Q&A: Delivering Breakthrough Improvements Through Zero Loss Thinking

In our recent webinar “Delivering Breakthrough Improvements Through Zero Loss Thinking”, hosted in partnership with AME, we discussed a new way of thinking that highlights total losses and challenges what’s possible. We outlined what Zero Loss Thinking is, how to use Zero Loss Thinking to identify and prioritize areas for improvement, how Zero Loss Thinking plays a critical role in implementing a performance system, and reviewed a case study. We had great participation during the Q&A and we wanted to share that conversation with you!


Phil McIntyre, Managing Director, Performance Solutions by Milliken


Here are a few takeaways from the webinar’s Q&A session.

Q: How did you expand your Zero Loss Thinking beyond safety?

A: We had to embrace zero loss thinking. We held ourselves to the absolute rigor of measuring a loss as the difference between actual cost and ideal cost. The purpose of losses is to ensure you can make the intelligent decisions. Are we allocating our resources proportional to the loss? Are we allocating our resources proportional to projects that can be established from a loss analysis landscape? Once you look at your financials through the lens of losses, it is impossible to look at your financial landscape again without seeing these losses.

Q: How did you get people engaged in your safety process?

A: At Milliken, the key to getting associates engaged in the safety process was driven by what we call the infrastructure of safety. We are advocates of every single site or business office having a steering committee populated by your safety champions. That committee is supported by subcommittees that are established by where the most urgent need is.

Q: What are roadblocks you’ve seen to implementing a performance system?

A: We’ve seen there are organizational struggles when one of three key things happens:

  1. Leadership change: Often times, a new leader will want to come in and put their own flavor on things that are changing.
  2. Significant Capital Expenditure: Machinery installation or acquisitions can put a hold on cash flow to certain areas. When the money is being spent on a significant expense, many times a performance system has to pause.
  3. ERP Implementation: Similar to number 2, this can require a lot of resources that take your attention away from a performance system implementation.

Q: Have you seen any differences in unionized vs non-unionized?

A: We have not seen resistance. With the right upfront change management conversation, there have been very few organizations that don’t want to become more efficient.

Q: Which industries are these systems most transferable?

A: These process resonate most effectively in capital intense type industries where the machine makes the product and the people are there to support and take care of the equipment. However, these processes are transferable to an environment where you have a human making the product.

Interested in learning more about Zero Loss Thinking?

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