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!

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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.

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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.


Sully—In Print Again!

Sully Article CoverMichigan Tech’s Merchandising Operations Manager (Campus Store/University Images) Shane “Sully” Sullivan, was interviewed for an article in the July/August Issue of The College Store Magazine, published by the National Association of College Stores. The article, titled “Reaching Freshman before they’re Freshman” (page 54), explored ways campuses have reached out to students before they move onto campus, during their first few weeks as students, and maintaining a relationship with students once they begin their courses. In the article, Sully explains his department’s “opt-in” strategy for notifying customers of the store’s services, sales, and promotions. Having customers voluntarily sign up for the marketing email service (Google group HuskyDeals-l) instead of forcing customers to opt-out guarantees that the customers are agreeable to receiving the emails and makes it much more likely that they will use the promotions and purchase products. Sully goes on to say that his department limits the amount of marketing emails sent to customers to two per promotion event; a main promotion announcement and a reminder that’s sent out a couple weeks later. Ways that Sully and his staff spread the word about their opt-in email list include mentioning the service in meetings with other department members, adding promotional flyers highlighting the service to customer’s bags at check-out, and engaging new students as they are on orientation campus tours. Sully and his staff are happy to engage students and staff in the store or around campus and are always looking for feedback as to how they can improve their services and cater better to their customers.


Student Spotlight Series: Rylie Store, Office of Continuous Improvement

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Rylie Store

Rylie Store is a third-year student here at Michigan Tech who is currently majoring in both Medical Lab Science and Pre-Medicine. Rylie is also a graduate of the Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP). Rylie is currently working with the Office of Continuous Improvement as a Process Improvement Coordinator (PIC). A typical day working for the Office of Continuous Improvement, in Rylie’s words, “is hard to describe” because she often finds herself engaging in different activities almost daily. Some days, for example, she can be in the office creating powerpoints for a report out on a past Kaizen, and on others, she might be out at meetings facilitating a Lean improvement process. One thing is always consistent though whenever she is working, Rylie is always trying to help improve the school and campus. Working at the Office of Continuous Improvement comes with a lot of responsibility but Rylie likes the challenge and is overjoyed to be working with and learning about Lean Improvement.

Working in the Office of Continuous Improvement involves using and practicing Lean principles on a daily basis, and Rylie has been involved in designing Lean training events around campus and coordinating the events to run effectively and efficiently. Since the Office of Continuous Improvement has started coordinating Lean events the office has hosted over 240 successful kaizens. The Office of Continuous Improvement is proud to have facilitated or been involved with a large number of successful events that have improved a wide range of processes around campus, from a process to check out keys to improving the commencement ceremony for graduation.

Rylie is originally from the Houghton/Hancock area and has explored much of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and is always looking for new and exciting places to visit. Over this summer, Rylie has plans to cross off more U.P. destinations from her bucket list that she hasn’t had the opportunity to visit yet. During her free time, she enjoys downhill skiing, photography, hunting, fishing, and pretty much anything else outdoor related. Rylie is also part of the Ski and Snowboard Club of Michigan Tech and has traveled with the club out west for spring break this past semester. Skiing has been a big part of Rylie’s Life, she grew up downhill ski racing and training in Colorado before college. She has also obtained her Professional Ski Instructors of America Level 1 Certification her senior year of high and is hoping to achieve her Level 2 certification this winter to better help instruct her students at The Mont Ripley Ski Area.

Before college, Rylie started her own photography business as a junior in high school. A big portion of her business was photographing senior photos for fellow students at her school. Rylie shot senior pictures for over 50 clients in the first two years of establishing her photography business. She also shot weddings, shooting 20 wedding as a second photographer at the events to capture the more candid shots and participating in a few weddings as the main photographer.

Rylie in front on the Improvement Office Kanban Board.
Rylie in front on the Improvement Office Kanban Board.

Working in the Office of Continuous Improvement, Rylie gets to meet with many new people every day from across campus and enjoys the diverse amount of people she gets to interact with and, as Rylie said, “how everyone is unique.” Her favorite things about Michigan Tech go hand in hand with each other; she loves the community and the people, she appreciates that everybody is readily accepted at Tech and that there are not people considered “outcasts” here. She believes that there is a place for everyone to fit in and make new friends and she believes that she has found that in the Michigan Tech community.

Children are a big part of Rylie’s life. Over the past few years, she has taught over 100 kids at Mont Ripley, babysat for over 50 others, and has been a Summer Camp Counselor for a Girl Scout Camp for the past three years. She loves being around kids, their imaginations, their language, and how they see the world.

As for Rylie’s plans for after graduating, she has deemed it the “Magical Question” and is currently torn between going to medical school or into the research field for medical lab science. Above all else, she knows that she wants to be a mother when she is ready.


