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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

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Event Calendar

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

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Reoccurring Events

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Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Course

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) provides a systematic method to improve performance and reduce variation in business operations to achieve productivity and profitability gains. Students earn various colors of Belts which indicate their levels of mastery of LSS expertise. A person who has earned the designation of Lean Six Sigma Green Belt often plays a key role in the success of an organization’s process improvement initiatives.

As a member or leader of a high-performing LSS project team, the Green Belt is involved in selecting or defining projects, setting project objectives, data gathering, statistical analysis, and change implementation. To function effectively, Green Belts need to understand and apply the basic LSS concepts, tools, and methodologies in a variety of situations. This course is designed to educate those who wish to attain the level of Green Belt.

Program Benefits

  • Immediately apply the established LSS principles to a case study or real-life project

  • Receive guided mentorship from a Master Black Belt

  • Learn to implement LSS directly into your workplace

  • Content aligns with the American Society for Quality's Body of Knowledge

  • Know how to best apply Lean Six Sigma's proven techniques and strategies

  • Eligible to earn 40 PDU's through the Project Management Institute (PMI); maintain your PMP certification.

  • Graduates of the project-based program are prepared to progress into the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course.

Who Should Attend?

Any team or individual responsible for managing or participating significantly in any business process activities including managers, professionals, and line staff. Any process. Any industry. 

Learn more and register here.

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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: 

January 2024 here

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2nd Wednesday of Every Month @ 10-10:45am PT

Lean Coffee Hosted by Eric Olsen

Facilitated by Dr. Eric. Olsen, Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. By voting on participant-generated topics, conversations are directed and productive. Central Coast Lean offers Lean Coffee as a way to build a stronger community of lean practice.

 Future Central Coast Lean Events and Lean Coffee Registration:


2nd Wednesday of every month from 10-10:45am PT (in person and virtual)

Dates: 12/13, 1/10, 2/14, 3/13, 4/10, 5/8, 6/12, 7/10, 8/14, 9/11

Register here.

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February Events

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February 21st: In Person Tour of Boeing's Everett Factory from AME Seattle

Join us for an in-person tour of Boeing's Everett Factory on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at 13:30 (Pacific Standard Time). This tour offers a unique opportunity to observe manufacturing at a grand scale. Boeing's Everett Plant is the largest building in the world by volume. Originally designed to make the 747, it is now the final assembly plant for Boeing's largest Commercial wide-body jets and many defense derivatives (such as the KC-46 Pegasus). It is also the final assembly site of the 737 MAX, following the migration of the 787 line to South Carolina.

Please join us for a tour of the plant responsible for the world’s highest-performance commercial aircraft!
Image from I, Yasobara, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Register here.


February 21st: Lessons Learned Since Writing People Solve Problems

Since writing People Solve Problems: The Power of Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem, Jamie Flinchbaugh has engaged with 100s of people around his content through speeches, workshops, book clubs, and had many deeper conversations since launching a podcast called People Solve Problems. In this session we’ll share some of the lessons learned since writing the book, exploring nuances for problem solving success. We will explore lessons around the four sections of the book, which include problem solving behaviors (or culture), capabilities, coaching, and the role of the leader.

Register here.

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February 22nd: Lean Learning Tour with Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.

Established in 1918, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit social enterprise. We empower people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities by creating diverse, sustainable, and meaningful employment opportunities. We are a successful manufacturer of quality products for the Federal Government and assorted aerospace customers, that is committed to making jobs accessible to individuals who are blind, DeafBlind, or blind with other disabilities.

The Lighthouse currently employs over 470 individuals, more than 260 of whom are blind, DeafBlind, or blind with other disabilities, providing a wide range of programs and services for visually impaired employees and DeafBlind people in the larger community. These include vocational computer training programs for adults who are blind and one-on-one computer classes for people who are DeafBlind.

In addition, we offer courses in braille, run our acclaimed DeafBlind Retreat, offer DeafBlind Community Classes, in addition to educating elementary school students about blindness.

Register here.

