Small Business
Business INSIGHTS e-News for Manufacturers

About the Author

Dusty Cruise

Dusty J. Cruise

President and CEO
Missouri Enterprise

  • 30+ years of experience in a broad spectrum of manufacturing endeavors, holding positions including quality and engineering manager, sales and marketing director, operations manager, manufacturing engineer, production supervisor, senior process engineer, tool and process engineer, engineering draftsman and quality control inspector
  • Expertise in integrating material, labor and overhead improvements with overall operational efficiencies to achieve bottom-line growth
  • Former Missouri Quality Award Examiner
  • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management, Comprehensive, Missouri State University

Leveraging the Many Tools in the
"House of Lean"

by Dusty J. Cruise
Missouri Enterprise

Tools and techniques abound in the continuous improvement "House of Lean." Companies of all sizes can harness the power of these tools to identify and reduce waste in their processes. Tools such as point-of-use storage, 5S workplace organization, cellular flow manufacturing and standard work are all very useful on the plant floor.

Being a provider of Lean Enterprise training and implementation services to Missouri companies for more than a quarter of a century has helped Missouri Enterprise manufacturing specialists develop a holistic approach to continuous improvement. We believe that to be most effective and begin a truly transformational corporate-wide effort, value stream mapping should always be the first step.

Value stream mapping is the most fundamental Lean Enterprise tool. Its use begins as you create a current-state value stream map onto which each and every activity in a process is carefully examined and graphically illustrated to show the complete flow of information and material. This map identifies "waste" and opportunities for process improvements, using other Lean Enterprise tools and techniques.

The next step is creating a map with these wastes eliminated: a future-state value stream map. Together, the current- and future-state maps form an effective road map for a transformational approach to ongoing continuous improvement efforts.

Additionally, value stream mapping helps the company's C-level executives, who might not work directly on the plant floor, understand the potential return on investment from continuous improvement efforts and encourages them to support these efforts. This buy-in from the company's top executives is critical to establishing and sustaining a corporate-wide culture committed to continuous improvement and to securing company resources for the transformation necessary to achieve world-class manufacturing status.

For more information about continuous improvement tools and techniques including value stream mapping, visit us at

Missouri Enterprise is an organization composed of experienced manufacturing and management professionals. For nearly 30 years, it has helped manufacturing companies meet current challenges while transforming themselves to prepare for success in the next generation and beyond with manufacturing productivity improvements, ISO/quality management systems, and innovative business and growth strategies. It manages the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program in Missouri and one of the state's Innovation Centers. For more information, visit or call Harold Zinn at 314-434-6300, ext 1301.

The article you read was prepared for general information purposes by author from the organization indicated on this page. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.