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Streamlining the Customer Experience with Jay Hodge & Associates’ Jay Hodge

YOUR success is their business.

Jay Hodge is the Founder and President of Jay Hodge and Associates.

Jay Hodge and Associates is a team of talented, experienced, and dedicated professionals committed to helping you achieve your goals and objectives by delivering value through action driven problem solving, employee engagement, and continuous improvement.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

And with us right now, we've got Jay Hodge. Jay, you are the Founder and President of Jay Hodge and Associates. Thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you very much.

So I guess just to start off, can you kind of explain what Jay Hodge and Associates does, and I should point out that your website is J the letter J Hodge, HODGE. Associate are at ASSOC.com It's kind of all truncated to use less letters. And of course, we got a link to it at UpMyInfluence.com if you want to find, because I know, Jay, you do a lot of good work for a lot of great clients. And can you kind of just give us an overview of the work that you found yourself in and the impact that you create?

Absolutely. I think the easiest way to if you were to put it all into one word, it'd be value. I spent years with companies like Toyota General Motors, Ford, Caterpillar, tenet healthcare and your one over overlying need for every company, regardless of what type of customer you have is value. They're all looking for value that you deliver. And so with Jay Hodge and Associates, we're a small consulting firm. If you look at the associates, look, you look at the website. We have a large network of independent consultants and a lot of people say or asked me a simple question, why don't you hire these consultants and to be very honest, if you're an independent consultant, you like the autonomy you like having your own company. And a lot of organizations out there. If you've ever worked with large groups of consultants from large consulting firms and nothing against them, a lot of organizations don't want an army coming in and taking over, they want people coming in, who literally become part of the team. And that's that's really what Jay Hodge and Associates it's about. Can you run through some of the areas of specialty as I'm looking at, on your website, your your team of independent experts, you cover a lot of really vital areas for business today. So if a business is looking to improve streamline, operations, productions budget, that sort of thing, can you kind of talk about where your team of experts come in? And what are some of the outcomes that you can help provide? Absolutely. So you know, we try and with the network, I try and cover the gamut of operations. You know, you look at regardless of the industry or what you're in, people are looking To improve their quality performance, they're looking to improve their overall operations, their their financial aspects. So most of the experts that are on the in within the network are geared toward those areas. Some of them are specializing in specific areas. But there are several that have experience across multiple departments within different organizations right. Now customer experience, regardless of what industry you're in customer experience right now is the key. If you can't not if you can't attract and then if you can't keep your customers, I don't care how good you are at other things, it doesn't really matter.

Yeah, for sure. Um, so what would be some examples of of clients that you've serviced

manufacturing companies, so when you look at manufacturing, cost is everything, cost and quality and throughput is everything. You know, the more automated we get, the more efficient we become as long as the processes that we develop With within those efficiencies and within those production lines is effective because you can you can put a robot into anything and absolutely screw up your entire operations. It's based upon the processes that that surround that robot in healthcare. To be an honest, the, the list of opportunities is endless. Healthcare is about, I'd say 15 to 20 years behind manufacturing when it comes to understanding and utilizing lean or understanding management systems, effective management systems. So, you know, when a lot of the work I'm doing right now is is geared towards hospitals simply because the cost structure for healthcare is changing on almost a daily basis. You've got physicians, providers, surgeons, nurses, administrators that are looking for ways not just to improve the quality of the care that they provide, but to do it in a cost effective manner. And they're starting to realize that that is a result of the team's being in gauged not siloed not not a hidden within their fortresses of this department in that department, but but engaging across the departments to really work together. And then that's that's a challenge because that's not really been historically how hospitals and companies function.

Jay, I see a lot of your team members begin their title with the word lean. And so they're going to be many people on this. were listening. They know what lean is, but for an I know what lean is but but for someone who doesn't know what lean is, like I say, I know what it means. I think I do from a very, very high level. But could you kind of start from that high level explanation of what what Lean principles are?

Absolutely. And to be very honest, I like to challenge people with their their definition or

don't challenge me it's going to be embarrassing, because you're gonna find out it's a deck of cards, my friend, you asked a

question my friend, and your The idea is so hey, all right. No, a lot of people think lean is about reducing waste. And, and it is, but it's really not. If you think about it, when we do something, there's always a purpose behind it. So when people say that we want to utilize lean, and lean lean isn't a tool lean is a philosophy lean contains a bunch of different tools that you can use but lean is more of the way you think less of what you do. But when you look at lean lean isn't about reducing waste just to reduce waste. I mean, what if you said you want to lose 10 pounds, you want to lose 10 pounds because you want to live longer. You want to reduce your cholesterol reduce your risk, I mean, basically improve your overall quality of life. You want to see your grandkids you want to see your great grandkids you want to be able to go on that mountain hike and and enjoy all these things. You're not losing weight, just to say I'm now 155 pounds versus 165. You're losing that 10 pounds because it impacts every single aspect of your life. When you start to Talking about Lean and you start talking about reducing waste. If all we're doing is reducing waste, just to say we have less waste in our processes, there's no reason for it, we reduce waste to add value. That's why I said at the beginning, I said lean is more about value than it is about waste. Because lean by itself if all you're doing is reducing waste, but you don't understand the impact and the value that your customers, patients, and everybody requires as a result of that, you're missing the big picture.

