US Aggregates Celebrates Four Individuals Who Completed Lean Leader Training  

Monday, January 8th, 2024

This past October, US Aggregates celebrated four individuals who participated in Lean Leader training. The training consisted of a five-day, in-person course designed to help individuals identify parts of their day-to-day tasks that hinder workflow and find ways to eliminate wasted time and resources. The individuals who completed the training include Leadman Brandon Roll, Plant Operator Adam Chandler, Quality Control Technician Dan Jeffries and Geologist Zach Hoyes. The goal of this program is to train individuals and have them take what they learn to their respective areas where they lead a Kaizen Event to improve a process.  

Throughout the course, participants were led through various simulations and were challenged to integrate the tools they learned into their problem solving. “We learned about the lean process, various tools that we could use within the lean process, and the eight forms of waste that we can look to eliminate to add value,” Brandon said.  

Leading these simulations and training were Master Black Belts Jim Massoels and Kent Steele who oversee the corporation’s Business Excellence (BE) programs. Training offerings within the Business Excellence Program include Lean Leader, Yellow Belt, Green Belt and Black Belt training. Like all Business Excellence projects, Lean Leader addresses an issue by identifying problem areas and conducting trial solutions. However, each program has specific characteristics that make it unique. “A Lean Leader project differs from a Yellow Belt project in that you can see right away whether the solution improves things,” Jim said. “This is why most of the time the metric you’re trying to improve with a Lean project is the time it takes to perform a task.” 

To finalize their certification, individuals must perform a Kaizen Event. These events are short, controlled experiments done to improve an area causing problems in project workflow. “A Lean project might be one where it’s taking us too long to clean an area at the end of the day, or it’s taking us too long to find equipment to prepare for a job,” Jim said. These events help team members quickly test and evaluate various solutions and help them select which one is most useful for their individual situation.  

While the training is structured to improve workflow efficiency, Zach has found that he’s able to apply his learnings outside the office. “I learned about how trying to solve simple or complex problems in my everyday life can usually be boiled down to just asking ‘Why?’,” Zach said. “This program helped me and others see that it doesn’t have to take a complex solution to fix a complex problem”.  

Additionally, Brandon plans on taking his findings back to his plant. “I gained a lot of knowledge, tools, and insight from this training that I can bring back here at Flat Rock to minimize waste and maximize quality,” Brandon said.  

Congratulations to the individuals who completed their lean leader training. We are excited to see how your new skills impact your team! 


Zach Hoyes, Brandon Roll, Jim Massoels and Madeline Freeman contributed to this story.