Episode 016: Bill Peterson : Lean Applied to Business Processes

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By Chris Burnham: Lean Manufacturing Educator, Six Sigma Black Belt, and Continuous Improvement Learner. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Peterson Head Shot

Bill Peterson is a Lean best practices teacher and consultant who draws on over 30 years of hands-on experience using Lean, Six Sigma, BPR, and other continuous improvement tools to enhance process efficiency, job satisfaction and organizational performance.

Combining the ideas of the great process improvement thinkers with his own experiences and insights, Bill began developing his approach to Lean methodology during a 26-year career with Delta’s Technical Operations Division.

While focused primarily on operational processes, he saw firsthand that the productivity and job satisfaction of frontline workers was often constrained by the impact of processes in other areas such as, sales/marketing, strategy, purchasing, logistics, engineering, HR, management, and invoicing/accounts receivable. This awareness put him at the forefront of one of today’s most important trends: applying Lean to business processes.

Since 2006, Bill has been dedicated to teaching professionals in diverse industries how to apply Lean best practices to improve business processes. He does this as a faculty member in the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business and through his own business LeanBP. In addition to creating and teaching Lean Applied to Business Processes, an intensive one-week course; the Disciplines of Speed, a one-day course; and Lead Smarter, a two- day course, he is also a lecturer in UT’s Aerospace & Defense Executive MBA program. His on site consulting clients have included Asurion, Team Health, Zodiac Aerospace, ACT, and Fokker Services, and he has done extensive work over the past 4 years with Air Force Acquisition contracting processes. In the classroom or on site, Bill emphasizes practical application over academic theory, personal engagement, and the alignment of processes with the organization’s mission and the creation of customer-defined value.

Bill holds an MBA in Lean Aerospace from the University of Tennessee, a BS in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle, Six Sigma Black Belt certification, and FAA Airframe and Power Plant Licenses.

Favorite Lean Quote:


'Work within your circle of influence'-Steven Covey
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Setback in their Lean Journey:

Bill talks about early on in his consulting career in and how he learned to help customer’s focus in on what success looks like.

Lean “A-Ha!” Moment:

Bill shares about the success of his students with Lean applied to Business Processes.


Trust the team, trust the tools
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Advice for the person starting out with Lean/Continuous Improvement:

Work within your circle of influence and physician heal thyself…


Make sure that you have applied what you are seeking to teach to yourself
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Advice for the journeyman professional in Lean/Continuous Improvement:

Bill talks about reading and re-reading to become better and how he uses Eli Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints to scope his lean efforts and become a better teacher.

Book Recommendation:

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Interview Links:

Course Description and Registration Lean Applied to Business Processes Course at University of Tennessee

WIP Caused Wastes

44 episodes