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Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence

Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence

  • Academic Centers

Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence


Mission: Our mission is to place qualified students within organizations where they can learn, grow and contribute by applying their knowledge of operational excellence to daily processes. Our goal to set employers up for success by providing them with quality employees that are equipped with the skills necessary to excel in the complex business environment and strive for world-class success.  We seek to strengthen the alignment between industry and academia in the community so that we can create a pipeline of talented people that funnel back into the community.

Center Highlights

  • 2020 Lean Six Sigma Webinar Series


  • 2019 Fall Networking Event

  • Internships

    The Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence (KCOE) is committed to creating internships for students.  Internship opportunities are available across a wide variety of industries and disciplines, including management, healthcare, manufacturing, operations, sales, and supply chain.  We offer assistance to all students, not just Business Management majors with minors in Operational Excellence. 

    If you are interested in acquiring an internship, please fill out the KCOE Internship Questionnaire and return it to the KCOE office at your earliest convenience.  We will be glad to assist you in finding a quality internship in your area of interest.  

    KCOE Internship Questionnaire

  • About Us

    What is Operational Excellence?

    Operational Excellence is an element of organizational leadership that focuses on using a variety of principles and tools to create long-term systems and processes that support sustainable improvement.  It is a philosophy based on the Toyota Production System (TPS).  Operational Excellence emphasizes the importance of teamwork, employee development, and continuous improvement.  Furthermore, Operational Excellence is an organizational goal that is not specific to one industry.  It can be applied effectively across all industries.  The goal is to conduct business in a manner that improves product and service quality, increases the efficiency of business processes, and eliminates non-value added waste within operations.    

    What are we About? 

    The KCOE can provide your organization with skilled individuals, trained in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government at Saint Vincent College.  These individuals are capable of providing added value to organizations and customers across a variety of industries.  The added value our students can provide is contributed to the constant focus on seeking ways to continuously improve, solve problems, and eliminate waste streams. 

    OE Tools

    Problem Solving
    Balanced Scorecard
    Standard Work
    Master Planning

    Three Foundations

    Roles and Responsibilities
    The roles and responsibilities of leaders must be clear to maintain mutual trust and respect, and to empower front-line colleagues.

    Visual Management
    Visual management is about SEEING problems as they occur.  It helps manage information in simple visual ways.  If we can see it, we can act on it.

    Plan, Do, Check, Analyze/Act (PDCA)
    PDCA is a mindset and thought process that should be used in everything we do in OE.  In each PDCA cycle we must make a good plan (Plan), Implement the plan on time (Do), Evaluate whether or not the desired results are being achieved (Check), Get back on target (Analyze/Act), and repeat the cycle constantly.  PDCA helps avoid experiencing recurring problems and it makes continual improvement possible by always challenging the new standard.

    What to Expect

    • A program committed to creating opportunities for industry professionals and students to interact and build long lasting relationships
    • Talented students passionate about making a difference and promoting a culture of mutual respect
    • Students eager to join organizations and implement OE tools that improve inefficiencies, customer satisfaction, and perform on a world-class level
    • A strong emphasis on the importance of creating organizational cultures focused on continuous improvement and problem solving
    • Quality students that understand the criticality of being able to balance both the human and operational sides of business
  • Join Us

    Why Join Us?

    We are always looking for new partnership and sponsorship opportunities.  A partnership with the KCOE will not only help the program better continue its mission, but it will also provide a valuable resource to your organization.  Connecting with the KCOE  provides an opportunity to learn from others on the Lean journey and to share your Lean journey with other dedicated and knowledgeable professionals. 

    KCOE Sponsor Benefits

    Facilitated events by seasoned practitioners

    Interaction with both current and future leaders across various industries

    Registration and waiting list priority over non-sponsors

    Highly collaborative and participant-based learning activities

    Formal and informal expert consulting support

    Sponsor-specific training events

    Access to best practice and knowledge sharing between industry leaders

    Organizational culture transformation

    Leadership coaching and mentoring

    On-site and off-site consultations

    Team performance improvement



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    If you are interested in finding out more detailed information, please review our sponsorship levels and contact our office to discuss potential opportunities.

  • Upcoming Events

    Lean Six Sigma Webinar Series (Part 1)
    Introduction to Six Sigma
    Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020
    11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Online (Zoom) 

    Lean Six Sigma Webinar Series (Part 2)
    Introduction to Lean Management 
    Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020
    11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Online (Zoom) 

    Lean Six Sigma Webinar Series (Part 3)
    Lean Six SIgma Tools & Concepts
    Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020
    11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Online (Zoom) 

Past KCOE Events

Meet the KCOE Executive Director

Dr. Terrance D. Smith
Executive Director, Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence


D.B.A., Walden University, Project Management
M.B.A., Grantham University, Project Management
B.S., Saint Vincent College, Business Management

About the Executive Director

In January of 2017, Dr. Smith became the Executive Director of the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence (KCOE).  In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the KCOE, he is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government.  Dr. Smith teaches in the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) program.  Terrance teaches a number of courses in the program, including a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Prep Course, Supply Chain Management, Change Management, Project Management, and Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. 

Dr. Smith has a military background and served 12 years in the U.S. Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2), specializing in logistics management, strategic planning, and operations management.  Dr. Smith’s research interests include employee engagement, employee turnover, continuous improvement, and organizational leadership.  He has co-authored published articles in the Journal of Leadership and Management and the Journal of Management for Global Sustainability.  Terrance has also presented at the Society for Advancement of Management International Conference.  Dr. Smith also serves as the Head Coach of the Saint Vincent College men’s basketball program.

A Word from the Executive Director

“We are committed to increasing exposure for the KCOE program and our gifted students that are being educated in one of the best management programs in the country.  It is our responsibility to provide opportunities for these students to showcase their skills for organizations and show they are more than prepared for the challenges presented in such a volatile business environment.  The added value our program and students can provide to industry is attributed to the focus on seeking ways to constantly improve, solve problems, and eliminate waste streams.” 

-Terrance D. Smith, Executive Director, KCOE

Contact Us

Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence

Phone: 724-805-2509