Business successes are the result of carefully nurtured teamwork. -- Brian McKibben


Brian McKibben is a founding partner of The Cumberland Group – Chicago. He has 30 years of experience in management and operations planning, helping business teams reduce waste, improve quality, smooth production flows, shorten order cycle times, and reduce inventories.

His approach to business performance improvement includes four elements:

  • Clear definition of customer requirements, especially their loyalty factors
  • Lean business processes; add only value to products and services; no waste
  • Team-based methods for broad workforce involvement in improvement efforts
  • Measurement = the springboard to Continuous Improvement

He has worked with many well-known clients, including Allied Signal (defense electronics systems), Champion / Gardner Denver (air compressors), Commonwealth Edison (electric utility), General Dynamics (satellite launch vehicles), Gillette, Herman Miller (office equipment), Johnsonville Foods, Master Lock, Moen (faucets and hardware), Nascote Industries (first-tier automotive components), Price Pfister (faucets & plumbing fixtures), Siemens Medical Systems (diagnostic equipment), Staley Mfg. Co. (corn products and food ingredients), VVP America (glass products and services), Whiting Corp. (industrial cranes and transport industry equipment).

Before joining Cumberland in 1991, Brian held management roles in nationally known manufacturing companies. That experience and insights contribute to his effectiveness in a consulting role. Managing the manufacturing planning functions for 140 Beatrice U.S. Food plants and warehouses provided perspective on optimization of a large-scale enterprise while providing for autonomy and job satisfaction of local operating teams. Directing product design, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering, and manufacturing services for The HON Company, Wesco Manufacturing, and All-Steel proved that even complex processes like product and manufacturing process development can be streamlined (made Lean) to achieve results in a fraction of “expected” times. His experience in a turnaround situation confirmed the saying that “the impossible is often the untried,” and that the technical issues in business are less important than the people issues — that business successes are the result of carefully nurtured team-work; not the rah-rah fluff type, but rather the practical nuts-and-bolts kind that’s focused on the team’s common goals and the mechanics of how they work together effectively to achieve the goals quickly.

Brian is a director on the Midwestern Board of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, past president of the Chicago Region of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and a speaker on operations planning and business performance improvement to other professional organizations. He holds a B.S. in Business and Economics / Industrial Management from the Stuart School of Management and Finance at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. And he is co-author of Six Sigma Financial Tracking and Reporting (McGraw-Hill, 2005), and co-author of Escape the Improvement Trap (CRC Productivity Press, 2011).