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 SoCal Lean Network

Learning and LEANing Through Sharing

Welcome to the home page for the So Cal Lean Network - the place for all things Lean in San Diego and Southern California!

A Message From The Chair: Hello Everyone and Welcome! 

This website features any SoCal based companies, people and events that are part of the Lean Community and/or are embracing Lean Culture, Tools, and Methods. 

We were looking to schedule live tours again in the near future. There are lots of ways to plug into the Lean Community virtually! 

Scroll down to view the upcoming sessions and to register! 

Do you have an opportunity for a virtual tour you would like to make available?

Do you have a summit/conference you would like to let our members know about?

Do you have a job posting you would like to post on SoCalLeanNetwork?

Send a note to Tracy ORourke at tracy@jitcafe.com.


Event Calendar

Here is an overview of upcoming events. Scroll down for more information on each individual event.


Reoccurring Events

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1st Tuesday every month at 5pm PT Virtual Happy Hour hosted by Lean Portland

Join us for virtual Happy Hour!

Lean Portland is a Benefit LLC committed to developing leadership skills of members and local non-profit organizations through project-based volunteer work that lead to continuous improvement. It has been a formalized professional organization since 2010 with the ultimate goal to teach themselves out of a job by developing people’s capabilities and creating lasting impacts in the larger community.

Register for: 

October 4th

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2nd Wednesday of Every Month @ 10-11:30am PT

Lean Coffee Hosted by Eric Olsen

Title: Central Coast Lean Coffee

Description: Lean Coffee is a great way to get and give help to others in our lean community. Although we still do the occasional Lean Leadership Forum, we are currently experimenting with virtual Lean Coffee as a lean way to get lean folks together. Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. Conversations are directed and productive because the agenda for the meeting was democratically generated. Future Central Coast Lean Events and Lean Coffee Registration: https://www.purpose-ccl.org/lean-


2022 dates: 2nd Wednesday of every month from 10-11:30am PT

10/12, 11/9 and 12/8


September Events

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Starting September 20th 2022: UC San Diego's Lean Six Sigma Leadership with instructors Tracy ORourke and Elisabeth Swan

A Lean Six Sigma leader needs to foster a transformation to usher in a thriving culture of Continuous Improvement in the organization. This requires more than lean tool deployment, but also includes key leadership and management frameworks, principles and behaviors. Are you doing the right leadership tasks to build problem-solvers and build a continuous improvement culture?

Hear what an attendee has to say

This program will provide you, as the leader, with the tools to become a skilled mentor to drive organizational change, and ensure that process improvement projects align with your business’s mission and overall objectives. Through an effective blend of learning techniques, this training will provide you with the critical knowledge to confidently build a continuous improvement culture and inspire behavioral change.

This program is designed for any Leader, Supervisor, Manager or Director in any industry who desires a sustainable culture of continuous improvement for their team and organization. The training will benefit all leaders, but more specifically any leader that wants to help shape the culture and build and coach problem-solvers.

Effectively fulfill your role as a leader in the Lean Management system by:

  • Building a culture that empowers staff and promotes continuous improvement

  • Understanding the breadth of impact a leader has and the leaders roles & responsibilities in transformation

  • Identifying projects that align with the organization’s mission

  • Deploying Leader Standard Work (successful leader habits) that drive improvement activity and success

  • Mentoring and coaching staff to become better problem solvers

Program At a Glance

Total Instructional Hours: 30
Live Online Training Portion: five, two-hour sessions (10 hours total)
Units: 3.0
Duration: 2.5 months
Tuition: $1,795 (includes all learning materials)
Format & Structure: This program is a blend of online learning and live virtual training sessions. After completing the learning modules on your preferred schedule engage with the Instructor and fellow leaders within an interactive virtual classroom.
Class sessions meet virtually on Tuesdays, 2:00- 4:00 PM, PST on 9/20, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, & 11/29 

For more information Click Here.

To register, contact Angela Miller at angelamiller@ucsd.edu


September 21st-23rd 2022

Lean Leadership Week hosted by Lean Frontiers

Lean Leadership Week is an annual gathering of those seeking to learn, implement, and sustain successful lean transformations in order to address some of the most common challenges in lean organizations. The virtual Summit highlights companies who are addressing these challenges through Lean Accounting, Lean HR, Lean Management, and Lean People Development.

