Lean & Agile Pioneer Engages with SC Manufacturers

Video callJim Benson, co-author of the Shingo award-winning book, “Personal Kanban: Mapping Work and Navigating Life” led an interactive broadcast with the OpExChange and South Carolina manufacturers last week. Jim spent the first half of the session sharing how Turner Construction effectively utilized visual management techniques to plan and complete an eleven story, state-of-the art hospital building in Coney Island, New York. This immense, $922 million dollar project required complex planning and coordination to reconstruct a hospital designed to “survive a thousand-year storm.”

Jim shared that there are five “lenses” for visual management of knowledge work – Communications, Relationships, Respect, Flow, and PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act). Most manufacturing organizations understand the Flow and PDSA as it relates to operations. Jim shared that all five are essential for knowledge workers in order to collaborate and work together effectively.

After walking through the Turner Construction project through the five lenses, the group of 85 attendees from across the state participated in an interactive “Lean Coffee” event. This is a technique that utilizes the Personal Kanban concept to democratize a meeting. The group posted questions, voted on which ones to discuss, and then discussed the most popular questions. ToniAnne DeMaria, who co-authored the Personal Kanban book with Jim, led the team through this dynamic exercise.

Jim shared that “collaboration always results in higher quality; always results in better delivery; always results in making better decisions.” This is an underlying theme on which both the Modus Institute, founded by Jim and ToniAnne, and the OpExChange are rooted.

Two lucky attendees received autographed copies of Jim and Tonianne’s book. OpExChange members received a recording of the session as well as additional reference material.


Modus Institute (www.modusinstitute.com) is Led by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria, creators of Personal Kanban, Lean Coffee and other tools used around the world. They started Modus Institute to provide training in visual and collaborative management and to build a global network of change agents, thoughtful professionals, and other people anxious to build better companies and teams.


The OpExChange is a peer-to-peer network of companies in South Carolina dedicated to learning and growing together. Member companies host events and share practical examples of industrial automation, lean manufacturing improvements, and leadership development. It is an invaluable resource to South Carolina companies that provides access to others who are on similar improvement journeys.

If you are interested in joining, contact Mike Demos (mike@opexchange.com) or visit the OpExChange website to see current companies: https://www.scmep-online.org/opexchange

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