CEO, CMS Energy
Patti Poppe is CEO, CMS Energy.
Tom Flaherty of Strategy& (PwC): What have you and your management team been undertaking about innovation in the last couple of years?
Patti Poppe, CEO, CMS Energy: The team at CMS and Consumers Energy has been implementing what we refer to as Our Consumers Energy Way, and that is a lean operating system. When we think about innovation, it's really focused on our customers — the daily execution that delivers value.
The implementation of a lean operating system in and of itself is somewhat innovative, because it's all about the best customer experience possible with the least amount of waste and the lowest cost achievable.
When we look at it, we zero in on innovation and solutions that can be created closest to the work, by the people who have what we describe as human struggle, to eliminate waste and get our work done right the first time.
For example, when I was in charge of operations, I spent my first hundred days on the road. I went to every single one of our forty-three service centers across the state of Michigan. That meant spending the day in the field with the crews, wearing jeans, a hard hat, and safety glasses to really understand how work happens at this company — how we are taking care of our customers.