Can you tell me a story of how you've been able to work with a particular client and if you don't mind sharing, maybe the you know, a specific industry are the type of thing that they manufactured. You know, you came in and and identified where maybe they could optimize. And then again, using what you just explained, it's not just about cutting ways, but it's, it was kind of like a reallocation of resources or you know, maybe it's being more competitive on price or something like that. Is So as well, and you made a very good point when you start talking about resources, when resources are what we utilize to create value for our for our industry, and when we don't utilize those resources effectively, basically we're throwing them in Trash Trash Can. A great example. I worked with the hospital about two years ago, and they had six.

Six o ours and the O ours were were identical as far as layout, right? Well, they're supposed to be. But when I started working with them, one of the difficulties they had is is the nurses were having to leave the procedures continually to go get this to go get that they were missing equipment that would start late because it didn't have the equipment that they were supposed to they had to go borrow it from another or well that one's still on procedures you're gonna now have to wait. And what we realized is that they were supposedly identical. But when you looked in the cabinets, you looked in the in the storage areas, you looked at what equipment they have The actual floor layout, they weren't, which means that if I'm a surgeon or if I'm a nurse or finding someone in that room, and I need something I have to stop and literally had to stop and think, wait a second, what room Am I in? Because room two, three and four have this over here, but room one, and five, don't I'm gonna have to go to the go to the storage and get it. And so what that did is that created chaos. And if you think about that, this isn't it wasn't just about creating efficiency for the process itself for the physicians, the surgeons and anesthesiologists the nurses. It was about the person on that bed. Yeah, because everything that we did that impacted or interrupted, that procedure could potentially impact the patient. It all went back to the patient, plain and simple.

So, you know, Jay, when I hear you share a story like that, or I think when an outsider, here's a story about how a particular work Place, or manufacturer, whoever it is, or business, like my business, you know, you might look at something that we're doing, and you might point it out. And other people, they hear it. And they almost laugh and they say, How on earth? Are they doing that? That's that? Shouldn't somebody like that be just obvious to everybody? So I guess my question is, how do inefficiencies like that happen? And why don't we see them.

Um, it's actually a migration. What happens in a lot of organizations, whether it's manufacturing, sales, service or healthcare, we develop a process, and we develop a process that we think is optimal. But over time, there are little workarounds or band aids that are created because things go wrong and instead of worrying about it or or fixing it yet, I'm sure you've heard, fix it now or just fix it. Stop to fix. Instead of doing that, what we do is we create little work. rounds. And people raised their hands and they say, hey, we've got a problem, I have an idea. And we say, Okay, we'll get to it. And they raise their hand. And after three or four times of them raising their hands and, and nobody getting to it, nothing taking place, there's a couple things that happen. They all of a sudden realize that their opinion as the expert is not valued. And then they stop raising their hands. And so, two years down the road, we've got 10 or 15 more examples of that taking place in this process. Nobody's raising their hands. And it becomes one of those things where people just say, well, that's how we've always done it. Oh, and that's not the worst part because we've hired 10 more people during that two year period of time. And guess what, we've trained them on a broken process. Yeah, you know, slow migration, but

I see a danger than from having a complete top down leadership model and and how that would stifle a little Lot of those opportunities to improve systems. And I think it's really easy for leaders to give lip service to encouraging Well, we want your feedback or I know, you're not going to submit your your, your ideas and suggestions. Right. But I think there's a difference between just saying it, and then really developing a culture of making sure that it's not just complete top down leadership, but that people are empowered. And what from your vantage point like how do you encourage that culture, other than maybe just the obvious, like just staying committed to it? I don't know. Um,

