Category Archives: Continuous Improvement

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 mtu.edu/business-operations.

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: mtu.news/2E37DQ1


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 mtu.edu/improvement.


Parent Ambassador Training

Danielle Davis
Danielle Davis, Business Operations

Danielle Davis, Office Assistant for Business Operations and Michigan Tech’s representative on the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative (CCGSC), along with four other parents from the community participated in Parent Ambassador training through the Copper County Great Start Collaborative. The Parent Ambassador training provided the parents with information on the local resources and services that are available for families in the community in times of need or crisis. Part of the training included a two-day intensive Strengthening Families Framework Training that was presented by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC). This is the first time this training has been offered locally and it was free for area family service providers and parents. If interested in future training sessions, please contact the CCGSC for more information.

Participants in the Strengthening Families Framework Training learned how to integrate what they learned into existing programs, strategies, systems, and community opportunities. Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The ECIC is focused on engaging families, programs, and communities in building protective factors into everyday life such as parental resilience, social connections, and knowledge of parenting and child development.

The newly trained Parent Ambassadors have already assisted many local families in finding resources and services in the community. The CCGSC, along with the current Parent Ambassadors will be training another group of parents in the future. If you are interested please contact the CCGSC or Danielle for more information.

Danielle also participated in the Strengthening Families Assessment with the CCGSC. The assessment helped the Great Start Parents Coalition set goals for the next year. They are currently working on “Welcome to the Community” folders that will include community resources for new employees and students with families who participate in orientation at Michigan Tech. Danielle will be adding community events to the WorkLife website in an effort to further network Michigan Tech’s community outreach and the CCGSC’s efforts to provide resources to parents in the community.


Lean Focus—Supply Room 5S

Cleaning Up!

Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area 5S Team (left to right): Colin Neese, Andi Barajas, Cayce Will, Danielle Davis, Ann Kitalong-Will, and Lean Facilitator Laura Harry.
Fifth Floor Supply Area 5S Team (left to right): Colin Neese, Andi Barajas, Cayce Will, Danielle Davis, Ann Kitalong-Will, and Lean Facilitator Laura Harry.

Business Operations and the Office of Information Services completed a 5S of their supplies area. The previous state of the supply area was unorganized, full of items nobody wanted or needed, and staff couldn’t find the supplies they need easily. The new, current state has an organized supply area, having supplies on hand that are needed, removing unused items, eliminating waste and to created an easy order process. The improvement ties into the University’s Strategic Goals by promoting safety, effectiveness, and efficiency and creates an aesthetic and sustainable infrastructure. A Kanban system was created for reorder and to determine inventory levels. Weekly audits of the space are posted in the supply cubicle that staff and students are included in to sustain the area.

Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area Before the 5S.
Fifth Floor Supply Area Before the 5S.
Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area During the 5S. “Keep, Return, and Rid”
Fifth Floor Supply Area During the 5S. “Keep, Return, and Rid.”
Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area After the 5S.
Fifth Floor Supply Area After the 5S.

UAW Certification Program

Michigan Technological University offers its UAW employees a certification program designed to provide a professional development opportunity for those who would like to increase their skills in business and administrative applications and tasks. The program consists of four courses including; Business Communications, Microsoft Office Suite, Social Media, and a Michigan Tech specific course comprised of several department liaisons from across campus who provide an overview of and information on their areas such as Banner, Google Suite, Discoverer, and Continuous Improvement. The program was created after a conversation between President Mroz and the Gogebic President, Jim Lorenson. From there a Memo of Understanding was negotiated with the UAW to form a committee and develop a recommendation. The UAW employees were surveyed, as were a select group of UAW supervisors, to gain insight into what areas where training was needed. The committee then met with Gogebic Community College faculty to determine what courses would look like, duration, location, cost, etc. Participants come from all over campus, as all UAW employees are eligible to participate. The benefits for completing the program is the education received, a graduation certificate, and those who graduate are encouraged to add the completion to their resume.

UAW Picture of Blizzard T. Husky, MTU's mascot at graduation

In 2016, 42 UAW employees graduated from the program. For more information about this program and other professional development opportunities please visit the Human Resources website: http://www.mtu.edu/hr/


Facilities—ET and Internal Dashboards

In an effort to improve transparency and customer service, Michigan Technological University’s Facilities Management Department has adopted the use of online dashboards to provide answers to frequently asked questions and quick access to regular reports.  The dashboards are an opportunity to have the needed information available even when Facilities employees are not at their desks. The dashboards contain information regularly requested of Facilities Management such as project lists, Board of Trustee reports, links to master planning documents, or ones that are used and reference often within Facilities Management. A version of a dashboard was created several years ago by the previous interim director – before moving to a cloud-based solution. The goal behind creating these dashboards was to be able to find the items that customers and employees were looking for on frequent basis. This system allows people to find answers wherever they are, without having to wait for a response from someone in the office at the time of the request. This cloud-based solution allows for instant information updates and excellent customer service to all members of the campus community.

Facilities Internal Dashboard

For more information on dashboards and how they can help your department, please contact the Office of Information Services at 906-487-2129 or visit their website at mtu.edu/ois.