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February 26th: Developing Daily Problem Solving Capability with Engaged Workforce

"Developing Daily Problem Solving Capability with Engaged Workforce" is about involving floor-level personnel in daily improvements as you strive to achieve a TPS-Lean culture. The problematic management paradigm that must be shifted is that these people have been systematically and consciously removed from problem-solving activities.

Much of the literature on lean manufacturing has lost sight of the basis of the Toyota Production System, which is, "cost reduction through the elimination of waste." To achieve this objective, you must make two large paradigm shifts, and a litany of lesser ones. First, to eliminate the fear and negativity surrounding problems, you need to create a kaizen mindset. Second, as a matter of policy, you must incorporate improvement activity into the duties of all workers, including the senior management and the value-add worker. Improvement activities consist of two types of problems. First, "the large but few can be handled using kaizen events or their equivalent. A graphic and detailed example is included in the Story of The Theta Cell. Second, are "the small but many" problems. At the worst, "these small but many" are overlooked, both consciously and unconsciously. At the very best, they are stored and aged in databases to be later handled by an engineer. To explain the nature of the "small but many", we will share the data of a "causal study" done at Manufacturing Excellence. Regardless of how "the small but many" are, or are not, addressed, there is a powerful countermeasure. It is the "Four Competencies of Execution" which form the heart of this book. Finally, most people believe that if we do kaizen events and operator-driven kaizen, they are on their way to becoming TPS-Lean. Not so fast!!! - there is one more not-so-secret behavior that must be utilized which we discuss during the webinar.

Register here.

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February 28th: Public Relations for a Problem-Solving Culture: Storytelling at Work

Do your continuous improvement efforts feel hidden? Would you like more transparency in your organization’s problem-solving work? Are you looking for momentum to ignite leadership? While problem-solving skills are typically the primary focus of continuous improvement professionals, the culture—defined by human behavior—is equally critical. To help build sustainable capabilities with behavioral change, it’s critical to convey how the work is supporting the organization and who is doing the work and creating value.

Strategic communication skills are vital to keeping an organization informed and in sync. Come join Bethany Foy, Continuous Improvement Leader for Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, to hear about the success of their “Storytelling PR” and learn the benefits and lessons of using public relations skills to foster and help sustain a culture of continuous improvement.

- Developing the Continuous Improvement Story and Sustaining Culture
- The Delivery Methods and Frequency
- How Storytelling Makes the Difference
- Outcomes and Lessons
- Q&A Who is: Bethany Foy 

Register here.

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March Events

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March 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th: AME Back to Basics Virtual Lean Summit 2024

Refresh your knowledge or lay the foundation for your lean journey at the AME Back to Basics Virtual Lean Summit. Thought leaders and practitioners will share expert knowledge on the fundamental lean tools and concepts that you need to know. Participate in presentations and tours designed to help you with the essential building blocks for a lean transformation.

Register here.

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March 12-13: So Cal Lean Tour & Workshop with AME

The AME West Region presents a follow-up to our sold-out 2023 tours in San Diego. Join us for two days in Riverside, CA for three engaging hands-on tours featuring sites that will demonstrate how they effectively deploy and sustain lean practices. Additionally, we will conduct a workshop focused on the human aspect of the lean equation: Respect for People. 

What you will see:

  • Collins Aerospace 30 years ago, this Riverside, CA site was within days of declaring bankruptcy faced with zero operating margin and income. Efficiency and productivity were unacceptable. Customers were growing increasingly concerned about schedule, quality, and cost. Today, they are an industry leader supplying advanced composite aircraft engine nacelle components and sub-assemblies built by a culture supported by an annual process focused on the vital few initiatives and improvement targets necessary to achieve business goals, shop floor processes automated and connected enabling a smart factory and operations pulsed to match customer Takt time.

  • Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is the world’s foremost manufacturer of guitars, basses, amplifiers, and related equipment. With an illustrious history dating back to 1946, Fender has touched and transformed music worldwide and in nearly every genre. As FMIC forges into the 21st century, its management strives to maintain Fender’s status through a combination of business acumen and love for music. Fender has continuously implemented Lean principles to improve its productivity and supply chain process in a high volume, high mix environment.

