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The Pursuit of Manufacturing Excellence: A Roundtable Series - Enabling Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is a proven strategy to optimize productivity and quality and modernize manufacturing and industrial environments. Our roundtable discussion will focus on some performance indicators and evaluation criteria that manufacturing and factory engineers need to consider. And we’ll offer some recommendations to drive improvements.

Originally presented: May 21, 2024
Duration: 1 hour
Presented by:


Continuous improvement is a systematic approach that includes planning processes, evaluating outputs and modifying processes to optimize manufacturing performance. It has been proven to improve productivity and quality, and modernize industrial environments. Although continuous improvement is often characterized as a "measure, control, and improve" strategy, this can also be a key driver of growth and innovation, as it fosters an environment where individuals are always striving to improve.

Continuous improvement is indeed a technological solution, and organizations are smart to take advantage of simulations, manufacturing execution systems, resource planning and scheduling systems. But it is also equally an engineering management philosophy, one that requires clear communication, standardization, KPI tracking and cross-functional integration.

These strategies offer immediate efficiencies and long-term benefits for optimizing productivity and quality in manufacturing and industrial environments. And we’ll offer some recommendations to drive improvements, no matter where you are on your journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore how continuous improvement strategies can help your organization increase productivity
  • Discover techniques to improve quality control throughout the manufacturing value chain
  • Learn how ambitious and forward-thinking manufacturers cultivate organizational values that drive innovation
  • Identify ways digital platforms, such as simulation or resource management, can stimulate growth


Dean Phillips, President / Innovation Strategist, Longevity Industries / LINK Systems

Over the past 34 years, Dean Phillips has been a leader in the technology sectors and the world of smart manufacturing. His is a continuous advisor to the smart manufacturing advisory committees with Society of Manufacturing Engineers and PMA Precision Metalforming Association. Phillips has been a speaker on IoT, AI, robotics, VR and AR. He is the creator of reality safe, a VR / AR safety training solution for manufacturing, working with Purdue. Phillips has spent the majority of his time advancing IoT, maintenance and safety to be more predictive and develop outcome based solutions. He has been on the board of directors for SME and an advisor for TTU, MTSU and TCAT. He has been a contributing lecturer on big data and it’s value and need for artificial intelligence to filter the information into actionable items. Phillips provides safety and development to cobot users and assists universities to outline expectations from manufacturers.

Matthew Richard Kroll, President, Chalmers St. Consulting

Matt Kroll is principal and founder of Chalmers St. Consulting. Chalmers St. helps companies achieve their growth potential by aligning their operations with their aspiration and engaging their employees to achieve their full potential. Chalmers St. has return hundreds of thousand to millions of dollars back to client’s margins.

Matt’s formal background is in Industrial Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Northern Illinois University in 1999. He joined Motorola directly after completing college where he earned both his Black Belt and Master Black Certification. In 2009, he earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the Chicago Booth School of Business. Continuous improvement has been his passion for over 20 years. As a Master Black Belt, Matt has been responsible for developing improvement programs that deliver millions of dollars in operation efficiencies and revenue enhancement. He has worked in a variety of settings from manufacturing to police departments, to call centers, to healthcare. He has seen firsthand that every environment can benefit from the application of continuous improvement. 

Matt resides in the far west suburbs of Chicago, USA with his wife and two children. He produces and distributes free content on continuous improvement and looks for opportunities to help other people develop. He believes it is important to be active in the local community. He is President of the Fox Valley Children's Choir and Committee Member for Boy Scout Troop 60 in Geneva. He spends most of his free time with his family.

Website: http://www.chalmersst.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewrkroll/ 

Cynthia Kay, President, Cynthia Kay and Company Media Production

Cynthia Kay founded Cynthia Kay and Company media production which produces high-quality communications for organizations from Fortune Global 100 to small business. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kay holds a master’s in communications from Western Michigan University. Cynthia Kay is a passionate spokesperson for small business. For more than 35 years, she has spent significant time speaking to, teaching, and coaching small-business owners while running her own award-winning company. She is the Past Board Chair of the National Small Business Association (NSBA).Cynthia and the company have been honored with many awards including many Tellys and Woman Owned Small Business Supplier of the Year from Siemens in 2018. She has been named One of West Michigan’s 50 Most Influential Women five times and is the recipient of over 30 broadcast awards from UPI, AP and other news organizations. CK & CO Cynthia has authored several books. Her newest book Small Business. Big Success: How to Beat the Odds and Grow a Great Business (Career Press 2024) is available for pre-order and will be out May 6, 2024. She writes for Entrpreneur.com, has been featured in Time Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ask the Expert and on NPR. To find out more visit: www.thinkck.com and www.cynthiakaybiz.com

Jeffrey Miller, Industry Principal, Rockwell Digital, Rockwell Automation

Jeff is a supply chain and manufacturing operations executive with expertise in digital business architectures, connected operations and products. He has invested his 30+ year career in industrial innovation and performance improvement at the intersection of technology and business.

He is a results-focused leader who helps organizations achieve their manufacturing and supply chain operating goals, and accelerate profitable growth through digital technology powered connectivity, convergence, continuity, and collaboration.

Robert Roecklein, President, Roeck Engineering and Supply

Roecklein is a professor engineer and founder of Roeck Engineering and Supply. RES focuses on helping clients with designing, manufacturing and sourcing needs for industrial products and consumer goods. Roecklein has a BSME degree from Binghamton University and obtained an engineering license in Florida, with an industrial engineering focus. He has worked in a variety of manufacturing facilities, both as an engineer and materials manager, including for Yamaha Marine, where he advised on production efficiency, quality and continuous improvement.