Register Here

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September 29th: Scientific Thinking Applied Universally, ROUND 2 Webinar - Lean Frontiers

*Live 2-2:30 PM ET*
**Recording is included with registration**

There’s one simple reason for this webinar, we ran out of time on July 28! We didn’t get to a number of the quality questions submitted, for example Andrew Parris’s question “How do you get people at ‘lowest’ levels in the hierarchy also involved in Lean/CI?”

Join ‘round 2’ with Pat Geary as he answers the question above and others.

Pat is the Chief Operating Officer of Story Construction who are Ames Iowa based. Story Construction are different, but it’s not obvious from the surface. Pat’s honesty in what they’ve learnt along the way will impress you as it does me. Not everything they’ve tried has ‘worked’, but they have adjusted, continually.

Mid-September we will be applying standardized work principles to Kata Coaching. We’re not sure what path this will take. Again, join us on Sep 29 as we’ll aim to fit in why we’re doing this, what actually happened and what we learnt.

Pat and I (Oscar Roche) look forward to you hearing all this firsthand on September 29. Click here to register please.

Register here.


October Events

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October 11th: Lean Learning Tour - Costco Optical Lab

Learn from a model example of people-centric leadership, employee engagement and one of the best run Employee Idea programs outside of Toyota at Costco’s Optical Lab!

Costco’s Optical Lab has doubled productivity, reduced scrap by 80%, cut lead time by 75% and has implemented 6000+ employee ideas.

This tour is FREE! A gift to the Lean Community members with an interest in learning more about Lean and Idea Boards.

  • Walk the shop

  • View the Idea Boards

  • Feel the cultural environment

  • Hear from Supervisors and front-line employees about how the Idea program is working


  • Presentation on Costco’s Lean Journey

  • Supervisor-directed tour of the facility and Idea Boards

  • Q&A & Reflection: Provide feedback on what you saw

Event full - registration closed.

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October 12th: Passion for Performance Webinar - Lean Frontiers

In this session, Michael Martyn will share his approach to developing successful leaders and building world-class cultures. Mike is in the process of publishing his new book, Management for Omotenashi: Learning to Lead for Passion, Purpose, and Performance.
Learn how organizations are significantly improving their results by developing managers who lead with sincerity, serve form the heart, and take pride in their work.

“The key to inspiring and engaging people is to define why an organization exists and give each person the opportunity to discover their own purpose connected to the mastery of their work and the contribution they make. This discovery of purpose and connection to mastery leads to the development of one’s ikigai, or reason for being…work itself then becomes secondary to the interaction people have with their work and the opportunity they have to express themselves through continuous improvement, growth and personal mastery.” – Excerpt from Management for Omotenashi.

Register here.

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October 13th: Idea Boards - Costco's Key to Lean Employee Engagement - Webinar from Just-in-Time Cafe

Do you struggle with disengaged employees? Are you searching for ways to include people and tap into their collective wisdom? Costco's Optical Lab has a compelling model.

They started their Lean Journey over seven years ago and today, Costco enjoys significant success with an engaged culture and employee adoption. Employees are involved and their improvement efforts have enabled them to reduce optical breakage from 10% to 2% while saving over $30 million dollars. Costco sites their Idea Boards as a central component of their success.

Guest host, and Process Improvement Manager for Costco Wholesale Industries (CWI), Carlos Vallejo and his team will share what led to their wildly successful Idea Board deployment.

Join us this 1-hour webinar to get the details on Idea Boards and what drives the phenomenal success of Costco's Lean Culture.

● Idea Boards and their purpose
● Initial and ongoing challenges
● Maintaining the Idea Board system
● Results

Register here.


October 17th-20th 2022 

AME International Conference - Dallas

Continuous improvement practitioners know there is no better learning experience than an AME International Conference. Join us from almost anywhere you access the internet, and discover practical ways to apply creative ideas to your business. You’ll learn about best-in-class practices from operational excellence leaders, see lean organizations up-close during facility tours and uncover new ways to empower people within your organization.

Share, learn and grow with the best — all at the 2022 AME International

Register Here


October 18th-27th: Results Washington Lean Government Conference

The 11th annual Washington State Government Lean Transformation Conference will be virtual for the third year in a row! Hosted by Results Washington, our conference will span six days from October 18th - October 27th with most days covering 4 hours of content presented by public and private-sector Lean and Continuous Improvement professionals.​

The goal is to:​

  • Provide concrete tools and methods that participants can readily apply to their work vs. theory-based presentations.​

  • Provide learning that can be applied with hybrid and remote work environments to meet current and future realities.​

  • Provide learning that supports our commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in Washington state government.​

​As in years past, there is no cost for people to attend the Lean conference – our focus is to produce an event that advances Lean and Continuous Improvement in state government, creating and adding more value for agency employees and Washingtonians. We aim to open registration between late August to early September.  

