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Dean's Convocation: Norm Bodek

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Uploaded on Jan 4, 2012

In 1979, after working for 18 years with Data Processing companies, Norm Bodek started Productivity Inc. - Press by publishing a newsletter called PRODUCTIVITY. At the time, he said he knew virtually nothing about the subject and had spent very little time in manufacturing facilities. But, he quickly became fascinated with the subject and went to Japan to discover the processes that was making Japan the world leaders in quality improvement and productivity growth.

Even though on his first visit to Japan he didn't know a single person or speak Japanese, he has since, in the last 28 years, gone to Japan 72 times, visited more than 250 plants and published more than 100 Japanese management books in English. As a fortune cookie once told him: "You have the talent to discover the talent in others."

Mr. Bodek said his claim to fame is that he found amazing tools, techniques and new thoughts that have revolutionized the world of manufacturing. He has met Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Dr. Joseph Juran, Phil Crosby, Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, Dr. Joji Akao, Mr. Taiichi Ohno, Dr. Shigeo Shingo and many other great manufacturing masters and published many of their books in English.

Each person he met gave him a new perspective on continuous improvement. Mr. Bodek was one of the first to find and publish books, training materials and run conferences and seminars on TPS, SMED, CEDAC, quality control circles, 5 S, visual factory, TPM, VSM, Kaizen Blitz, cell design, poka-yoke, lean accounting, Andon, Hoshin Kanri, Kanban, and Quick and Easy Kaizen.

Mr. Bodek, who was once called "Mr. Productivity" by Industry Week Magazine and "Mr. Lean" by Quality Progress Magazine, said his most powerful discovery was the way Toyota and other Japanese companies opened the infinite creative potential often lying dormant inside every single worker.

When you unlock this hidden talent people become highly motivated and actually love to come to work," he said.

Most recently, he has been working with Gulfstream Corporation, a private jet company, where 1000 people went from 16 implemented ideas in February 2005 to close to 33,000 in 2008 and saved the company $2 million.

Mr. Bodek founded the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence at Utah State University with Dr. Vern Buehler and is one of the few to be personally awarded the Shingo Prize.

Mr. Bodek attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a bachelor's degree from New York University. He also attended New York University Graduate School of Business and the New York University College of Education. He spent two years active duty with the U. S. Army Audit Agency and four years in the reserves.

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