Tips on Operational Excellence

Every organization strives for excellence. The best organizations seek to continuously expand and improve on their current models, and that starts with a clear cut vision for their future. That vision requires a functional path that provides cues that you are heading in the right direction. In other words, it requires Operational Excellence.

Process Excellence Network developed a smart list of eight principles for Operational Excellence that create a solid blueprint for continuously improving performance.

Principle #1: Design lean value streams

We need to design on paper an end-to-end lean value stream flow, starting from the time we receive an order or request for service from the cus­tomer until the time we deliver it. On our future-state map, information is given to only one process in the value stream. All other process­es know what to do next because the information will flow with the product through the connections created from that one point. The key is that each process is connected, and material and information moves only when the next process needs it.

Principle #2: Make lean value streams flow

Next, we take our design from paper to the real world of our operation and implement a self-healing value stream that creates Operational Excellence. The first step in going from paper to performance is to provide formal training, including a review of the current-state value stream map, the eight guidelines for flow, application of these guidelines to the target value stream, and finally the implementation plan. Most importantly, all employees are taught the destination of Operational Excellence and the common goal of business growth.

Principle #3: Make flow visual

Once we have taken the design from paper and physically cre­ated the framework for flow, the next step is to make flow visual so that each employee can see how the processes are connected to one another and to the customer. In Operational Excellence, just about any visual indicator in the operation should have something to do with the flow or the progression of the flow of product to the customer.

Click here to read the rest of the principles.



Some Thoughts on Learning Management Systems

Recently we came across an article from eLearning Industry about a few common mistakes organizations make when implementing Learning Management Systems (LMS) and how to avoid them. We at LearningSI feel the article offers solid advice and is in alignment with our own views on LMS.

Additionally, we had a few more thoughts we feel should be considered when contemplating moving forward with a Learning Management System:

  • Be Clear on What Problem You are Trying to Solve: Moving forward with any LMS is a significant commitment and you need to be sure you understand what you are trying to achieve and why. It’s also important to examine whether you need an “in house” LMS, or if an outsourced solution would work.
  • Be Clear on What is Required for Your Specific Business Needs: It is fairly common that we purchase software as a solution that goes well beyond what our real needs are, and ends up creating a larger problem than what we started with and / or a larger overall cost than required.
  • Take Time to Explore Your Options: There are a myriad of LMS providers out there that at first seem incredibly similar, but offer different “bells & whistles”. Figure out what is needed for your organization (and just as importantly what isn’t) before making a commitment. However, with that said…
  • For-go Perfection: As the article states if you try to “get it perfect” you may never move forward, but you need to find a balance between doing the required diligence and deciding when to commit.
  • Ensure You Have Set Yourself up for Success: Have a system champion, competent system administration, and dedicated content managers. The system needs to be and remain “evergreen”.
  • Ensure Clarity: Both in the LMS support provided by the vendor, as well as the impact or support required from your internal IT department.

Finally, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the LMS simply to launch, track and report, or is it a part of a larger company learning strategy on how you do business?
  • Are you truly committed to your LMS besides the initial investment, and are you willing to devote the resources to maintain it and keep it current?

In performing this due diligence you are far more likely to have success with LMS implementation.

Click here to read the entire article on Learning Management Systems at eLearning Industry.


Tips on Developing Leadership Skills


Image Credit: Scott Maxwell/CC BY-SA 2.0

Here at LearningSI we know that the importance of strong leadership skills cannot be overstated. We also know that it’s not only high powered CEOs or championship winning coaches that benefit from being a skilled leader. No matter your position, everyone has a role in leading their company to success.

Monster’s Inside Tech came up with several ways to improve and heighten leadership skills at any level, starting with what needs to be done to prove yourself as a valuable employee who has what it takes to become a great leader:

  • Show Enthusiasm: Personal energy is contagious, and so is the lack of it. No matter what the job, complete it with a sense of urgency. When others notice, they will become enthusiastic also.
  •  Build Optimism: Negativity in the workplace is destructive. Your boss doesn’t want to hear what’s wrong with a project; he wants to hear your suggestions for making it better.
  •  Be Flexible: You can’t survive in business today while resisting change. Show you can handle change by volunteering for a new project or by helping others with change.
  •  Cooperate: Since companies must do more with fewer resources, teamwork is essential. If you insist on having your own way or controlling others, your career will run into a brick wall.
  •  Be Creative: What process can be improved? How can you make things easier for customers? Use your creativity to continuously improve processes, and you will stand out.

Click here to read the rest of Inside Tech’s solutions for developing your leadership skills, and make sure to check out LearningSI’s philosophy of the importance of leadership in the workplace.



Solutions to the Skills Gap from Global Manufacturing

One of the current and most prominent challenges facing manufacturing industries is the skills gap found in today’s workers. With many experienced workers reaching or nearing retirement there is a dearth of highly trained manufacturing professionals entering the workforce.

In a recent study by Business Roundtable  98 percent of CEOs polled indicated that the skills gap threatens their business. Quite a significant and telling statistic!

Abigail Phillips at Global Manufacturing discussed solutions to this problem in her article “How To Overcome the Manufacturing Skills Gap”. Her solutions are similar to the values we hold at LearningSI, such as continuing education, embracing innovation, and strong leadership.

