Ken Flaherty is a senior operations executive with 20+ years of experience who specializes in operational excellence, transformation, strategy, and organizational management. He has leveraged his expertise in Lean Six Sigma methodologies to drive continuous improvement, process optimization, and multimillion-dollar savings. Ken is equally adept as a C-level executive and advisor, leading cross-functional teams through critical initiatives ranging from turnaround to value chain optimization in diverse industries. As a Sr. Partner with EMS Consulting Group, he combines his 20-plus years of experience augmenting business performance that focuses on fixing and growing companies.
Starting his career in submarines as an electro-mechanical engineer with the US Navy, Ken progressed through senior director-level, financial, supply chain, and program management roles and transitioned from the military after serving the military for 20 years as a Commander. During his time with the US Navy, he focused on building lean-centric organizations and centers of excellence for critical operations. As Lean Six Sigma Director and Program Manager for the Naval Aviation Fleet Readiness Center, Ken turned around and managed San Diego’s largest aerospace Operational Excellence Program. He held full P&L and operational accountability, including product management, manufacturing, purchasing, materials, quality, finance, IT, HR, and facilities.
In 2008, Ken became Corporate Operations Executive in charge of PMO and Operations Excellence for Home Depot, reporting directly to the CEO, a leading logistics provider and supply chain market leader with $50B in throughput. Recruited by the company’s CEO to create and launch a Lean Six Sigma process improvement program and global supply chain/logistics strategy, Ken transformed 36 international distribution centers with 2,000+ employees. As a result of his efforts, the initiative was recognized for excellence by the American Society for Quality. In one instance, he spearheaded a technology expense reduction project that delivered $17M in first-year cost savings.
Joining the St. Joseph Health System as an Executive Director, Ken headed implementation of strategic plans for system-wide operational and financial management spanning 14 hospitals. He led a blended strategic and lean deployment program that resulted in a $26M revenue growth, $18M+ in productivity savings, and $54M cost avoidance over three years. In addition, he served as an internal consultant and advisor to the CEO and President’s Counsel Team.
In 2012, he was promoted to COO for the St. Joseph Home Health Agency in charge of core/support operational functions ranging from clinical operations to IT with a staff of 500+ employees. During this time, Ken led a turnaround strategy, which included strengthening the organizational structure and managing lean-focused culture transformation. As a result of these efforts, Ken expanded operating profit 20% and delivered critical improvements in process optimization, waste reduction, and patient care improvement. Ken joined the Surgical Care Affiliates team in July 2014 and
served as the Sr. Director of Revenue Cycle Improving Performance.
Ken holds an MS in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, an MS in Business Management & Human Resource Management, an MS in Strategic Planning, and a BS in Workforce Organizational Development. He also completed an extensive Senior Executive Management Program in Operations, Value Chain & Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Ken is a Certified Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and is also certified in Project Management and as an executive coach.