Probing LEAN Space with Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker – Director, LSS Initiatives
Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Most companies have the same basic question they are trying to answer from a model project.  How can I make more stuff quicker?  Whether it is manufacturing, government, healthcare, or most any other industry, they all want to get more items through their processes faster and often they want to do it with fewer resources.  That’s the climate we are in now.  Everyone has to do more with less.

I have observed that many problems in Manufacturing can be directly attributed to having too much WIP.  Excess WIP inventory ties up money, creates the need for storage, increases cycle time, reduces throughput, and wastes Resources time.  But Managers want to keep everyone busy so they allow more work to be introduced into their systems instead of looking for Lean ways to better manage the “pull” of work.  Companies that learn to control the amount of WIP to meet their orders always do better financially then other companies that continually flood the workplace with inventory.

So I get excited when a model shows some new information that a company has never seen or understood before.  When they can see the process waste, understand how to remove it and implement the plan – that’s a great thing.

Check out Dave’s work on the Space Shuttle Program with United Space Alliance and NASA…. 


Dave Tucker is ProModel’s Director of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Initiatives and also serves as a Senior Management Consultant and Project Manager.  He assists our clients primarily by providing simulation training, model consulting services, and LSS implementation advice.  Prior to joining ProModel, Dave was the Lead Lean Six Sigma (L6S) Master Black Belt at United Space Alliance (USA), located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  USA is the prime contractor to NASA responsible for the Space Shuttle Program.

Dave has over 25 years’ experience leading teams, mentoring employees, solving problems, conducting training, and improving operations. He has led more than forty Kaizen Events, completed dozens of process simulation modeling projects, conducted hundreds of training sessions, facilitated over two hundred Belts & Team Leaders, and assisted with the implementation of numerous process improvements saving millions of dollars.

Dave has an extensive background in numerous process improvement tools utilized in Lean Six Sigma DMAIC & DMEDI approaches, as well as Kaizen team methods and process simulation modeling.  He has about 14 years’ experience using ProModel process simulation modeling tools for process improvement.  In addition, he is a sought after speaker and has made many well-received presentations at Process Improvement, Simulation, Industrial Engineering, and Aerospace Conferences.  He has a BSBA in Management from the University of Central Florida.  Dave is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Certified Master Black Belt.

Lean and Mean at the AME

Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker – Sr. Consultant & Project Manager

I recently attended the Association for Manufacturing Excellence Conference in Chicago along with about 2,000+ others.  Another ProModel employee (Andy Schild) and I worked in a booth there alongside a Microsoft Visio Specialist.  Andy & I were there to demonstrate a simulation tool called Process Simulator that works inside of Visio.

I observed two things at the conference that I want to briefly highlight:

1. Lean is still a hot topic in Manufacturing.

2. Astronauts have the best stories.

First – Lean is still a hot topic.  I say this because the AME Conference agenda listed Lean or Lean tool sessions and workshops in 53 out of the 111 topics.  This is strong evidence that manufacturing companies are still eagerly interested in learning how to identify and remove waste from their businesses.  And many companies were there bragging about their success stories!  I also noticed that 26 out of the 45 vendors represented had the word “Lean” plastered somewhere on their booth displays.  Obviously, Lean still sells or vendors would change their approach.  Lean is still hot!  And of course, our company ProModel offers the best predictive analytics technology tools to help organizations identify waste, get Lean, and optimize their processes.

Second – Astronauts have the best stories.  Mark Kelly was the Commander of the final mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in May 2011.  He is also the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords who was shot in January 2011 at a rally in Tucson, Arizona.  As the final keynote speaker at the AME Conference, Commander Kelly told about his experiences growing up, serving as a pilot in the Gulf War, and his travels as an astronaut.  He recalled that one night while flying a mission over Iraq during the Gulf War, Kelly narrowly missed being shot down twice within just a few minutes.  As both Russian-made Surface to Air missiles approached separately, Kelly had to roll his F-15 jet thru a series of maneuvers to avoid being blown out of the sky.  Having been seriously rattled by the experience, he decided NOT to fly back home south to his aircraft carrier the same way he had come.  Instead, Kelly flew east over Iran and then started heading south towards the carrier.  After several minutes, he began to hear chatter on his radio that an Iranian pilot was heading towards American forces and was about to be shot out of the sky.  The radio called out the approximate position and airspeed of the Iranian pilot and Kelly thought “What a coincidence, that’s my airspeed and position.”  Two seconds later he realized that HE was the “Iranian pilot.”  So Commander Kelly quickly got on his radio and announced to US Forces “Please do NOT shoot down the Moron flying over Iran.  It’s me.”  Kelly then went on to emphasize the importance of communicating with your team especially when you deviate from the plan.  Again, Astronauts have the best stories!