Staufen AG is also represented in the world‘s largest economy. Lean expert David Frost leads the US team as Senior Advisor. We introduce the „car guy“ in an interview.
In February of 2022, David Frost became a Principal at Staufen USA. After graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in economics and labor management, he began working for Ford Motor Company in Chicago as an hourly production worker. „I wanted to learn from the ground up“, Frost says, explaining why he began in Production, and his later decision to accept an Apprenticeship as a Tool and Die Maker. For him, it was like a „family business,“ as his Father was also a Diemaker at the plant, and his Brother is still employed there as an Electrician. After graduating his apprenticeship, he took on various management positions in the Tool and Die department. After eleven years at Ford, he moved to Toyota Motor Manufacturing for twelve years, where he deepened his lean knowledge in various departments and roles. In 2019, after 23 yrs. In the Automotive industry, he then moved into the Operational Consulting business.
With your previous positions at Ford and Toyota, you are a true „car guy.“ Does this mean today that you‘re also automatically a „lean guy“? What has been your personal „lean journey“ so far?
My lean journey began during my time as a Production Team Member and Tool and Die Journeyman at Ford Motor Co. I always enjoyed collaborating and finding ways to make processes easier, more repeatable, and ultimately more efficient for the operator. I learned this can rarely, if ever be done alone, and I still believe that the core foundations of teamwork, continuous improvement, and respect for people cannot be sacrificed when “lean” is the desired outcome.
What intrigues you about your new task at Staufen AG? What goals have you set for yourself?
I joined Staufen USA to not only be a part of the challenge to start the US office, but also to take advantage of the opportunity for personal growth and development that it offers. From the first meeting that I had with Staufen CEO Wilhelm Goschy, I quickly realized that the company and their values click with me, my background, and my beliefs. The mission to optimize performance and help people do their jobs more easily and efficiently through instruction and respect hit home.
The Academy was also very very intriguing. In it, there is a top team, a clear direction, and all of the resources needed to support the team and its customers to quickly build trust in the US market.
I can personally identify with the Staufen belief that “inside every company there is an even better one” and my goal is to carry that forward and improve my management ability as well along the way.
Respect for people and the workforce is especially important to you. Is that part of your lean imprint?
It definitely is. Almost immediately following my training as a Tool and Diemaker, I was given a management position supervising the men and woman that had been teaching me my trade for the previous 4 years. I learned that showing humility and respect by asking questions and understanding that there are different paths to achieve similar goals worked well for me and my team when it came to determining path forward. I quickly realized that being willing to listen and learn creates the momentum for continuous improvement.
What is the background and experience of the Staufen US team?
Our experience goes well beyond automotive and lean as a core. It expands deeply into expertise in training and development with backgrounds in multiple industries and distribution networks as well. If needed, we can also pull resources from our counterparts in Mexico, Germany, or the rest of the world at any time.
Both Staufen and the Academy are also active worldwide and we are always in an exchange of some sort. We benefit from that knowledge just as much as our customers do.
In which topics do you see the greatest need for this expertise in the U.S.?
Currently, all sectors in the US, regardless of whether it’s Automotive, Commercial, Industrial or Logistics have exposure in some way to similar challenges. Domestic demand is increasing, utilization and development of more sustainable processes are increasing, the labor market is continuing to create pressure in multiple ways, and the need for Industry 4.0 implementation is growing. Together with our customers, we at Staufen develop solutions, optimize processes, plan new plants, support the development of the workforce, and accompany businesses on their path towards digitization. We are truly in a great position to support the arising needs of a complex economy.
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