APEX Alberta Innovators to Watch – featuring Bruce Ennis, MEE Cluster’s Process Improvement Consultant

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Blog, Industry Article

The original article appeared June 12th in News & Events Section on the Apex Alberta website. To read the original article, click here.

Lean Six Sigma focuses on inefficient processes that cost business owners time, money, customer satisfaction, and employee morale. For 30 years, Bruce Ennis has worked with hundreds of businesses spanning North America and increased their profits by focusing on process improvement.

Starting his career with a Fortune 500 Chemical organization, Ennis successfully completed multiple Lean and Six Sigma projects. For his efforts, Ennis was promoted to the role of Lean Six Sigma leader for Canada.

“What I brought to the table was passion. I was naturally wired for Lean and Six Sigma,” he says.

Another large company in the United States put Ennis in charge of Quality for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The CEO gave Ennis a budget of $1 million to travel throughout the United States to teach over 2,000 employees the principles of Lean. The Lean initiative brought a return of $12 million to the company in the first year.

“I focus on the process, not the people, because when Lean is done right, morale goes up. Everyone likes their job,” says Ennis.

When the opportunity arose to speak at an American Society for Quality conference, Ennis unexpectedly had a heart attack. It was a pivotal moment in his career. He didn’t have a history with health issues. He was fit. He played sports with his two sons. Ennis found out afterwards he was born with a defect in his heart.

“I almost died at the age of 48. I thought, ‘I have to change my life’,” he says.

In 2010, he started his own company – teaching businesses how to become “Lean”. In 2022, the MEE Cluster reached out to him. Ennis continues to teach Lean across North America, however his work with the MEE Cluster, helping Western Canadian businesses, allows him to be closer to home.

“I love Alberta. I love working with small businesses. The message is getting to them, the actions are happening quicker, and it’s more satisfying for everybody,” says Ennis.

“Owners can double their revenue with the same headcount, without anyone having to work harder. That feels good.”

While process improvement is important, treating workers with respect is the other half that motivates people to greater heights.

“Treat people like gold, and all they’ll ever do is make you look good. Go see, ask why, and show respect,” he says. “Showing heartfelt gratitude goes a long way. That’s my philosophy.”

Ennis describes himself as a “process repairman”, and he feels he’s made a big difference with big and small companies. APEX Alberta hosted the LEAN for Leaders event in May 2024, where Ennis was the keynote speaker and shared his experience and knowledge. Business owners in the tech-industry were introduced to Lean and the Manufacturing & Export Enhancement (MEE) Cluster, two resources that support owners in running their businesses efficiently, saving them time and money.