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Ekaterina Yurkova, known by her nickname Katya

One Boeing: Moscow, Russia

Ekaterina Yurkova, known by her nickname Katya, works for Boeing Moscow, but her job as a Boeing Lean+ practitioner can take her far from the office. The distances she often travels to lead Lean workshops--more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) south to Voronezh, near Ukraine, followed by a 10-hour flight to Komsomolsk in the Russian Far East - may not seem lean in practice, but for Yurkova, the results have made the journey worthwhile.

Leading the workshops is important, she said, "because a lot of processes have gaps, and we find the gaps and show how to improve our processes - and improve relationships with customers and suppliers."

"We find the gaps and show how to improve our processes--and improve relationships with customers and suppliers."

The native Muscovite first came to Boeing Moscow as a secretary, a job that requires being able to use computer keyboards and cell phones that include both Russian Cyrillic letters and the English alphabet.

In 2007, Yurkova joined Boeing Moscow's Lean Office. She received Lean training in Everett, Washington, and is now part of a three-person team that, in addition to leading workshops, is tasked with translating Lean terms into Russian - although some Japanese Lean terms, such as kaizen, remain Japanese.

There have been challenges deploying Lean with an experienced aerospace work force, Yurkova said. "At first, they didn't know who we were and why we were there teaching them." But by applying the Lean practices, they learned, she said, adding, "They have achieved real success."

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