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Tom Root

Tom Root

Managing Partner, Zingerman's Mail Order

After learning lean concepts in 2004, Tom began applying them to Zingerman's mail order business. Since then, he has been applying lean thinking and practice through process improvement, class development, and teaching. Drawing on his lean management experience, he also is an internal lean consultant, helping each of the Zingerman’s businesses realize the benefits of continuous improvement and waste elimination.

Previously, Tom served as the company’s chief information officer, developing the mail order web site, email applications, and a wide area network to connect various Zingerman operations. He currently is working with lean practitioners Eduardo Lander and Jeff Liker on a book about mail order’s lean transformation and the power of servant leadership. 

After graduating from Miami University in 1993, he became a Michigan certified business counselor, advising entrepreneurs on business plan development and capital through the Small Business Development Center program. He has held technical and training positions at Online Technologies Corporation and Detroit Edison. In 2008, he started Maker Works, a manufacturing facility offering membership access to high-tech tools, classes, community events, and activities.

Articles by Tom Root
On The Job with Tom Root, Managing Partner of Zingerman's Mail Order (Transcript)
Zingerman’s Mail Order (ZMO), one of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, began its lean transformation 15 years ago after deciding that its 3rd relocation in 6 years due to 25-35% year-over-year growth was its last! There had to be a better way to solve its biennial capacity problem. And of course there was with lean thinking.   Tom Root, ZMO’s Managing Director, sat down with Josh Howell for a wide-ranging conversation about several phases of ZMO’s lean transformation, including the challenge of establishing a culture of continuous improvement with full participation, and how lean thinking could impact the food industry that’s More »