Safety Tip of the Week—Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety IconWe’ve all seen that outlet that is filled to capacity. Extension cords everywhere and cords tangled in a knot that has no foreseeable end.  Did you know that this situation could be a fire hazard and an example of poor electrical safety practice? This week’s safety tip of the week is dealing with electrical safety.

An easy thing to remember is to unplug appliances when they are unused, this also saves money on electric bills.

When unplugging a cord, pull gently at the plug rather than the cord itself.

Replace and damaged electrical equipment immediately; do not attempt to repair equipment unless qualified and authorized—you wouldn’t was to shock yourself.

Do not use electrical equipment in wet or damp conditions without a ground fault circuit interrupter—water conducts electricity and could seriously injure you.

Do not tie power cords in knots; this can lead to short circuits. Only use extension cords for temporary use.

Do not overload outlets with power strips and adapters.

Allow air circulation around appliances to prevent over heating, and use light bulbs with the correct wattage to prevent overheating.

Switch power tools OFF before connecting them to a power supply.

Poor Electrical Safety Practice has the potential to start a fire—if you find you self in that situation call 911 immediately.

For other information visit the OSHA website:

Michigan Tech Represented at the INTIX Conference and Exhibition

Ashley DeVoge, Manager, and Erin Kemppainen, Office Assistant, both from the Central Ticketing Office, attended and presented at the 39th annual International Ticketing Association Conference and Exhibition (INTIX) in Baltimore on January 23-25.

The INTIX Annual Conference and Exhibition, is considered the most important event of the year for entertainment ticketing professionals. The conference is attended by those who are directly or indirectly involved in ticketing the arts, professional sports, college athletics, arenas, fairs and festivals, ticket distribution, and entertainment management.

Lean Event at Michigan Tech
Lean Event at Michigan Tech

Ashley and Erin’s presentation titled, “The Workflow Diet: Making Work Processes LEAN,” focused on Continuous Improvement and creating a more agile and efficient workplace. The presentation introduced the efficiency ideology, Lean, and tried-and-true concepts like PDCA’s (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust), 5’s and Kanban Boards, and revealed how using them can improve anyone’s workflow. Attendees learned how these tools helped transform the ticket office here at Michigan Technological University. The presentation was very well received—Ashley and Erin were given a lot of positive feedback as well as requests for copies of the presentation from attendees to plan improvement events for their own ticket offices.

Winter Safety Tips

Mittens VS. Gloves

Gloves may look fashionable but using mittens are much more safe. When your fingers are able to touch each other inside mittens, they generate more body heat than when they’re inside gloves.

Warm up Before Shoveling

Before you shovel all the snow and ice outside of your home or workplace, do some stretching exercises first. Alternatively, marching in place or walking for a couple of minutes will warm up your muscles, allowing you to work more efficiently and reduce the risk of injuring yourself.

Michigan Tech from Mont RipleyRock salt + Kitty Litter = Safer walkways

Have some rock salt and kitty litter or sand on hand. Rock salt helps melt the ice on slippery surfaces. Kitty litter and sand gives temporary traction.

Warm up Before Driving Off

Just like stretching exercises before working outside prevents injury to you, warming up your vehicle prevents damage to your car, too. This also helps reduce the moisture condensation on the inside of your car windows. Remember, though, not to warm up your vehicle in a closed garage.

Report those Damaged Lines!

After a winter storm, immediately report any downed power lines or broken gas lines in your area or workplace.

OIS Donates to LeaderShape®

The Office of Information Services (OIS) donated one full scholarship that allowed a student to participate in the LeaderShape® Institute.

The LeaderShape® Institute is an intensive week-long leadership development experience that is designed to help young leaders learn to “lead with integrity.”  This highly interactive program provides the tools for individuals to:

  • Act consistently with core ethical values, personal values, and convictions
  • Develop and enrich relationships
  • Respect the dignity and contribution of all people
  • Believe in a healthy disregard for the impossible
  • Produce extraordinary results

The LeaderShape® Institute uses interactive program methods rather than classroom lectures—everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. At the LeaderShape® Institute, participants create a LeaderShape® Breakthrough Blueprint they can begin to implement as soon as they leave. The objective of each participant’s blueprint is to produce extraordinary results in their organization and their institution during the next nine to 12 months.

