Linford E. Stiles
Chairman & CEO
Prior to founding Linford E. Stiles Associates in 1991, Lin Stiles was a partner, member of the Board of Directors, and member of the Executive Committee at Ward Howell International, a major international search firm. He ran Ward Howell's Stamford, Connecticut office. Prior to joining Ward Howell in 1985, Lin was a partner at the search firm Goodrich & Sherwood.
Beyond his numerous completed senior management level searches, Lin has worked with board chairmen and members to complete over 30 Chief Executive Officer search assignments. Lin's search expertise is the result of more than 35 years experience in marketing, manufacturing, finance, and general executive management for a variety of industries, including consumer products, machine tools, heavy industry, and high technology.
Before starting his career in search in 1978, Lin held president and vice president positions in the manufacturing divisions of the Title Insurance Company of California and Textron (Eaton Paper Division). He began his career at Bowne and Company, a large financial printing firm. Lin holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor's degree in Economics, both from Tufts University.
Linford Stiles on Lean
"Throughout my careers in manufacturing and executive recruiting, I have been drawn to the concepts of continuous improvement and process efficiency and ultimately what has become known as Lean thinking. The attraction started early when as a young man I earned a portion of my tuition at Tufts by using my skills as a tool-and-die maker on equipment needed by other students to meet course requirements. These skills were gained through an apprenticeship in a manufacturing company, where I devised flow plans for work orders and learned how to simplify operations.
"Later, when I was a General Plant Manager for a seven-plant paper manufacturer, I installed plant floor systems that would fit perfectly into what we know today as Lean. One of my early successes took place in the department where we cut and packaged typewriter paper in various sizes and grades. One of the most popular items was a 100-count pack that required seven assemblers, two paper cutters, one mover, and a packer to meet demand. I was able to completely cellularize this operation to take a skid of paper to a packed and labeled carton ready to ship. The new continuous-flow operation took up 20% of the space and required four people in total.
"At another plant, I put in a continuous flow directly from assembly line to quick pics in the distribution center, which I also constructed. Many of these ideas were simply the result of trying to find a cheaper, quicker way to get the job done, but they were effectively Lean.
"My first official exposure to Lean in later years came when I was hired by Wiremold's Board of Directors to find a President for their 100-year-old wiring device company. The individual recruited for the position came from Danaher and was one of the three people responsible for bringing Shingijutsu into that organization. His implementation of Lean went far beyond the factory floor and appealed to my sense of "Lean organization." Further, his successes at Wiremold helped gain exposure for Lean and make it a strategic imperative for struggling manufacturers throughout the country.
"My continued work in the Lean arena has allowed me to forge relationships with some of the industry's brightest talent. And after nearly 300 lean placements, our team has had unprecedented exposure to perhaps the most critical element of the Lean movement-the people that drive it. By using what we've learned about Lean leaders and key traits for successful change agents, we look forward to helping new companies in new industries find success on the road to Lean."