one of the first things that I do when I go to a potential client is also with the CEO or president. And and I'll just be very honest, I say, you're going to be involved in this process on a daily basis. If you're not willing to do that to go to the floor and be involved with the teams on a daily basis, then I'm not the right person for you. And if they say you No, they're not I'm okay with that. Because what it is it would be an organization that I go start working with. And even if it's the senior leaders under the, under the CEO or president, it's still going to fail. Because there's one Captain on a ship. There's one person that says our ship is going that direction. And if that person on that in that position isn't pointing every single day, for the team, of course, you're going to have organizations where this department is focused on this, this department is focused on this, you end up with competing metrics. So when I implement a Lean management system or a visual management system, in an organization, we create a structure, a scheduled structure, or those senior leaders, the directors, the President, are involved with those teams every single day, whether it be a safety huddle, whether it be a glass wall discussion, where you're talking about organizational metrics that that drive down into your tactical objectives and and your gamba bores, but they have to be involved and if they're not I'll end the engagement because I'm sorry, I won't be part of something that's going to fail because you didn't do what you you committed to do. Do you think that leaders would be fearful of, you know, feeling like they're giving too much power to that front line? Because they will lose, you know, some perceived respect or it's, it's their job as the leader to just always be the one with all the great ideas. I wonder what the resistance is why I think there's there's a misconception in leadership. And I'm sure everybody listening to this has probably seen examples of this. We believe that since we were on the front line, we became a supervisor became a manager, we became a director, we became a senior director became a vice president, we became a senior vice president, we became the president. We obviously know more than anybody else, otherwise. That's a fallacy. If you look at some of your most successful organizations, and if you look at The military some of the most successful organizations are led by leaders who understand that they're there to serve their entire team. I in fact, I've never I haven't seen a CEO at a hospital draw blood. Since I've been in this business. I haven't seen a president of a manufacturing company actually go out there and and weld something. I have not seen it. They're not the ones actually producing the product. They're the ones setting the strategic direction for the organization. But their job is also to remove the barriers and make sure that the teams have everything that they need to be successful. You know, the greatest examples I had came from the Marines I had a colonel I'd take a grenade form right now and jump off a cliff if he asked me to. We're out there in the middle of the night working on an F 18 in Washington DC at Andrews Air Force Base and it is snowing and is miserable. It is horrible. And this is actually store in my book and I'm reaching back behind me because my head's in the Middle of the airplane and I'm reaching for a tool from my partner. And he doesn't hand it to me and I start to get a little lippy. And I turned around, and guess who's standing right there? Yeah, my seal. And he hands me the tool. And the fact that he came out there in the middle of the night and handed me a tool when he didn't have to do that. It spoke the world for me. I had a leader once told me that if I ever become too important to do the things I asked my teams to do I stopped being their leader. Yeah, that's Wow. I was like,

Jay, you mentioned your military experience. How has that impacted you as a leader?

I think it's created a respect. You know, everybody in an organization has a job. And it's prevented me from using excuses when excuses would have been a really fun thing to use at certain times. And you know, this from from your metrics, right? There is no excuse. There's no reason to failure you don't failure is not an option. You figure it out, improvise, adapt and overcome. And I think that has created somewhat of a callousness in my personality which prevents me from actually using the excuses like that, or and accepting them. And that's one of the biggest thing with leaders is that I tell them, you know, when if you as a leader, use excuses, you are literally writing a permission slip for everybody in your department or organization to use excuses to buy because they follow your example. Hmm.

Yeah. I like that. Jay, and forgive me. I you're also the author of a book, please tell me about the book.

Oh, The Lean Treasure Chest it was actually published the end of last year. Congratulations. Well, thank you very much. It's it's doing very well. It I guess it's the easiest way to say it is is as a Lean Six Sigma certified person. I've run into so many organizations that have that have Six Sigma people in the organization. And it's their job to fix everything. And that is absolutely the 100% wrong direction to go, I have, I think Lean Six Sigma, black belts, and all of that are great tools within an organization, but they cannot own anything. The owners of the of that process improvements, the owners of the lean of lean should actually be the experts in the organization and that this book is basically focused on on what lean tools are, how to lead an organization, that you want to be lean, and then how to drive that lean knowledge to your teams. So that every opportunity that they see becomes an opportunity to get better because they see far more than the blackbelt teams they see far more than the directors and the in the senior leaders. They're they're literally the key to success within an organization.

You know, so I'm on Amazon right now. And of course, the price can always change from day to day. I know on this but right now I'm on Amazon, and I just looked up your book, the lean treasure chest and the Kindle. Version $5 and 49 cents. That's wonderful. So I think in this book would be written for whom

it's written for everybody, in fact, actually addressed that in the first chapter. This is this is the book that if you give your frontline staff it'll make sense to them. I don't use I don't use a lot of complicated Lean Six Sigma Black Belt jargon and all that right, good everything into terms that that a person who's literally attaching something on a on a on a automobile assembly, it would make perfect sense. And they would look at their process and go, Oh, my gosh, I never thought about it that way. We should do this this way.

I love that. So lean. So kind of learning principles of lean and in language that doesn't get too jargony.

Correct. But I also address leadership specifically because of correct leadership. It won't work

Nice. Nice. Well, Jay, I want to thank you so much for joining us again, you're the author of The Lean Treasure Chest, you can look this up on Amazon right now it's $5 49 cents as if when we're recording this. It could change. And and so congratulations on the book launch. It's doing well, you've got great ranking in the business operations category. Yeah, business production operations category rank pretty high. And then of course, you're on the web at JHodgeAssociate.com, it's actually J, letter J. Hodge, HODGE. And then Associate is just abbreviated, ASSOC.com. And, Jay, thank you so much for joining us. I really enjoyed this conversation.

Well, I have to Josh, I really appreciate and appreciate appreciate all that you do for the entrepreneurs.

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