More information available Here


October 19-21st: Lean in Higher Education Conference in Melbourne

Lean in Higher Education (Lean HE) aims to ensure that continuous improvement philosophies and practitioners within Higher Education (HE) are themselves always improving. We do this for the good of all those whom HE serves. 

Our annual international conference brings together people applying lean in universities (in everything that they do), to learn and improve. Our annual event is held around the end of October. We host the conference alternating years between our three continental divisions, with the aim of sustaining our international network.

RSVP your interest here

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October 26th: JI, Standardized Work and Standard Work - Where Each Fits - Lean Frontiers

*live 2-2:30 PM ET*
**Recording available with registration**

Our very popular (greater than 350 registrations) August 25 webinar with Celeste Ayers and Wes Rawlings from Gallo Wines Modesto finished with perhaps a bigger ‘unanswered questions gap’ than what we started with! Thus we’re very grateful they agreed to a ‘round 2’.

Towards the end a participant asked about the difference between Job Instruction and Standard Work. We had nowhere near enough time then to cover such an important topic. We will cover it in this webinar.

Alongside, Celeste and Wes will quickly overview the August 25 content then answer questions submitted back then and some new ones we’re sure will be posted. Oscar Roche will field the questions and provide key definitions relating to Standardized Work and Job Instruction.

(Here’s a summary of the Aug 25 content … Wine demand grew dramatically in 2020-21 alongside a severe strain on the talent pool. In addition to hiring, onboarding and training over 200+ new employees in a 6-month span there was a need to stand up a handful of new production lines and transition existing production lines from a 5-day work week to 24-hour production. Executive leadership had a clear call to action – shorten the cycle time for training new and incumbent employees while improving the quality of the training.)

Register here.


November Events

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November 17th: Getting Started with the Practice of Kata - Lean Frontiers

Join us for a panel discussion around the theme of Getting Started with the practice of Kata from Sylvain's NEW Book; Bringing Scientific Thinking to Life.
Panel includes: Sylvain Landry, Skip Steward, Brad Parsons, Andrea Simpson, and Beth Carrington!

Register here.


December Events

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December 6th: Lean for Social Good - Lean Portland

The goal for this virtual event is to bring together like-minded people interested in helping nonprofits, NGOs, government agencies and public sector organizations apply Lean and other process improvement methods (Lean Impact, Lean Startup, Continuous Improvement, Toyota Production System, Six Sigma, TQM, Kata, etc) to have greater positive impact to people and the environment.

This will be our 4th unconference (2015, 2016 and 2021).

An unconference is a "participant-driven" event that avoids traditional aspects of a conference, such as pre-determined sponsored presentations and top-down organization. The agenda and topics are created by attendees at this unconference. Any attendee can suggest topics that they are passionate about relating to the theme of this unconference. Prepare by bringing topics that you want to discuss in group sessions.

About the event

We will get started by introducing the concept of the unconference (open space) principles and explain our agenda for the session. Attendees will be encouraged to suggest a topic for discussion. Topics are agreed upon and assigned into sessions (multiple topics within each session, like a regular conference). Attendees decide on which discussions they want to participate in and are able to move freely between breakout rooms. Each session will last about 30 minutes using Zoom breakout rooms for each topic. We will have 3 different sessions (about 90-100 minutes of total discussion). Therefore, you will get to choose from 15-20 topics during this unconference, so chances are good that you'll find something interesting.

This event will not be recorded, as the breakout sessions are where all the learning and discussion will take place, so please plan to attend live!

Learn more about unconferences at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference

Read our Community Agreement for Open Space events: https://leanportland.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Lean-Portland-Community-Agreement-for-Open-Space-events.pdf

Looking for Sponsors

If you'd like to help us offset some of our costs, we are looking for organizations to provide a small contribution to the event (starting as low as $100). We will feature your organization at the beginning and end of the event, and include your logo in any promotion leading up to the event. Learn more by emailing us at leanportland@gmail.com

Register here.


Subscribe or Contact Us

Do you have a Lean tour available in San Diego? Do you have a Lean related job posting? Do you have a Lean podcast interview candidate in mind? Send us a note? We're always looking for more San Diego Lean companies and people to highlight.

Thanks for submitting!