Sartorius & Zingerman’s Mail Order Gemba Walk

  • Wednesday, March 29, 2023
  • 8:30 AM
  • Starts at Sartorius 1143 Highland Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
  • 4


Registration is closed



 8:00 AM  Arrive at Sartorius
 8:30 AM  Tour
 9:30 AM  Arrive at Zingerman’s Mail Order
 9:45 AM  Tour
 11:45 AM  Lunch at Zingerman's Southside Businesses
 (optional and not included in the price) 


1143 Highland Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Please park in the parking lot on the right side of the building.


Sartorius is a Germany-based equipment and services partner of Life Science Research and the Biopharmaceutical Industry. From its start in lab-weighing equipment in 1870, Sartorius has grown to 15,000 staff in 60 locations world-wide. We are living in the bio-century. Global medical knowledge is expanding at a rapid pace. But despite huge breakthroughs, many diseases, such as cancer, rheumatism or Alzheimer's, are still not curable. Sartorius is part of the solution. We help to ensure that new scientific discoveries can be translated more quickly into effective patient care. With technologies, platforms and partnerships for a common goal: better health for more people.

Sartorius is about one year into the Lean Transformation. You will see and interact with people and processes being transformed top-down (Value Stream visions, kaizens) and bottom-up (daily huddles with ideas and LOTS of problem solving). SORRY, no pictures are allowed inside the building. The hosts can send along pictures of specific Lean artifacts upon request.

Zingerman's Mail Order

610 Phoenix Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Zingerman's Mail Order is a service offered by Zingerman's, a specialty food company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company offers a wide range of gourmet food products, including artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, baked goods, and other specialty items. Customers can order these products online or by phone, and they can be shipped to locations throughout the United States. Zingerman's also offers gift boxes, gift certificates, and subscriptions to its products. The company prides itself on sourcing high-quality, unique, and often hard-to-find items, and also offers a satisfaction guarantee for their products. ZMO practices Lean, open book management and servant leadership. We experience high variability in sales which has us shipping 50% of the annual revenue in the 2 weeks before the December holidays. This results in us onboarding and training 300 people over 6 weeks. We’ve gotten kinda good at this! Come check us out!


Steve Hoeft is Continuous Improvement (CI) at Sartorius. Steve has 30+ years experience leading large-scale Lean transformations across a broad range of industries. His Lean journey began in 1992 at Delta Kogyo, then at Johnson Controls learning from sensei at Toyota, and contributing to nine (9) Shingo Prize awards. He consulted for 17 years, including with Jeffrey Liker’s startup – Optiprise. After winning two more Shingo Prizes with USAF’s repair ops, Steve led many great healthcare organizations through Lean deployments. He joined Baylor Scott & White Health in Texas full-time for 8+ years through their mergers, accelerating their culture of CI and transformation for 50,000 staff. He wrote a Shingo-winning book about this success story. He has successes in a great number of industries as a servant leader doing, leading and teaching CI.

Books For Sale from Steve Hoeft

Stories from My Sensei (2011 Shingo Award-winner)

In the tradition of Taoist philosophers and Zen masters, Steve Hoeft tells the stories he learned from his Toyota Production System (TPS) master teachers.


Power of Ideas to Transform Healthcare (2015 Shingo Award-winner)

Many companies conduct Lean training and projects, but few have tapped the wealth of ideas in the minds of their staff like Baylor Scott and White Health.


Josh Johnston is Continuous Improvement (CI) at Sartorius. It was early on in his schooling that Josh realized his true passion lied at the intersection of people and process. Too social for classic engineering disciplines, and too technical for a business track, Josh earned his BSE in Industrial & Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, along with a certificate in Sustainable Engineering and his Six Sigma Black Belt. Josh worked in a variety of manufacturing settings with Johnson Controls, Johnson & Johnson, and Perrigo Pharmaceuticals. After graduating, Josh spent four years deploying CI at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He was given increasing roles on their Business Efficiency & Continuous Improvement team where he utilized Lean methodologies to improve processes – from call center operations, prior authorization programs, IT, and group business sales.

Betty Gratopp oversees a crew of 100 and a part-time seasonal crew of 400. Betty has been the lead implementer and developer of Zingerman’s Mail Order’s lean transformation, now in its 20th year. She runs several kata storyboards, creates and steers all long-term planning, and teaches regular classes to her crew and outside organizations.

Books for Sale from Betty


Lean in High Variability Business

This clever and highly engaging graphic novel details a story about one organization's Lean journey with inspiration from the Toyota Way.


Bringing Scientific Thinking to Life

Your team’s ability to learn and adapt is paramount, and scientific thinking is the key to unlocking this invaluable skill.

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