The Michigan Tech LeaderShape® Institute continues to be very popular after almost a 20 years at the university.

OIS is proud to have contributed to an organization that instills leadership abilities into young people. OIS staff members believe in leadership by relationship building and collaboration and are pleased that a long-running institute provides this training on the Michigan Tech campus.

Screen Shot of the LeaderShape Promotional Video
Screen Shot of the LeaderShape Promotional Video

Find a video of participants and more information about by the institute at the LeaderShape® website.

First Friday Social Event Management Kaizen

Auxiliaries Services facilitated a Lean event to apply a Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle to the way departments within Michigan Tech coordinate events, specifically, the First Friday Socials that many departments have participated in over the years.
Picture of Blizzard T. Husky with a fan at the Skybox Social.
Picture of Blizzard T. Husky with a fan at the Skybox Social.
Before the Continuous Improvement team applied Lean thinking to the event management process, they found that different departments were hosting similar events with unique needs. The hosting departments had to secure the services they needed to execute their event using multiple on and off campus resources. The team also found that some departments are experienced with planning events while others have little to no experience.
The team’s target state for after the event is to establish a one-stop shop for the customer to contact for all event needs. The problem the team had to tackle was the lack of a centralized location for departments to contact to gain all of the services they need to host a First Friday Social.
To solve this problem and find waste and root causes the team created a process map. This showed the breakdown of what the customer was required to do and what the MUB and Dining Services had been helping with. They brought in outside eyes and assembled a team from multiple departments on campus. After this exercise, they noticed that the customer had an excess of responsibilities and there was a gap where an Event Management Team could help to streamline and error proof the planning the process.
The team decided to breakdown the event planning process into a timeline and then a flow chart and a corresponding checklist to provide at the initial event planning meetings. This helps the customer to see what items are their responsibility and what items the team is available to help with.
The improvement team also created a walk through check list to make sure that the proposed event space is appropriate and that all needs will be met for the event. The walk through check list is still being developed and improved as the team gains experience meeting with customers at the site of the event.
Finally, in an effort to collect metrics and ideas for potential future improvements, the team created a short survey for the customer to evaluate their process, the value in having an event management team, and how they can improve for future events.
Team members included: Daryl Matthews, Laura Harry, Beth Frederick (of GLRC Facilites), Lori Weir, Austin Kunkel, Kari Price, Kari Pietrzyk, and Karen Johnson. Facilitator: Bob Hiltunen
For more information about Lean and Process Improvements at

Inclusive Access—Increasing Student Success!

Student Buying BooksInclusive Access is a method of delivering online courseware (in the form of interactive materials and e-books) in place of traditional printed text. The Campus Store, in conjunction with publishers, e-book vendors, and campus faculty, is participating in the inclusive access program to help offset course material costs and increase opportunities for student success in the classroom. It was first used on our campus during the Fall 2017 semester with two Engineering Fundamental courses, students saw approximately a 33% savings (negotiated by faculty with publishers) on their course materials. For Spring 2018, we expanded the program to include select sections in three additional departments: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Course participants are contacted via email before the beginning of the semester explaining the program. They are offered an opportunity to opt-out of the inclusive access program at the beginning of the semester; however, students are encouraged to stay enrolled in the program. If students choose to opt out of the inclusive access program, it will require them to acquire course materials on their own. If students wish to download the digital content and access it beyond the duration of their course, additional fees may apply. The Campus Store has also experienced benefits from inclusive access in the matters of less processing and storage of inventory, reduced costs on purchasing and shipping, and an even more open line of dialogue with faculty and administrators. The Campus Store will be looking to expand the inclusive access program for the Fall 2018 semester.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact us at

Read more about Michigan Tech’s Campus Bookstore at

Dashboards—Best Practices

A Dashboard is a visual tool that allows you to view data in real time. When coupled with your Key Performance Indicators, you can build a dashboard that enables you to gauge the health of your organization or business unit at a glance.

An image of an example of a quality dashboard.
An example of a good quality dashboard.

Best Practices for Developing a Dashboard

Dashboards normally have limited visual space, so choosing which metrics are displayed is a key decision. Remember that the goal of a Dashboard is to display only the most critical data and metrics to provide your staff with an “at a glance” view of how well they are meeting the business objectives.

