years.

Anyone who knows me realizes that research is one of my passions – always the curious engineer. I’ve researched at length the evolution of manufacturing in the United States with an emphasis on lean’s influence and development. In natural progression, I also researched and worked to re-deploy TWI (Training Within Industry) and uncovered its tie with the Toyota Way. I am also working on the deep history of Ford’s Highland Park plant and its direct tie to Toyota’s business model and methods of operation. A current project is researching and writing on the historical and economic lineage of the United States and the lean business model. Stay tuned for this one!

To be completely honest, I didn’t set out on this career path to become the president and founder of Lean Frontiers, producing the Lean Accounting Summit, TWI Summit, Lean HR Summit, Lean IT Summit, Lean Coaching Summit, and Lean Asia-Pacific Summit. Now I can’t imagine any career more rewarding. It allows me to use my years of successful lean practice, continue researching almost to my heart’s content, and keep my pulse on the very latest thoughts and theories on lean enterprise. Meeting (and having personal relationships with) some of the world’s leading lean thought leaders has been an amazing, inspiring experience. And having the flexibility to help move our corporate vision forward has made this lean journey remarkable.

I graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology and received a M.S. in Engineering Management from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Along the way, I authored the books, Lean Cost Management: Accounting for Lean by Establishing Flow, was a contributing author to Lean Accounting: Best Practices for Sustainable Integration, the ground-breaking book, Roots of Lean – Training Within Industry: The Origin of Kaizen , the economic analysis   Deflation: The Road to Prosperity and most recently, The Lean Accounting Summit Story

pic-dwayne

Dwayne Butcher

My lean journey began in 2005 when managing sales and marketing activities for a manufacturing technology company. A new-hire in our company’s new lean consulting division came to my office telling me about lean… and lean accounting… and a thesis… and it’s about then I zoned out. He was persistent though in trying to get me hooked and I eventually relented to his idea for a Lean Accounting Summit.

So,
we had 4 months to help coordinate and market a conference that I knew nothing about, covering a subject I couldn’t articulate, with a bunch of presenters I’d never met. Bottom line, Jim Huntzinger (the new-hire) was right. 320 people showed up in Dearborn, MI in September 2005 for the inaugural Lean Accounting Summit. I learned a great deal about from that experience. I learned about lean, the passion of lean advocates, and the need for like-minded people to gather and discuss what lean means to them in their role. It was electric. Yes, an accounting conference was electric!

It was at that first event that Lean Frontiers was born. And we’ve been steadily replicating that experience in other areas, to influence every part of the organization. So one of my tasks, along with Jim, is to determine where there are gaps in the lean enterprise. We then identify a community of “thought leaders” who can help rally a small community to learn together, grow a body of knowledge, and ultimately fill the gap we identified.

The bulk of my time is spent developing our products and services and marketing these to the lean community. And as one of two principals, along with Jim, I’m involved with about every aspect of owning a small business. That means I’ll be collaborating with lean’s most recognized names one minute, and the very next, emptying the trash cans and trying to fix that slow leak in the men’s room. And I love it. I’m humbled to work with some of the world’s brightest, most genuine people, who all want to make things better… for individuals, organizations, and the world at large.
pic-amanda

Amanda Ott

Joining the Lean Frontiers family in 2011 marked the end of a patient wait for “just the right fit”. My exposure to Lean business practices was minimal at best, but, something in my gut told me it was already in my DNA. The more I learn the more I know it’s more than a business practice – it’s a way of living.

It’s an honor to be a part of the Lean Frontier’s family as well as the Lean community as a whole. I am inspired and challenged daily!

leah

Leah DeBaun

I believe Lean is so much more than just a business practice. It’s a lifestyle that can be applied to anyone at any point in their life. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I discovered early on that my passion was reducing excess waste and living effectively with less. This led to an exciting journey of paring down my belongings and downsizing my living space by 90%. My husband and I built and lived in a 160 square-foot tiny house on wheels and adopted the “less is more” mentality to the extreme while saving money and becoming debt free!

At Lean Frontiers, I am thrilled to have the opportunity work with other people devoted to Lean. As Program Director, I manage everything from presenter on boarding to room set-up for our many annual summits. It is such a blessing to work with people of the same mindset and passion as myself.

Skylyr Cunningham

Skylyr Cunningham

In years past, I have worked with Lean Frontiers as a third-party event planner and immensely enjoyed the work. As I grew, my career led me to Hotel Management.  However, I still had a love for events and travel. I was approached with an opportunity to join Lean Frontiers, and was immediately drawn in. I remember several of the summits I had been involved with and knew this was a start to an exciting adventure for me. I am still new to the Lean Community, so I have little knowledge of lean and the culture that surrounds it.  However, I am excited to grow and learn more about it as my time with Lean Frontiers continues.

 

testimonials-orange