TechHelp Vandal Delivers Lean Message in Chile

TechHelp Manufacturing Specialists pride themselves on delivering world-class services to local companies in Idaho. But sometimes, the world comes calling. In May of 2017, Manufacturing Specialist, Gene Hamacher, of TechHelp and the University of Idaho provided the Keynote presentation at “Productivity Now!” a Seminar and Workshop of Operational Excellence in Concepcion, Chile.

Hamacher is based at the University of Idaho Research Park in Post Falls where he is a member of TechHelp’s Operational Excellence Team. Hamacher’s keynote address

Hamacher Delivers Keynote at "Productivity Now!" in Chile

Hamacher Delivers Keynote at “Productivity Now!” in Chile. (See more pictures below)

focused on Lean Manufacturing tools and methods, the benefits of Lean, barriers to companies beginning a Lean journey, and change management issues. Gene coordinated with local experts on three other presentations that focused on Lean history, culture, and collaboration.

Concepcion is Chile’s industrial hub and second largest city with a population of about 500,000. Gene was invited to Chile by Jorge Fuenzalida, an operations professional who had worked for the Chilean plant of Idaho’s Woodgrain Millwork. Gene was recommended to Mr. Fuenzalida by TechHelp Advisory Board Chair, Jim Peterson of FAMCO. Peterson had worked with Fuenzalida in the mid-2000’s to introduce Lean Manufacturing to Woodgrain’s plant in Chile.

The original scope of Gene’s trip expanded dramatically during discussions with his Chilean hosts. He added a two-day visit to Santiago, Chile’s capital, largest city, and cultural center with a population of about seven million. In addition to his duties at the Productivity Now! Conference, Gene met with Chilean businesses to discuss Lean Thinking and Lean Leadership and the methods, progress, and barriers involved in implementing Lean Manufacturing. Gene also met with economic development coordinators who were interested in TechHelp’s business model and organizational structure and how TechHelp and other Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers across the United States meet the needs of U.S. Manufacturers.

Lean Manufacturing is one of the continuous improvement methodologies offered by TechHelp’s Operational Excellence Team. Lean empowers employees to create customer value and cut waste. In today’s highly competitive global market, few firms survive by wasting time, money and resources or by delivering poor customer service.

If you would like to know more or embark on your own Lean Journey, contact a member of TechHelps Operational Excellence Team or request a free consultation.

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Andes Mountains from Santiago

The Andes Mountains from Santiago. Chile is a spectacular country bracketed by the Pacific Ocean to its west and mountains to its east.


In addition to his Keynote duties, Gene presented to Chilean companies and economic development organizations.


Gene prepares to take the state at "Productivity Now!" in Concepcion, Chile

Gene prepares to take the state at “Productivity Now!” in Concepcion, Chile


Gene searches for inspiration in preparation for his duties in Chile.

Gene searches for inspiration in preparation for his duties in Chile.


Gene relaxes with hosts and friends after a long, lean day in Chile.

Gene relaxes with hosts and friends after a long, lean day in Chile.