Stories of Continuous Improvement: Grote Industries

August 13, 2019

by Tom Lemoine

When Luigi Tavernese returned to Grote after completing U-M Nexus’ Lean Leadership program, he knew change was inevitable. 

“From my Leadership training at U-M, I realized how valuable the experience was to me to be instructed by Drew Locher, who I can state was the best lecturer that I have had in many years,” Tavernese said. 

Tavernese was one of several employees from Grote Industries — a leading worldwide manufacturer and supplier of vehicle lights — who gained profound insights through Nexus’ operational excellence courses. Beginning in 2018, a group of Grote leaders attended the U-M Lean Leadership and Lean Manufacturing programs in Ann Arbor, quickly learning that successful Lean implementation is about more than just high-quality instruction — it’s about changing the culture of an organization and the routine behaviors of the people who work there. 

For Tavernese, General Manager of Grote Electronics in Ontario, Canada, he turned to Nexus after realizing that the biggest organizational challenge his company faced was the need to change prevailing behavioral norms that failed to serve the market it exists in. Seeing that Grote was craving adaptation, agility, and innovation to grow in an environment of continuing change, Tavernese returned north of the border prepared to share newly-learned Lean methodologies and drive his branch towards a future state of business excellence. 

And he wasn’t the only one leveraging Nexus for organizational improvement.

Since experiencing the quality and impact of programs in Ann Arbor, Grote Industries and Nexus have collaborated on three custom programs delivered on-site around the world in 2019 alone, including Lean Supply Chain & Logistics and Lean Leadership courses for Grote’s branch in Germany, and a custom Lean Manufacturing program at the company’s headquarters in Indiana.

“The individuals that have attended training at U-M have embraced the concepts and have established pilot programs at all of the Grote locations worldwide,” Tavernese said. “The attendees from the various training programs at U-M are actively engaged in spreading the knowledge and tools received at U-M throughout our organization.”

For Grote, the fruits of this partnership and its impact on the company’s continuous improvement initiatives have immediately come to bear. After attending the courses, Grote employees remain unified in their common goal to realize improvement and enact positive change.

As the calendar year comes to an end, Nexus looks forward to the opportunities that 2020 holds for further collaboration with improvement-focused companies like Grote.

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