Jeremy Sullivan was first exposed to lean thinking in 2000 while working in electronics, soldering under a microscope. He grew up taking things apart to see how they worked, and as a result, he developed respect for, and an understanding of, the art and science of “making things.” Being introduced to lean principles gave Jeremy the missing piece of the puzzle: not only can we make things, but we can also turn the processes of making things into a better process – which results in “better things”. Jeremy has applied lean principles to everything from aerospace to healthcare, from office work to services and retail, to manufacturing, food service and beyond.
Jeremy holds a degree in Philosophy (a choice of college major which he is sure his father was thrilled with). He had no idea it would prepare him for a deep understanding of the counterintuitive and self-contradicting motivations behind the Toyota Way. He believes he “lucked out” in that regard, as many Westerners get stuck in believing that the secrets of TPS/Lean must be in applying tools of one type of another to whatever fire is burning next on the list. He notes “…this couldn’t be further from the truth. The secret to transforming a company into a world-class organization has nothing to do with ‘tools’, nor ‘experts’.”
Jeremy spent over a decade in the jewelry industry, most recently as Vice President of Organizational Excellence for Tacori – the #1 most requested jewelry brand in North America. He started his relationship with the industry at Stuller, Inc., worldwide leader in just-in-time manufacturing and next day delivery, which successfully ships 30-40,000 items per day. Having made a name for himself at Stuller, Jeremy was offered a position at M&G Jewelers, Inc., a centralized repair center for Macy’s, JCPenney, Zale’s, and Swiss watch brands. In the 4 years Jeremy was present, the company grew into the nation’s largest jewelry repair facility, bringing process enhancements such as receiving, repair, and shipping same-day to an industry which commonly ran 5-10 day-plus turnarounds. He is an accomplished guitar player and a guitar teacher, as well as an avid woodworker, specializing in woodturning (vases, bowls, round lidded boxes..), and was recently named “one of California’s leading contemporary wood artists” by the Maloof Foundation (a Smithsonian Affiliate). He is a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and of the California Blacksmiths Association. He believes that working with one’s hands and the making of things – any things – is fundamental to understanding our place in the the bigger picture.