C-Suite Lean Leadership: Motivating People for the Next Frontier

Dan_Mora.jpgHonesty and integrity have been cornerstones of Dan Mora’s career. As the CEO and President of Gemini Duplication, a provider of subpoena, copy, and online record management services, Mora is leveraging lean leadership to bring his company into the next frontier of its industry through teamwork, collaboration, advancement, and constant improvement – all in the midst of a challenging and changing industry.

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What about your career path – how did you end up in the legal record industry and at Gemini? Any pivotal or a defining moments of your career?

At an early age, I knew I had a strategic and opportunistic mindset. I also saw the world differently than most. Through my experiences in the copy service industry, I became particularly interested in worker’s comp and how to streamline it. From there Gemini was born. I become part of a Business Incubator in Clovis, CA – and attended an entrepreneurial business class. I met amazing business contacts who would eventually become strategic partners for Gemini. I also joined Pacific Community Ventures, which introduced me to a CEO forum. There I met one of my mentors, George, who revolutionized our world at Gemini – he introduced me to lean, consulted with my executive staff, and led us on a 2-year educational journey. This was the pivotal and defining moment of my career. Things catapulted after that. The company grew from two employees to 70 in the first 10 years.

Tell us a little about Gemini. What does your company do and who are your customers?

Gemini specializes in record procurement – streamlining the independent discovery process and making life easier for California workers' compensation attorneys. Our GenieDocs tool includes OCR document searching, live order statuses and user-friendly order forms.

From where you sit, what’s a home run for your organization? How has this home run evolved over time?

A big win we’ve had is embracing lean concepts and daily continuous improvement. Our lean journey has certainly evolved because lean is deceivingly difficult to implement. When we started, leadership felt as though we had a good grasp on the concepts. But grasping the knowledge and applying it are two different animals. We’re in an extremely difficult industry. Insurance companies pay us, but don’t always want to pay us. As such, we’ve had to drastically reduce our operating costs, and lean is helping us do that.

But at the end of the day, the entire company is built around making a real difference for the community, doing what's right for our customers, providing our employees with the opportunity to define unique career paths and sharing ideas that will help propel us into the future. If we succeed at that, then we’ve hit a home run.

What opportunities for improvement have existed in your supply chain? What do you do to clear those hurdles?

We’re a regulated industry as of July 1st, and having a single-minded focus on lean processes in order to achieve our clients’ needs while remaining profitable has been our method of survival. 

As a supply chain best practice, our fulfillment strategy and overall business strategy have to be aligned – it’s a constant focus on customer needs - thinking about the system as a whole to achieve common goals.  We realized this after exploring lean concepts, and are using them to continually advance our fulfillment strategy.

Do you see impending changes and trends in your industry's future? What are you doing to prepare for the next frontier?

Digitized records will have an interesting impact on our business. Right now we’re a legal clearing house for the documents attorneys need. Diversification is probably where we’re headed. The outlook is finding the next attorney niche that will allow us to serve more markets.

Establishing industry credibility will be a future challenge we’ll need to address. We need to diversify our product offerings and innovate so that our competition is always lagging behind us, not vice versa. We need more training on operational excellence and documenting processes.

How do you engage your people in business improvements?

We need to be realistic. I usually start by telling people they’ll spend a good amount of time working at Gemini, and it’s every person's responsibility to make that time the most rewarding and productive. At Gemini, we want our team members to attain three things:

  • Personal enrichment
  • Professional enrichment
  • Communal enrichment

Experiences at Gemini should be focused on enriching ourselves personally, professionally, and communally. Engaged employees are the most productive. Through lean leadership, I strive to give people opportunities to master their craft. I also take an interest in what they’re committed to outside of Gemini, and their personal motivations. When you connect their work to personal motivation, that mastery takes place. 

How do you measure your team’s success and how are you measured?

We have two critical success factors that are broadcasted to the company: turnaround time and cost per work order. Keeping those metrics down and profit up is what will sustain and grow the company. On a more granular level, measures like quality and quantity will always help improve the bottom line.

Does your organization operate by guiding principles? If so, what are they?

We have to have purpose and principles. We also have to reflect on our commitment to purpose and principles. Integrity, mastery of craft, communication, innovation, creativity, creating a learning environment, and leadership – these are all guiding principles of Gemini. The House of Lean helps keep us grounded. Gemini promotes a culture of servant-leadership and is a place where teamwork, collaboration, advancement, and constant improvement are part of daily life.

 


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Posted by Susie Sterling

Susie Sterling-Bodnar is Director of Online Training Solutions for LeanCor Training and Education. She is an instructor for Supply Chain and Logistics at the University of Kentucky MBA Program, California State University Fresno Executive MBA Program, St. Louis University, Center for Supply Chain Management Studies and for the Lean Enterprise Institute. Susie speaks four different languages and has worked in both the US and Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in International Business from Avans University, Breda – the Netherlands, a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from Budapest Business School, Hungary and a Master’s degree in International Business and Economics from the Andrassy German University of Budapest, Hungary. In addition to her degrees, Susie is a certified SCPro One (CSCMP), Supply Chain Professional, and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LeanCor). Susie was born and raised in Miskolc, Hungary and moved to the USA in 2005. She now lives in Fresno, CA with her husband Chris.

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