First-Time Authors Lean Into Transformative Manufacturing Principles

June 16, 2022
Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller share lessons from their extensive leadership experience.

READ MORE: If the Shoe Fits: How Two Women Manage Lean Transformations

Shannon Karels, a senior operations manager, and Kathy Miller, a senior operations executive, use their collective experience to share knowledge about supply chain leadership and the journey to transform a traditional manufacturing plant into a lean enterprise.

The title of the book, Steel Toes and Stilettos: A True Story of Women Manufacturing Leaders and Lean Transformation Success, makes it clear that the narrative is told from a woman’s perspective. “We wanted to show that, as women in manufacturing, you can be yourself,” said Karels.

But the pair also maintain that the lessons and advice are universally applicable. “We felt like we had a really good story about business transformation that was comprehensive, around creating an inclusive manufacturing culture and in converting processes from batch manufacturing to lean,” said Miller.

In this interview with Machine Design, the authors provide a glimpse into their careers, their passion for lean, high-performance teams, overcoming power dynamics and taking criticism.

Editor’s Note: Machine Design's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) hub compiles our coverage of gender representation issues affecting the engineering field, in addition to contributions from equity seeking groups and subject matter experts within various subdisciplines.

About the Author

Rehana Begg | Editor-in-Chief, Machine Design

As Machine Design’s content lead, Rehana Begg is tasked with elevating the voice of the design and multi-disciplinary engineer in the face of digital transformation and engineering innovation. Begg has more than 24 years of editorial experience and has spent the past decade in the trenches of industrial manufacturing, focusing on new technologies, manufacturing innovation and business. Her B2B career has taken her from corporate boardrooms to plant floors and underground mining stopes, covering everything from automation & IIoT, robotics, mechanical design and additive manufacturing to plant operations, maintenance, reliability and continuous improvement. Begg holds an MBA, a Master of Journalism degree, and a BA (Hons.) in Political Science. She is committed to lifelong learning and feeds her passion for innovation in publishing, transparent science and clear communication by attending relevant conferences and seminars/workshops. 

Follow Rehana Begg via the following social media handles:

X: @rehanabegg

LinkedIn: @rehanabegg and @MachineDesign

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