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Toni Davies

For over twenty years, Dr. Toni Davies has helped leaders who are committed to developing people as their first responsibility—and their primary improvement strategy—in creating highly successful workplaces. Drawing on her experience working with executives in both service and production environments, Dr. Davies guides authentic and sustainable deployments of Lean and continuous improvement practices based on the unique current and historical data collected within each organization. In her role as sensei (or coach), Dr. Davies focuses each leader to build—and leave as a legacy—an organization devoted to the respect and betterment of people at every level, and one that embodies the positive, peaceful, and productive values of Kaizen.

In the 1980s, her work as Senior Consultant and Manager of Program Review and Development for the original Productivity Consulting Group was instrumental in Dr. Davies becoming an expert in Lean Kaizen practices and implementation, and was the beginning of her own Lean Kaizen journey. She and her colleagues researched, developed, and applied the first western quality methods based upon the Toyota Production System—a cornerstone model for both the service and manufacturing sectors, and the cutting-edge Japanese improvement technology that is today’s standard Lean practice worldwide. A recognized authority in Instructional Systems Design (ISD), she was among the first to bring practical experience in change management, evaluation, and technology transfer to the world of quality. Dr. Davies is also one of the very few consultants that worked with the seminal leaders in the field, many of whom were first published and promoted by Productivity, Inc., including: Shigeo Shingo (Zero Quality Control, SMED); Shingijutsu Group (cell design, standard work); Bunji Tozawa (Kaizen Teian Systems); Ryuji Fukuda (Policy Deployment, CEDAC); and, Shigehiro Nakamura (Standardization).

In 1994, Dr. Davies joined the Kaizen Institute (KI) as key consultant and account manager. KI, one of the first Lean Consulting groups in the United States, was originally founded in Japan by Masaaki Imai, author of the groundbreaking book Kaizen. As a consulting partner, Dr. Davies provided sensei, consulting, strategic management and client management services to KI’s international consulting group. She served on the KI global leadership council, integrating the work of European and Asian KI consulting affiliates worldwide. In 2004, she served as the KI’s interim Director of the North American Strategic Business Unit during a major leadership restructuring, and facilitated their strong partnership with Kaizen Institute of Mexico. Her work with KI co-founder Stu Chalmers, spanning over ten years, resulted in the development of the Kaizen College, a valuable resource for organizational improvement tools and assessments, and next generation Lean applications. Dr. Davies’s broad experience also includes designing and leading Kaizen Study Tours in Japan and Europe for executives from North America, Europe and Asia, affording her an exceptional view of the changes in the Lean industry over time.

An engaging and effective speaker, Toni Davies has presented and delivered seminars to many client groups and professional organizations, including: The Shingo Conference, Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Society for Health Systems in IIE, Vistage International (formerly TEC), (SCIL) Southern California Instructional Librarian Association, San Diego State University, San Diego State Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled, County Mental Health (San Diego), Kaizen Institute, and Productivity, Inc.

Dr. Davies was recognized in both 2001 and 2004 by the Kaizen Institute for her outstanding account management and consulting services to clients. In 1994, Dr. Davies was one of only two consultants nationwide to receive the Ford Customer Driven Quality award, in recognition of her work with Ford and its suppliers in Error Proofing (Poka Yoke). United Electric Controls, winner of the Shingo Prize for Manufacturing in 1989, cited Toni Davies for her assistance in their successful drive for this award. Also, Dr. Ryuji Fukuda, the originator of the Deming prize-winning CEDAC method, and Dr. Davies’s sensei, cited her published case studies in his 1997 book Building Organizational Fitness.

Toni Davies earned a joint Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University with a cognate from Harvard University, her M.S. from San Diego State University, and her B.A. from the University of Denver. Dr. Davies also studied with Peter Drucker, applying his principles to her own research on leadership, organizational structure and their effects on productivity.

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