Eugene McLean & The Lean Machine

May 24, 2018

Kaspar Companies is on the road to Lean Transformation. We drive it every day.
The reason why? Improvement. Not just eventual improvement but improvements each day, every step of the way.

To make this steady and consistent improvement, we have to embrace new ways of working and communicating. Right now that means new leadership, a new manufacturing philosophy, and a new profit sharing mentality.

It sounds like a large plan. It also sounds like tough, time consuming, head-scratching, uncomfortable work.

It is. There is a lot to undertake.

Implementing new ideas, trying out new procedures, having tough conversations, developing new tools and processes; it all involves stepping out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging and filled with emotion.

And, it’s good for you. It’s good for the company.

Does that sound like a familiar message? It’s good for you.

We’ve been taught this lesson since childhood.

Simply open a classic childhood book like Green Eggs and Ham and you realize, we’ve been encouraged to embrace change since we were kids. And all along we wrestled with the natural urge to resist change.

Kaspar Companies has been doing things the same way for a long time. After 120 years in business we must be doing something right. Employees have contributed to the history and the success; 107 employees at Kaspar Companies have been here for over 20 years! The average time spent as an employee at Kaspar Companies is 10 years and more than two handfuls of folks have been here for at least 40 years. That is a lot of time spent operating in a certain way. Change just might be our biggest challenge to date.

The good news is that change is already happening. Our CEO, Jason Kaspar believes it’s a multi-year, even multi-decade long, work in progress. And the initial shift happened only recently, Jason explains, “The start always has to begin at the top of the organization. Our first kaizen was in January of 2017. It was still about exploration, but we saw tremendous results. Then, in April 2017, the strategy for change became a full pursuit.” For Jason, survival is a powerful motivator, and when it comes to change for Kaspar Companies, Jason believes, “Kaspar Companies doesn’t have a choice. We have reinvented ourselves several times since 1898 and I feel like we don’t have a choice but to pursue this Lean Transformation and change if we want to be in business a decade from now.”

It’s ok to disagree with the changes happening around you. We hope you will. And when you do speak up, we look forward to hearing your suggestions and your solutions. Show us your version of Eugene McLean’s lean machine, and we promise to listen.