  • Riverside University Health System is the safety-net hospital for Riverside County’s 2.5 million residents. Beginning in 2017, RUHS began implementing continuous improvement processes to address increased patient demand that required a higher level of care. By consistently engaging staff from multiple departments to help solve frontline problems, RUHS realized dramatic improvements in patient wait times and hospital discharges. The result: higher satisfaction for patients and staff, better outcomes, faster access to timely care, and more efficient use of resources.

What you will do:

  • The Respect for People Roadmap workshop: Inspired by the Toyota Way management philosophy, the Respect for People Roadmap is a learning experience designed to improve the way organizations work as a collective by improving the way coworkers think and interact as individuals. The first-of-its-kind training addresses both the mindset and the actionable behaviors essential to cultivating the respect necessary for a culture of continuous improvement to flourish, enterprise-wide. The goal - better teams, better culture, and better performance through the development of a people-centric workplace.  

Learn more and register here.

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March 14th: Lean Learning Tour with FastCap by Paul Akers

FastCap is an international product development company founded in 1997 with over 2000 distributors worldwide. A prolific inventor, Paul Akers holds US and international patents. FastCap, launches approximately 20 new innovative products per year and has won business of the year multiple times. Paul and his wife, Leanne, have built FastCap from their garage into a multi-million dollar company. At its core, FastCap is a Lean company, determined to continuously improve everything, everyday. Our products reflect the idea that things can be improved and the best ideas come from the shop floor.

Register here.

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April Events

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April 9th - 10th: KATACON10 Toyota Kata Summit

The KATA Summit is an annual gathering of those seeking to grow personally and professionally by practicing, and coaching, scientific thinking.  Most recently the KATA community has become passionate about connection, collaboration and giving back.  Learning together rather than in isolation.

The Summit is full of learning opportunities!

  • 20 minute keynotes

  • breakout case studies 

  • the legendary Kata Geek Meet Up

  • and more…

Who will you find in attendance?

Lean champions, HR managers, Operations managers, and Training professionals who are charged with addressing challenges like these…

  • The inability to make and sustain improvements

  • Difficulty getting your workforce engaged in daily improvements

  • Struggles to create a no-blame culture of mutual respect

Register here.

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April 18th: Central Coast Lean Summit 2024

We are delighted to invite you to the Central Coast Lean Summit 2024, where we will explore the theme of "Work Better Together." Join us on Thursday, 18th April 2024, from 8 am to 5 pm at the UU SLO Social Hall, 2201 Lawton Ave, SLO, CA, for a day filled with insightful discussions and valuable networking opportunities.

Keynote Speaker: Jim Benson Renowned author of "The Collaboration Equation" and "Personal Kanban," Jim Benson will be delivering a compelling keynote address. With four decades of experience spanning various sectors, Jim brings a wealth of knowledge to help you foster collaboration, lean practices, and agile efforts within your organization.

"What are we about?" video from Jim

Event Highlights:

  • Lean Coaching Café: Engage in a dynamic session led by Christian Wandeler, our Lead Coach.

  • Expert Facilitation: Experience Liberating Stuructures 25/10 Facilitation with Chris Ferrier.

  • Virtual Networking: Connect with remote colleagues via Zoom.

  • Industry Collaboration: Participate in sessions to share and operationalize learning.

  • Cutting-Edge Technology: Benefit from world-class conference software provided by Whova.

  • Peer Networking: Enjoy cross-industry networking opportunities during breakfast, lunch, and breaks.

  • Social Networking Reception: Wrap up the Summit day with an evening of casual networking.

  • Lean Book Swap: Bring and exchange books to enrich your lean journey.

Post-Summit Workshop with Jim Benson Extend your learning on Friday, 19th April 2024, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, at the UU SLO Social Hall. Dive deeper into lean leadership with Jim Benson and discover effective strategies for continuous improvement.

Virtual Participation Option:

  • Live Presentations: Watch sessions live and submit questions through the Whova app.

  • Hybrid Interaction: Engage both in person and online with speakers and facilitators.

  • Virtual Breakout Rooms: Join online participants in Zoom breakout rooms for interactive discussions.

