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Joshua Rockwell on being in the Gemba

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One of the first things you notice about Joshua Rockwell is his genuine energy and enthusiasm. His enthusiasm for being part of the process, being in the Gemba, and building relationships with people comes through loud and clear.

As a formally educated chemist, experienced sales engineer, and operational excellence consultant, he takes a very comprehensive view to his work. He emphasized that in order to really understand the big picture and make sustainable changes.

“You need to know what the process is and how that product is made, the equipment that’s used, the maintenance that’s done on it, so that when you do your R&D or you make your sales pitch for your new product to go into that process, you not only understand what it’s going to do in that particular part of the process, but you understand what’s upstream coming down that’s going to affect it and what affects your change is going to have downstream.”

He provides refreshing insight into the area of making the business case for a particular change. He has had much success in being able to provide a border view on how one change can have a ripple effect throughout a company, thereby making the business case. 

He advises that “if we take a bigger view and take a step back and we look at all these other places that this change is going to impact when we roll all those things together, now, all of a sudden we do have a good business case to make this change.”

Josh’s upbringing plays a significant role in helping him become the lean expert he is today. He hails from the northeast where the Industrial Revolution started. His father was an operator of one of the innovative specialty mills and played a prominent role in teaching Josh the value of lean and continuous improvement. 

Manufacturing companies were smaller, slower, and less competitive than many places throughout the country and world. They faced three choices: become more efficient, specialize, or stagnate and go under. Josh was able to deliver value at these places, but not enough was done at some to prevent them closing their doors. He witnessed first name how good people, hard workers and their families were let down by the lack of innovation.

“The biggest thing for me is just listening and genuinely caring about people. You know, all the changes that they make usually make the job safer, they make it easier. And when they see you caring about that and caring about them and their day, what it’s like and making improvements to it, you know, people will move mountains if they see that you really genuinely care.” said Josh when we asked him about the importance of leadership in establishing a continuous improvement culture and creating a strong, resilient company


Josh is the CEO of Rockwell Process Consulting. His goal is to maximize the bottom line to make that business sustainable and profitable to secure a long and healthy future for all employees in a safe environment.  He strives to help build a strong culture of inclusion, respect and trust fosters the kind of collaboration and success that make great companies and places that people are excited to go to work. He believes that given the right framing, everyone is tremendously valuable to the success of a company and to maintaining a positive culture.

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