A female engineer-turned-entrepreneur recently launched her own company to advise other businesses on change management and lean principles.
Sabrina L. Butcher spent more than two decades working in the automotive and railroad industries and in agriculture manufacturing.
She started her company, LUCYdoes, because she saw a common problem—disengaged workers who want to use their talents to improve but don’t have the foundation to execute the changes.
“Utilizing lean principles and tools will help teams build this foundation, and it’s not just for manufacturers, it’s for all industries,” she said. “I am focused on aiding companies learn the ‘people side’ of lean, not just process efficiency. An encouraged workforce is the true driver of process improvement.”
Butcher launched LUCYdoes in 2017 and her first public workshop is scheduled for May 2.
“It gets really loud and there’s a lot of laughter,” she said of her workshops.”It’s not just a business class where it’s quiet and serious. [But] it’s a place where you can ask difficult questions.”
“Lean principles are the mindset and approach to managing a business,” she said. “It’s focusing on customers [and] decreasing process waste.”
It’s about creating efficiencies, gaining quality, decreasing cost and engaging the workforce, she said.
There are criticisms of lean with some essentially worrying that companies can become too lean or that it means eliminating jobs.
“I feel there’s a stigma around lean,” Butcher said. “It’s not just for white-collar people and it’s not about eliminating people.”
Who can use lean principles and tools?
While the principles have been made popular in manufacturing, they are applicable to every business, Butcher said.
“It is a missed opportunity for everyone else in the business world,” she said.
The principles and tools are starting to gain traction in the health care industry, and although it’s a little more difficult, they can be implemented in restaurants, too, she said.
Anyone who has a process and a customer could benefit, she said.
The upcoming May 2 workshop is for everyone—from those working on a factory floor to executives, she said.
The event could help bartenders, nurses, doctors and supervisors.
“It’s not just reserved for engineers or white-collar people,” she said. “I feel my skill set is focused on making it easier for frontline and blue-collar people to understand.”
What else can I expect from the workshop?
The workshop aims to demonstrate how to use popular lean tools that will aid companies and teams in becoming more efficient and engaged.
Topics such as employee engagement, problem-solving, quality consistency and culture will be covered.
Butcher will facilitate the workshop, teaching the basics of lean to participants before they jump into Six Sigma or other complex problem-solving methods.
Participants will leave the training with an understanding of what it takes to drive culture change and improve customer satisfaction, according to a news release.
Registration is now open and the cost is $399 per person or $1,499 for a team of five from the same company.
The workshop will be held at the Hamilton County Business Development Center, located at 100 Cherokee Blvd.
What’s one thing Butcher learned as a female in male-dominated industries?
She’s used to being the only female in the room, and it frustrated her for years.
“I always felt excluded,” she said.
One day, early in her career, she got some feedback that initially angered her.
A foreman told her to have empathy for the men she was working with. He told her they weren’t used to working with women and they weren’t sure how to act. Many of them feared if they said something wrong, it would cost them their job and livelihood, Butcher said.
She didn’t understand his advice at the time. She didn’t understand what it meant to have empathy, she said.
The idea of having empathy doesn’t excuse bad behavior, which can happen in workplaces, but as she grew and understood more about empathy, it broadened her perspective, she said.
“It took a lot of courage to ask that of me,” she said. “I didn’t get it at [age] 20 but I get it at 40. [This is about] how do we make this work for both genders?”