Impruver Technologies was founded by career-long Continuous Improvement practitioner, Calvin L Williams, who worked for 20 years as an Operations Leader and Engineer with some of America’s premier manufacturing companies, generating Billions in growth opportunities and cost savings for those he has served.
Calvin, a South Chicago native, started his manufacturing career 20 years ago working part-time on the shop floor of Square D Company in Lincoln, NE. There he manually assembled circuit breakers while earning his undergraduate degree in Industrial Management Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), where he attended on Track and Field and academic scholarships. From that moment on, he not only fell in love with the art of manufacturing; he also developed enormous respect for the people who did the work every day, grinding it out to create value for customers. He also realized their incredible untapped potential as individuals and as an organization. As his shop floor colleagues would tell him, he wasn’t cut out for manually assembling breakers – and that he should stay in school; and that he did.
After completing his Engineering degree, he went back into manufacturing to work for Tyson Foods in Goodlettsville, TN to work as an Industrial Engineer under Jim Wise and Tony Decaria. He excelled rapidly in this role, being promoted to Sr IE after just 9 months on the job, meanwhile leading the development and execution of a $40 Million annual capital project plan.
Years and an MBA later, he took a position with Nestle in Jonesboro, AR to help initiate their foray into Lean Six Sigma. There he led the plant’s first Continuous Improvement project to reduce changeover times by 36% in 6 weeks across the two main production lines. This project won Calvin a runner up finish in Nestle North America’s Continuous Excellence program. His people-first approach to improvement also sparked a powerful movement for more CI among the workforce at the plant.
He was later hired by Colgate to lead their Topeka, KS – Hills Pet Nutrition plant into their version of Total Productive Maintenance, called FP&R, or Factory Performance and Reliability, under Richard Slaughter. In this role, he simultaneously ran second shift production operations while leading the CI program for the facility. Being a union facility, this experience reinforced the importance of empowering people to own results for their area of work and partnering with them to continuously improve performance.
He then went to work for Mars for an opportunity to lead the Lean program for the Western Petcare network of plants as a Lean Manager, based in Reno, NV under Bret Spangler and Lynne Ann Lawson. There he implemented what’s called the Factory Mars Operating System (FMOS) and coached other western US facilities to use the system to engage the workforce in systematic coaching and problem solving; similar to Toyota KATA. In this role, he filled a 6-month gap as Operations Manager where production increased by 25% and quality metrics increased by over 40% through the application of what later would become the Impruver Continuous Improvement System.
Calvin left Mars to work for AT Kearney’s Manufacturing Center of Excellence, alongside the industry’s best and brightest talent under Tony Lynch. There he helped several small and mid-sized manufacturers and the US Army and Air Force to meet mission critical business objectives. He also led the development of the firm’s Agile Manufacturing service offering to help manufacturers in fast-moving markets to create more customer-centric operating models.
Years later, he worked for Clorox as their Sr Manager of Global Continuous Improvement, leading the CI program, Strategy Deployment, and enterprise Change Management for 36 factories globally. There he honed his skills as an executive coach; helping Plant Managers, Directors, and VP’s to leverage Continuous Improvement to accelerate execution of their overall business strategies.
Along the journey, Calvin noticed a recurring theme in the challenges all companies seemed to face in their efforts to get better. These challenges include: Lack of CI skills development throughout the enterprise, Lack of leadership support and engagement, and Lack of sufficient tools and information. He had worked to slay these invisible giants his entire career and finally began to see them clearly in recent years. Fortunately, each experience along the way taught him something new about how to win in CI. The secret was to simplify the discipline down to its core and leverage technology to lower the learning curve and administrative burden, which empowers everyone to understand and apply it themselves. Continuous Improvement needed to be made easy and accessible for anyone who wanted it.
Calvin built Impruver to address this challenge and has begun beta trialing the technology with mid-sized manufacturers – and the results have been phenomenal! The first trial led to an incredible 97% increase in plant productivity within just 90 days. Since then, the plant continues to break production records, grow sales, and develop its pipeline of Continuous Improvement and operations leaders. This facility is now currently in the running for Plant of the Year by multiple major manufacturing publications.
Continuous Improvement technology changes the game in many unexpected ways. Though Impruver, Calvin has empowered all to leverage the game’s most powerful tool; and accelerate their own CI journeys.