Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) 
Intermediate level
Advanced level
Theme: Redefine Enterprise Excellence

What we learned about improvement from AME 2023 Excellence Award recipients

Three companies share turning point in their journey to highly effective improvement practices


Deep Dive Session
Thursday, Nov. 2 Location Code
11:00am-11:45am Huntington Convention Center ThS/54
1:30pm-2:15pm Huntington Convention Center ThS/61



This content will not be available on-demand. 

Join moderator Michael Bremer in a deep dive session on improving your organization.


Your organization may be very good at improving. But are you really as good as you think you are? Learn what three companies who were very good at improving realized they needed to do to get even better with their improvement practices.

The first part of this session will be a short presentation from each of the three award recipients on something they learned as a result of an outside perspective of ways they could improve. The second part of this session divides the room into three groups, and the award recipients will circulate among the groups for question and answer dialog.


The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) is the premier not-for-profit organization dedicated to the journey of continuous improvement and enterprise excellence. AME’s membership is composed of a trusted network of volunteers who are committed to leveraging the practitioner-to-practitioner and company-to-company shared-learning experience. Through engaging workshops, plant tours, webinars, summits and industry-leading conferences, AME members are continually discovering and implementing new continuous improvement strategies and best practices. AME offers its members a multitude of valuable resources to help them stay abreast of current industry developments and improve the skills, competitiveness and overall success of their organizations. 


Michael Bremer has held a variety of titles, including director of the information systems group for Beatrice Foods, chief financial officer and board member for the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME), and president of the Cumberland Group in Chicago for 28 years (global consulting company). He initially studied quality improvement with Dr. Deming and Dr. Juran in the early 1980s and is a 2019 recipient of the Mac Mcculloch Life Time Achievement Award from AME.

Bremer has extensive experience with the Toyota Production System, process improvement, lean manufacturing and leadership team effectiveness. He had opportunities to work on performance improvement practices in various environments, including high and low-tech manufacturing, electric utilities, USAF, USN, software, newspaper publishing and non-profits. Some of the more interesting were the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (give money away faster), General Atomics (software development practices and the design of a new pilot station) and a manufacturing organization owned by Toyota. He finds it fun and energizing to unleash the creativity and capabilities of people. Bremer also served as adjunct faculty for the University of Chicago’s Graham School for 15 years and as a senior mentor at a new business start-up incubator focused on manufacturing (mHub Chicago). 


Tracy Gray is the plant manager at Continental Structural Plastics -Teijin Automotive Technologies. 




Masoud Niknam is the vice president, Operations and Operational Excellence at FGF Brands. He is a process improvement enthusiast with over 15 years of hands-on international experience in operational excellence, project management, quality management and Lean Six Sigma in the manufacturing, automotive and research industries. Niknam's technical specialties include Six Sigma, total quality management, lean production, project management, process improvement, lean product development, systems engineering, product lifecycle management, configuration and change Management. 


Joao Scavazza is the senior manager, Engineering Operations at Flextronics International Technologia, Ltd. in Jaguariuna, Brazil. He has over 20 years of experience in the industrial sector (electronics, infrastructure, gaming, telecom and plastics). Scavazza has experience in operations management, engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, process design, new product development, automation, digitization and project management. He has strong skills in lean manufacturing, continuous improvement and Six Sigma, as well as skills in finance, investment forcasting, planning and execution, and assets management. Scavazza has international experience on projects in China, Japan, Mexico, Hungary, Poland and India.