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Empowering Your Team for Growth: Insights from Lean Manufacturing Expert Matthew Rassi


In today's fast-paced business environment, companies are constantly seeking ways to optimize their resources and achieve sustainable growth.


In this episode of "In Hindsight," we sit down with Matthew Rassi, a seasoned manufacturing expert with over two decades of experience, to uncover the strategies and philosophies he uses to guide businesses on their journey of growth and scaling.


The Power of Lean Manufacturing


As a mechanical engineer turned manufacturing expert, Matthew discovered his passion for lean manufacturing early in his career. He joined Cooper Industries' corporate Kaizen team, where he learned the importance of reducing waste and utilizing existing resources to help manufacturers make more with what they already have.


"Lean is about reducing waste and utilizing the resources you have and engaging your team," Matthew explains. "It's about making more with your current resources."


The Power of Lean: From Toyota to Today

Lean methodology, which originated in the automotive industry at Toyota in the mid-20th century, focuses on optimizing resources and effort while continuously improving processes to deliver customer value efficiently. Over the past two decades, lean principles have been increasingly adapted by various industries, including software development, construction, and healthcare.


The core principles of lean, include:

  1. Identify value

  2. Map the value stream

  3. Create a flow

  4. Establish pull

  5. Seek perfection



By adhering to these principles, organizations can eliminate the eight types of waste, known as "muda," which include defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra-processing.


The Evolution of Lean Practices


Over the years, Matthew has witnessed significant changes in the understanding and application of lean principles. He emphasizes that sustainable gains cannot be achieved through surface-level tools alone; instead, a deep commitment to transforming the company culture is essential.


"If the culture is transformed with lean manufacturing in that process, then you get the gains, and they continue to be sustained, and you continue to get continuous improvement," Matthew shares.


Adopting a Flow Mindset


One of the key aspects of Matthew's approach is adopting a flow mindset over a control and command approach. He encourages companies to flip their organizational charts upside down, recognizing that leaders serve their teams and help them grow and be their best.


"We are here to serve others and to help them to grow and be their best," Matthew states. "That's one of the first cores."


Engaging Your Team


Matthew emphasizes the importance of engaging employees and breaking down silos within an organization. By adopting a flow mindset and encouraging cross-functional collaboration, teams can recognize the impact of their work on the entire facility and the value of working together.


"We've got to get out of our silos, we got to get out of our departments and recognize how this impacts the entire facility," Matthew explains. "It can be very eye-opening."


Moreover, lean methodology stresses the concept that employees and staff should be both the doers and the improvers of work. By empowering teams and providing them with the necessary tools and training, companies can unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable growth.


Empowering Self-Directed Teams


One of Matthew's most memorable client success stories involves helping two brothers who had grown their machine shop from 5 to 30 employees but were feeling overwhelmed. By working with them to build a self-directed workforce and delegating responsibilities, Matthew helped free up their time and ensure the team's smooth functioning.


"By building skills, giving opportunities to individuals to be able to step up, and somebody that really enjoys tools, now we have good hand tools on shadow boards," Matthew shares. "We have our preventive maintenance getting done on a weekly basis as needed or monthly. All of these different miscellaneous tasks now being done by the team instead of these two individuals just freeing up their time."


Embracing Change and Continuous Improvement


As companies grow and evolve, embracing change and fostering a culture of continuous improvement become critical to success.


"Throughout an organization, when there are issues, you need to run towards them. It's like a wound. It is not going to get better if you leave it alone. It's going to get worse," Matthew advises.

By pursuing perfection through continuous improvement, organizations can adapt to an ever-evolving environment and consistently deliver value to their customers. As Matthew reminds us, "What got you here will not get you there."


The Path to a Self-Directed Workforce


Matthew's goal is to help companies establish a self-directed workforce that can make decisions, take care of issues, and move forward on a regular basis. By empowering teams and providing them with the necessary tools and training, companies can unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable growth.


"Where is your ceiling? How many people do you think you can handle yourself?" Matthew asks owners. "At some point, you're going to hit a ceiling that you can't handle yourself anymore. These leadership things have to be in place, and you've got to build other leaders."


Take the First Step


Whether you're in manufacturing or any other industry, embracing lean principles can help your organization maximize efficiency, eliminate waste, and deliver unparalleled value to your customers. By empowering your team, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and relentlessly pursuing perfection, you can unlock your company's full potential and achieve sustainable growth.


If you're ready to embark on your lean manufacturing journey and unlock the potential of your team, visit Matthew's website or connect with him on LinkedIn. Take the first step towards transforming your organization and achieving remarkable results.


Remember, the journey to success begins with a single step – and that step is yours to take. As Matthew says, "What got you here will not get you there." Embrace change, empower your team, and watch your business soar to new heights.

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