Ted Dirkx

Ted Dirkx

Ted Dirkx

Speaker | Vermeer

Altoona, IA | tdirkx@vermeer.com

After studying composting and graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies from Central College he joined equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa. For the past 11 years he has been traveling about 25 weeks a year roaming North America and beyond helping organizations setup compost facilities, manufacture mulch, clear land, and produce biofuels. As he interacts with operations he is a curious learner of all things that make their operations successful. He has presented at the Compost Council of Canada Conference, Canadian Wood Waste Recycling Association, Waste Expo, and USCC Conference on topics related to operational efficiency, maintenance, composting, and wood waste recycling.

Session Code: C1

Track: Operator

Session Name: Doing More with Less: Lean Operations, Controlling Costs, Innovative Funding

Session Time: Wednesday, Jan 25, 1:45 to 3:15 PM

Presentation Title: Introduction to Lean Manufacturing, Doing more with less

Presentation Description: As consumers and wholesalers begin to demand more from an operation to deliver product in a smaller window of time, with more variety, and at lower costs can be a real challenge. A challenge any budding manufacturing business faces. At Vermeer Corporation we faced this challenge nearly 25 years ago. As demand for the product grew over the years so too did inventory, employment, and other costs leading to diminishing returns. It was in the 1990s when management finally had to take a different approach to tackle these challenges. The system they chose was Lean Manufacturing, developed by the Japanese car company Toyota. It was in 1997 when our journey began with the first event to change our business operating system. Over the next 25 years a culture change occurred leading to a relentless pursuit of waste elimination. This created product with shorter lead times, higher quality, safer workplace, and more satisfied employees. Put simply, Vermeer was beginning to do more with less. Lean Manufacturing is a broad and deep system that can overwhelm businesses at first. Through my work as an Applications Specialist and now Sales Manager I have bridged that divide between factory and customer which has allowed me to gain valuable insight into the opportunities for mulch and compost manufacturers to adopt Lean Manufacturing concepts and begin taking steps to grow their business while protecting profit. It’s through these experiences that I will share Vermeer’s own story towards lean and connections will be made for those trying to develop their own growth strategy and developing a vision forward.