“A picture is worth 1,000 words.” This is a great rule to use when trying to make your dashboards. Try to keep things as visual as possible with different chart types, colors, shapes, or interactivity and try to avoid turning your dashboard into a big spreadsheet.

When you start developing your dashboard, think about how you are going to keep it up-to-date. Your dashboard is only as accurate as the data it’s based off of, so determining the refresh rate of your dashboard should be taken into consideration.

The easier your dashboard is to access and use, the greater the chance that your staff will buy in to this new idea.

An image of an example of a poor quality dashboard.
An example of a poor quality dashboard.

Avoid the following Pitfalls

Adding in too much complexity during your starting phase. Keep it simple at first, and build in complexity once you have buy-in from your staff and have communicated your metrics.

Ensure that your metrics have been defined and communicated to your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Displaying a metric that your staff does not understand, not only takes up precious space on your Dashboard, but it adds in a level of confusion that could affect your staff’s level of buy-in.

Avoid clutter and non-value-added visualizations. Keep it simple and only include your most important metrics.

When developing your dashboard, be sure to account for the additional time and resources it will take to maintain and modify them.

Make sure that your metrics are aligned with your organization’s goals. Revisit your set metrics periodically to ensure that you are charting the correct course to achieve success.

Displaying poorly designed charts or graphs may add more confusion than understanding to your dashboard. Avoid this pitfall by having some outside eyes review your dashboards.

Contact us for Help!

For further information or questions, please contact the Office of Information Services.

Special Operating Hours Pilot

Business Operations has facilitated a pilot project designed to gather and organize the special operating hours from the various departments on campus into a single source. This special operating hours project was initiated in 2015 when the daily Tech Today feed was overwhelmingly populated with special notices from departments across campus communicating their specific hours for the fall, winter, and spring breaks. The ultimate goal of the project is to have Tech Today serve as a reminder for departments to submit their special operating hours to Business Operations where they will be posted on the /Business-Operations main page. The ultimate list of the department’s operating hours is also linked to from Michigan Tech’s main page.

According to Google analytics, the Business Operations website has been visited over 750 times in the last month that the special operating hours report has been active.

You can find the special operating hours form and list on the business operations website at

Business Operations | Special Operating Hours
Business Operations | Special Operating Hours

Did you use the Special Operating Hours webpage?

You can see it here! Let us know how we did! Please respond here:

Mont Ripley Kids Kaizen

—Written by Rylie Store, Office of Continuous Improvement

Two students in Michigan Tech’s Office of Continuous Improvement, Ari Laiho and Rylie Store, initiated a kaizen with the university’s ski hill, Mont Ripley. During the winter, Ari and Rylie also work at the ski hill as instructors.

The kaizen group identified the “current state” using a process mapping tool called swim lanes. Once the process was mapped out, the group was able to clearly see areas of waste, or inefficiencies. The team discussed each area of waste to determine its root cause and then moved forward by establishing counter measures to tackle the given waste.
After all of these improvement efforts, the hope is to have a program that flows smoothly on all levels. This would allow for flexibility to incorporate some fun days into the lessons, increasing customer satisfaction. The improvements would also promote a higher level of consistent progression of ability for each student. Next to creating a program that flows and satisfies all that are involved, the desire is to also align the program more heavily with the mission of the Professional Ski Instructors of America association by inspiring a lifelong passion for skiing and snowboarding.

Mont Ripley Kids
Mont Ripley Kids

Some of the areas addressed included:

Problem: Information that the Ripley Kids Coordinator receives from the registration forms tends to be incorrect. Solution: Define each area of the registration form so that there is a clear understanding of what is being asked.

Problem: Customers are unaware of the details of the Ripley Kids program. Solution: Host a Meet and Greet session for parents to come to the ski hill and meet the staff and receive a packet containing all of the details & FAQ’s

Problem: It’s difficult to keep track of all students at all times, or to point them out from a child skiing through general admission. Solution: Purchase helmet covers, each group will have a different color (including instructor). Vibrant, and easy to spot from a distance while promoting safety.

For more information about this or other Lean Events, please contact the Office of Continuous Improvement or visit their website at