Award-Winning Author and CEO Urges Leaders to Spend More Time Supporting Frontline Employees

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Lantech CEO Jim Lancaster made his appeal when receiving the Shingo Publication Award for his book Work of Management, published by the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute.

Publication Award picture

Jim Lancaster, Lantech CEO, left, receives the Publication Award from Rick Edgeman, Ph.D., Shingo Institute Research Director.

Leaders must spend more time supporting frontline employees if they want satisfied customers, consistent growth, and sustainable continuous improvement efforts.

CEOs and other C-suite leaders must spend more time on the frontlines – the factory and office floors – of their companies, according to Lantech CEO Jim Lancaster, author of the Work of Management, winner of the Shingo Institute’s Publication Award.

“Leaders must spend more time supporting frontline employees if they want satisfied customers, consistent growth, and sustainable continuous improvement efforts,” Lancaster said after receiving the award.

The book, published by the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, is a business success story on two levels:

  • a close-up, candid look at Lancaster’s personal transformation as a leader and
  • an in-depth account about the company’s lean management success, relapse, and comeback.

The Shingo Institute, part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, presented Lancaster with the award April 11, 2018, at its annual conference.

Lancaster called the award “an honor for me and everyone on the Lantech team whose dedication and willingness to try and fail, then try and fail again, until successfully establishing this new business system.”

In his remarks, Lancaster noted that earlier the same day he had conducted his regularly scheduled Walk Around Review, part of a daily management system designed to catch and correct frontline problems immediately. The review process takes leaders on a regular cycle of focused standup meetings with frontline employees in every department of Lantech’s plant near Louisville, KY.

Profitable Continuous Improvement
The Work of Management describes Lantech’s daily lean management system in detail in a practical but inspiring story of how the maker of stretch wrapper machines quadrupled profitability by making lean continuous improvements stick.
The book asserts that 60 to 90 minutes of daily, standardized management activities at the frontlines are a CEO’s most important minutes of the day and are the real work of management because of how they grow a business.

The Work of Management: A Daily Path to Real Improvement

For review copies of Work of Management or to interview the author, contact LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski at LEI 617- 871-2900.

About Lantech
Lantech is known as the leader in stretch wrap technology and innovation, as well as case handling equipment. It has sales and manufacturing headquarters in Louisville, sales and manufacturing facilities in The Netherlands, and sales and service operations in Australia and China. Annual gross sales exceed $130 million.

About Lean Enterprise Institute
Founded in 1997, Lean Enterprise Institute Inc. (LEI), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, with a mission to make things better through lean thinking and practice. LEI conducts research, teaches educational workshops, publishes books and ebooks, organizes conferences, and shares practical information about lean management at

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Chet Marchwinski

Chet Marchwinski
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Lean Enterprise Institute
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