Charlie Sax is a manufacturing and supply chain leader focused on driving lean transformation for operations. From Toyota to Stanford, Charlie has worked for 20 years in several roles, continuously developing, applying, and transferring his Toyota Production System (TPS) knowledge through a hands-on approach.
In 2003, after success in several roles with Toyota, Charlie was selected to participate in a three year TPS leader development program dedicated to strengthening his TPS knowledge and capability, working with many of Toyota’s “best of the best”. Working across six factories and numerous suppliers, notable achievements include the implementation of the Jishuken (Rapid Kaizen Event) model for Toyota in North America, building the internal logistics from the ground up for the first Toyota factory in Mexico, improving productivity for assembly of the Sienna minivan by reducing 21 assembly line processes, and turning around supplier profitability through implementing such concepts as making problems visible, standard work, and zero- changeover. This exposure gave Charlie insight into why each of the elements of the Toyota Production System are so important along with the capability to drive and implement change in any environment.
From there Charlie spent four more years with Toyota, leading the TPS group at the NUMMI facility, training 1000+ employees in Standard Work and Problem Solving, as well as managing operations with 100+ employees for high volume manufacturing in a union environment.
After Charlie moved on from Toyota in 2010, he carried his experience into other industries, from Solar to Fuel Cell to Health Care along with consulting from High Tech to Food & Dairy. In the Health Care role at Stanford Charlie led the transformation of the Supply Chain Operations while managing a $110M+ budget and 200+ staff. He implemented a Lean Management System, which through active daily management and the introduction of several TPS tools, led to drastic improvement in quality and service levels while reducing direct and indirect cost contributing more than $10M in annual savings. He developed the “Leaders As Teachers” lean development program, training over 100 leaders and coaching them through hands-on activity. He also led the new hospital activation planning, including contract negotiations and implementation of several large scale capital projects.
As Charlie has transitioned through different industries, from manufacturing to healthcare, from young to mature companies, he has learned that what is critical is to understand the uniqueness of each business and then recognizing what approach fits best to be successful, being relentless and persevering, making a positive difference and a lasting impact.