On the Road—Colin Neese

Colin NeeseColin Neese, Business Systems Analyst for the Office of Information Services, under the Vice President for Administration, attended the 10th Annual Tableau Conference in Las Vegas held October 9th through the 12th. Tableau is a data analytics and visualization company dedicated to transforming how people use data to solve problems. Over two hundred unique breakout sessions were offered at the annual conference in addition to hands on training sessions presented by Tableau Employees and sponsored partners. Colin will be working to enhance existing Vice President for Administration dashboards and developing new visualizations using best practices and training received at this conference.


Lean Focus—Social Media Planning Board

In an effort to organize and streamline the process of planning out social media posts, Andi Barajas in Business Operations has assigned common categories specific sticky-note shapes and colors. There are several categories that articles, blog posts, and social media posts fall into, such as “Points of Pride,” “Safety,” “Lean,” “Worklife,” “Staff/Student Spotlight,” and “Miscellaneous.” Andi has assigned each of these categories a specific shape and color sticky-note, for example, “Points of Pride” are represented by a pink heart. When an article, blog post, or social media post is needed, the title is written down on a sticky-note that corresponds to the category that the subject falls under. They sticky-note is added to the “To do” column of the Kanban board and at the end of the day the sticky-note is moved to the appropriate column that indicates where it is in the creation process.

Social Media Calendar
Photo of The Social Media Scheduling Calendar

After the post has moved down the Kanban board past the “Gather Information” phase, the “Find a Photo” phase, the “Write Post” phase, and has been reviewed by a staff member, the post is ready to publish, and the sticky-note gets taken off of the creation Kanban board and moved to a space on the social media scheduling calendar that represents what day that post will be published online. Using the various colors and shapes of the sticky-notes helps to quickly identify what category is going to be published that day. It also makes it easy to find a pattern in the categories of posts that have been created and allows for easy future planning and for consistently publishing a variety of subjects in an organized way.
Andi is happy with the Kanban board and scheduling calendar so far, and is excited to continue to improve her process in the future.


QR Code Customer Service Surveys

The Office of the Vice President for Administration is rolling out a Customer Service Survey Pilot Project using QR codes stationed at various locations around campus. Look for the code at the cash registers in the Campus Bookstore, the Portage Lake Golf Course, and the Central Ticketing Office. Please participate in this survey to help VP Administration better improve customer service, the Michigan Tech experience, and enter yourself into a drawing for a free coffee!

Announcement Ad

 


Hazard Analysis—Learn and Be Safe!

Think back, deep in to your memory, when was the last time either at work or at home that you did something that gave you pause? Something that made you think, wow, that could have really hurt. Most people do not have to think very hard, or for very long. Life is full of hazards, and we all take risks.

The severity of these risks and their social, or legal acceptability is where we must stop and really think. Driving to work each day is a risk, there are countless automobile accidents every day resulting in injuries, property damage, and fatalities, yet the vast majority of us get behind the wheel and drive every single day. Am I asking you to stop driving? Maybe, depending on your driving record, but that decision is typically left up to a judge.

So maybe driving is a bad example, but now I have your attention. Think about processes in your workday that involve hazards; paper shredders, ladders, hazardous chemicals, the possibilities are endless, the next few paragraphs will outline a basic process for hazard analysis that can help you stay safer at work and at home.

warning sign

To start, think about the task at hand, let’s use shredding paper as an example. So the task is to shred paper. The hazard is the paper shredder, it is sharp, it has a motor, and its purpose is to suck things into it and destroy them, a bad place for your clothing, hair, or appendages.

After identifying the hazard we have to consider the potential exposure you may have to it, this creates risk. Risk is only in play when you have an exposure to the hazard. The paper shredder sitting the corner is a hazard, but as long as you do not turn it on or use it, there is no risk, once you engage the equipment you have exposed yourself to the hazard, and therefore have created risk.

In our example, your job requires you to shred paper, so there is a possibility of harm, thus risk. If we have risk, then we must employ controls to attempt to control the risk. There is an entire hierarchy of controls that we can put into play to control the risk, they range from eliminating the hazard completely, to wearing personal protective equipment, the hierarchy is interesting and will serve as a good topic for another blog post. In the case of the paper shredder we will put engineering controls into play in the form of guards that shield the blades of the shredder, as well as administrative controls in the form of training, procedures, and warning signs.

So have we taken it far enough, we have a task with a hazard, we have identified risk, and put controls into place? No, the final step is a standard procedure that outlines these items and describes a consistent way to utilize the controls to stay safe. That all important procedure drives consistency, eliminates variables, and keeps us all safer.

So that’s it, a basic process (evaluate the task, describe the hazard, identify risk, develop appropriate controls, establish safe procedures) that will help you analyze hazards. Give it a try, choose something simple to start, and take a few minutes to analyze the hazard, I’d love to hear about the results in the comments section of this blog.

If you have questions on safety protocols, situations, or procedures please contact the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at 906-487-2118 or email ehs@mtu.edu.