Location:  UUSLO Social Hall, 2201 Lawton Ave, SLO, CA and online

Summit Host:  Eric O Olsen, PhD Director of Central Coast Lean

Register here.

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May Events

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May 28th-31st: AME Nashville 2024 Lean Summit

If you are searching for a better way to lead, develop people and produce superior results, this lean summit will lift you to new heights. What are you doing to lead the way in improving your organization’s ability to engage your people and compete?

We're back and in person on May 28-31, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee for the return of the Southeastern Region annual lean summit! This year, the summit is all about engaging the workforce of the future. Each participant will be able to network with other lean practitioners and learn and grow by seeing up to three exemplary examples of lean at the gemba in healthcare, manufacturing and office environments. Two keynote presentations, multiple workshops and tours will inspire and teach participants how to engage and develop their people, solve problems in their workplace and drive continuous improvement in their business. This summit is ideal for all levels of operations, continuous improvement professionals and front line leaders. 

This will be an in-person event on May 28-31, 2024, at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel just a few blocks away from many of the live music venues in Nashville.

Learn more here.

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August Events

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August 21st - 22nd: Process Palooza

Hosted by UC San Diego, Process Palooza is a high-energy collaborative experience showcasing and celebrating the power of continuous improvement.

On August 21 - 22, 2024 at UC San Diego's Price Center you'll experience professional exchanges, sessions, workshops, games, competitions and Community Pavilion exhibits to inspire organizations and individuals to share, learn, begin or advance their continuous improvement journey.

The intersection of lean methodology and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/automation and its impacts upon INCREASING OUR KNOWLEDGE FLOW will serve as a focal point for this year's event.

Subscribe to the mailing list to receive upcoming announcements regarding registration opening date, event pricing, add-on training sessions, speakers and session topics, and so much more!

See you at Process Palooza 2024!

Learn more here.

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September Events

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September 17-19: The Global Lean Summit 2024

What Sets This Event Apart?

  • Personalized Tour of a Toyota Plant

  • Innovative Presentations

  • Creative Problem-Solving Workshops

  • Personal Consultations

  • Industry Experts

  • Interactive Networking

Most conferences assemble a mix of speakers that simply share their thought about a topic with you . You leave the event with a few good ideas, but lacking the solution or knowledge you were hoping to get from the event. 

Theis is the difference with the Global Lean Summit, we have created a curriculum, a journey, to provide you with the value you're looking for. The focus is to provide you with tangible results you can use. 

Learn more and register here.

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October Events

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October 23-25: 2024 Lean in Higher Education International Conference

We are delighted to extend a warm invitation to you for the upcoming, in person, LeanHE 2024 conference, proudly hosted by the University of Cambridge.

Our chosen theme for LeanHE 2024 is "Sustainability in Lean: bridging innovation and tradition". In an ever-evolving educational landscape, it's crucial to adapt, innovate, and streamline processes to enhance student experiences and institutional effectiveness. LeanHE 2024 will provide a platform for thought-provoking discussions, inspiring keynotes, and interactive workshops that delve into the heart of Lean and its application in higher education.

Why attend LeanHE 2024?

  1. Knowledge Exchange: Connect with like-minded professionals and experts in the field, sharing ideas and strategies to transform higher education for the better.

  2. Inspiring Keynotes: Gain insights from renowned speakers who have successfully applied Lean principles to improve educational outcomes.

  3. Interactive Workshops: Participate in hands-on workshops designed to provide you with practical skills and knowledge that you can apply in your institution.

  4. Networking: Build lasting relationships with peers, potential collaborators, and mentors.

  5. Exploring Cambridge: Immerse yourself in the rich history and academic heritage of Cambridge, one of the world's most iconic educational hubs.

We encourage you to save the date for LeanHE 2024, which will take place from 23rd-25th October 2024. Stay tuned for updates, including the call for abstracts, registration details, and the full conference schedule.

Join us at the University of Cambridge in 2024 for an inspiring, enlightening, and transformative LeanHE conference. Together, we will chart a path to innovating education and ensuring a brighter future for higher education institutions worldwide.

We look forward to welcoming you, in person, at the LeanHE Conference 2024.

Learn more here.

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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.

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