Significant improvement can happen at all levels of an organization, but transformation must be driven from an executive mindset. -- Michael Bremer


Michael Bremer initially learned about the world of business performance improvement as a very young man in the 1980s when he was given responsibility for creating a company-wide improvement effort for a Fortune 30 company, Beatrice Foods. He spent time with Dr. W. Edwards Deming (process thinking), Dr. Joseph M. Juran (employee engagement, focus on the vital few) and Phil Crosby (quality is free, cost of quality). The Beatrice improvement initiative (Strive for Excellence) was one of the improvement models looked at when the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Criteria was originally developed. Michael was also privileged to be mentored by several senior executives from other Fortune 100 companies who had significantly more experience in the world of business performance improvement.

Currently Michael is President of the Cumberland Group – Chicago; V.P. of Manufacturing Excellence Awards for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME - volunteer); Co-Managing Director of the Chicagoland Lean Enterprise Consortium Group; and Instructor for the University of Chicago’s Graham School on process innovation. He holds a B.S. in Business from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He is keynote speaker at business conferences and is co-author of three books: Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook (McGraw-Hill, 2004), Six Sigma Financial Tracking and Reporting (McGraw-Hill, 2005), and Escape the Improvement Trap (CRC Productivity Press, 2011).

His approach to business performance improvement includes four elements:

  • Find the key leverage factors that drive meaningful change; the ‘vital few’
  • Team-based methods for broad workforce involvement in improvement efforts
  • Identify the few key ‘relevant metrics’ to guide progress
  • Have some fun along the way to accomplishing something significant

Michael is an executive with broad domestic and international industry experience in business process redesign, Six-Sigma, Kaizen/Lean methods, post-ERP business process performance improvement (financial and operational), project team development, lean accounting, and continuous improvement.

He has worked in a variety of environments including: high- and low-tech manufacturing, electric utilities, USAF, USN, software, newspaper publishing, and non-profits. Clients include: Motorola, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hallmark Cards, 3COM, American Electric Power, The Houston Chronicle, Hamilton Sundstrand, Verizon, AT&T, Flextronics, Elkay Manufacturing, Department of Financial Services (DFAS), Veterans Administration, NAVAIR, and a variety of Air Force and Navy weapons acquisition-related teams.

Michael has been a speaker for the American Quality & Productivity Center and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, and spoke at the White House Conference on Productivity. He serves on the national board of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and is a past board member of the Strategic Management Association and Board President of Old Town School of Folk Music.