Phillips emphasized continued education and training as particularly essential in creating and maintaining a skilled workforce, noting:

“Extensive training will not only give them the expertise needed to complete the job, it will also ensure their viability as an employee and strengthen their position at the company. Capable employees lead to better production, and a talented workforce is necessary for a business to remain competitive.”

Read the entire Global Manufacturing article here, and view LearningSI’s Courses page to see what kinds of learning services we can offer your company.

A Lesson in Leadership from Mike Babcock


Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader hoisting the Stanley Cup after Babcock led them to victory in 2008.

Image Credit: Michael Righi/CC BY:2.0

Mike Babcock is head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, and a well respected leader in his sport. He has a penchant for hiring assistants that eventually move in to head coaching roles, and other leadership positions. Babcock prides himself on fostering leadership skills among his assistants, and allowing them room to grow. He thinks outside the box, and isn’t afraid to make unconventional choices when it comes to hiring. Here at LearningSI we understand the invaluable role leadership skills play in an organization’s success, and we think this article offers a beneficial perspective from someone who has proven himself as an excellent leader on all fronts.

Read an excerpt from the article below:

Babcock said he hires men he knows can be a coach, and he does so without concern for his job security even though his confidence in them is so strong he believes they could do his job, at least eventually. He doesn’t care where they come from, as long as they are highly recommended. They don’t have to have NHL experience; McLellan and Peters did not.

“There is a Todd McLellan out there. Where is he? What’s his name?” Babcock said. “There’s a Mike Babcock out there. Where is he? What’s his name? They’re out there. You’ve got to find them and then you have to have enough [guts] to hire them.”

The process Babcock uses to find his assistants, to interview them, hire them, work with them, and help see them to the next stage of their career has helped him become one of the most successful coaches in NHL history.

Click here to read the full article at


E-Learning Benefits Employees and Organizations Alike

Image Credit: watcharakun via

Image Credit: watcharakun via

Knowledge is the key to success. Here at LearningSI we understand that learning is at the very heart of improvement and achievement, at both the individual and organizational level.

E-Learning is one excellent way to facilitate on-going learning in the workplace. It is cost effective for organizations, and allows for greater flexibility and personalized learning for employees.

D&A Magazine put together a list of reasons e-learning benefits the workplace at all levels:

E-Learning Advantages for the Organization

  • Cost-effective. The production of learning content is a time consuming endeavor – whether it is online or off. However, e-learning brings an improved return on investment each time an employee accesses the course, as you are dividing the fixed production costs by number of uses. An online learning environment also eliminates the cost of transportation, physical textbooks and other material and labour costs incurred by attending classes in a traditional setting.
  • ŸImproved productivity. In today’s economy, businesses are looking for ways to do more with less. Research shows ongoing employee learning leads to improved, and more efficient, performance. The added value behind e-learning is that the tools and skills offered are not bound by geography or time, meaning you can control the impact on production by encouraging employees to access training courses during down times.
  • ŸStandardized learning. One of the challenges with traditional learning environments is the fact facilitators may change and the courses may be presented differently across separate sessions. This is not an issue with e-learning, as it allows you to create a standardized process, resulting in consistency in the delivery of content.

Click here to read the rest of D&A’s benefits to e-learning, and be sure to check out LearningSI’s current course offerings to see how we can help your organization reach its educational goals.




Welcome to LearningSI, a company whose sole purpose is to offer learning services to firms operating industrial processes. Our intended audiences are the employees involved in day to day operation and maintenance activities. Our mission is to assist employers and employees improve their performance by offering courses that improve knowledge, build and strengthen leadership and assist in instilling a culture of continuous improvement. We truly believe that successful companies are those that commit to making continuous learning part of their everyday culture.

A short history lesson is probably warranted. The origins of LearningSi began with the creation of Performance Improvement for Industry (PII) in the early 90’s. Located in the Pacific Northwest, PII and its sister company PO&M provided training and construction management services to the pulp and paper, energy, oil and gas and other industries in both the US and Canada. In 2007 both companies were purchased by the Irish company and current owner Lotus Automation LTD and began operating as part of the larger Lotus family of companies collectively known as LotusWorks. Earlier this year we realized that we needed to do more in terms of learning and that in doing so “training” was not an adequate description of who we are and what we do. We also felt that we needed to distinguish ourselves from the LotusWorks family of technical services which led to the creation of LearningSI – Learning Solutions for Industry. The selection of LearningSI is our attempt to recognize our past, but also embrace our future.

So where are we headed? In addition to the services our customers have to come expect from us, we will introduce our updated Fundamental modules in a state of the art e-learning format, samples of which are currently available on this site. Going forward we will have the capability to develop system modules and other custom knowledge material in an e-learning format. Our customers will also have the choice to either operate our e-learning material on their LMS or on ours. We will also offer an assortment of Leadership development classes and support client efforts to develop and implement “Continuous Improvement” cultures and other “learning” objectives. Our business plan also includes expanding our learning offerings to include additional industrial processes and applications. We are also working on the introduction of some new approaches to industrial learning. Stay tuned.

So thank you for visiting We will use this forum to publish updates on our progress as well as providing other material that is relevant to the industrial learning environment. We look forward to your continued visits and comments. Please give us a call if you have questions about our services or if you believe we can be of assistance with your learning needs.

Keep learning,