Lightning Source

Lightning Source is a business unit of Ingram Content Group and is a printer and distributor of print-on-demand books. Ingram Content Group got their start in 1964 as a textbook depository and has since grown and transformed into a comprehensive publishing industry services company that offers numerous solutions, including physical book distribution, print-on-demand and digital services. Lightning Source works closely with publishers, retailers, libraries and schools around the world to provide the right products and services to help them succeed in the dynamic and increasingly complex world of content publishing.


Lightning Source’s vision is to maintain their reputation as a print-on-demand service for independent, medium, and large publishers. In order to maintain and continue to grow their industry leading status in quick publishing turnaround, the company realized they needed to embark on a journey to improve their processes, reduce costs, and change their culture. In 2013, Lightning Source contacted the University of Tennessee, Center for Industrial Services (TMEP) to provide a customized training and project implementation program.  


UT/CIS continuous improvement consultants worked with Lightning Source to develop a two day lean boot camp training program. The program introduces participants to the benefits of lean manufacturing and lean tools like workplace organization, standard work, process flow, value stream mapping, and changeover reduction. The program also provides insight into choosing both strategic and quick win projects, measuring project impact, and facilitating culture change.


The Lean “boot camp” (as we like to call it) led by Misty DePriest and John Collier of UTCIS is phenomenal. Our company has had the pl easure to have the UTCIS Lean program develop 93 associates so far. Our mid-year report shows a total of 60% of Lean trained associates are actively participating in a Lean project. Up 30% from last year! We have a completion of 24 projects so far that contributed to increased efficiency, decreased waste in processes and lead time, and improved employee morale from the feeling of empowerment they felt after taking the class. Some of our project savings show a decrease of 928 hours of transportation waste in a process, increase of 28.57% increase in process efficiency in another project and increase accuracy of cycle counts of paper stock by 80% to name a few. We have 18 projects in process. The UTCIS Lean2-Day training session is necessary in the development of associates in Lean initiatives to help our company stay competitive. We look forward to seeing them again to teach another session.

-Domonique Townsend, Process Improvement Engineer of Lightning Source, Inc.