Mont Ripley Ski Area Employees On the Road

The Mont Ripley Ski Area staff at Michigan Tech attended the 2017 Midwest Ski Area Association’s (MSAA) Summer Meetings & Trade Show at Devil’s Head Resort, WI on August 20-23. Sessions included; The New ANSI B77.1 2017 Ropeway Standard; Attracting Newcomers: Boosting Results with Outside Resources; and Terrain Park Risk Management.

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Conference attendees include Greg Cleary, Lift Mechanic; Esa Leppanen, Skier Services Manager; Kevin McClellan, Mountain Operations Manager; and Nick Sirdenis, General Manager.


Handling In-house Immigration Work

As Michigan Technological University continues to lead as an influential university, recruitment of exceptional professionals sometimes means bringing talent from outside the country. Hiring a foreign national employee differs significantly from hiring a U.S. citizen, as it requires Michigan Tech’s hiring department to obtain an employment-based visa before the individual can work in the United States.

Immigration and Visa Services assists by handling or co-counseling foreign faculty and staff in the areas of immigration, employment, relevant governmental regulations, and procedures. This area of Human Resources prepares and files normal and complex immigration petitions with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, monitors and updates expiration information and documentation regarding immigration status, and provides a high level of service to campus on a variety of immigration issues.

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The University has immigration counsel on retainer for immigration support. However, with the in-house services provided by the Immigration and Visa Services Specialist, we are able to assist with the employment of foreign nationals. More specifically, TN visas, H1B visas; H1B portability; green card (EB-2) petitions, and other immigration related requests.

A combination of in-house immigration services with outside immigration counsel means significant savings on legal fees for the University and the employees as well as higher level of customer services for the departments, applicants, and employees. For the last three years, the savings in attorney’s fees have been between $30,000 and $35,000 annually. This is a cost effective, and efficient approach to handling immigration procedures for the University.

Immigration issues are a major concern for employees and potential employees and it can have a direct impact on our University’s recruitment and retention efforts. Having immigration counsel on retainer as well as the Immigration and Visa Services Specialist has had a positive impact for our Institution, faculty, staff and their families.

For more information on this and other immigration news, please visit the Immigration Services website at http://www.mtu.edu/hr/current/immigration/


Safety Tip—Fire Prevention and Safety

Business Operations and Environmental Health and Safety present the Michigan Tech Safety Tip of the week: Fire Prevention and Safety! There are many ways to prevent fires and stay safe in the event of a fire. One of the first thing you should do to protect yourself and ensure your safety in case of a fire is to learn the evacuation routes for buildings that you frequent from maps located inside the buildings along with knowing the safety routes it is also a good idea to know where fire extinguishers are located in case of small fires that can easily be put out. Staying vigilant is one of the best ways to prevent a fire from starting. Old electrical cords are a big cause of fires in homes and at work, this can be avoided by checking all electrical cords for cracks or cuts in the cord. Also, making sure flammable liquids and materials are in their proper place and not allowing paper and trash to accumulate outside of garbage receptacles will help you protect yourself and the environment from being set on fire.

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If you have any questions on this or other safety topics, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 906-487-2118 or ehs@mtu.edu


Updated Facilities Management Capital Request Form

The capital project request process has been in place since May 2011 and applies to remodeling, building additions, landscaping, or exterior site work. The Capital Project Request (CPR) Form begins the process and should be used for all new projects.

Based on customer feedback, the CPR form is a revised version that replaces the three separate forms that were required prior to the revision. The new digital form allows for electronic signatures as well as the ability to attach any supporting documents. The electronic process keeps all relevant documents together and allows for easy retrieval for project information, up to date tracking, and early notification of potential projects.

00-15-04AdminSidewalkdrawings_Page_1The electronic process also allows the documents to be shared electronically via email, and will eliminate the need to print hard copies to then circulate through campus mail for signatures. People out of the office are now able to electronically sign the documentation, saving the submitting department’s time and avoiding costly delays in the project. The new process eliminates hard copy documents and keeps the workflow from being lost or misplaced, which would require re-submission and result in a potential delay of the project.

The CPR form requires the approval from a department director or dean from the requesting department. Further, the financial requirements and indexes are requested up front which encourages the customer to think about budgets and timing. This requirement guarantees that the project has been vetted and that the estimated cost has been discussed and approved.

Finally, a section at the end of the form allows for notes to be added to help track the process or describe any changes that occurred during the process.

The form and instructions are located on the Facilities website.


The Bookstore/University Images Merchandising Catalog

University Images 2015_16 catalog_brochure-01Recently, Michigan Tech’s Merchandising department (the Bookstore and University Images) chose to eliminate the printed catalog of Tech apparel and accessories and instead only sell its products on its online store. The online store is the best source for up to date products that can be purchased at the Michigan Tech stores. In the catalogs’ last several years, the Merchandising department was producing almost 40,000 copies that were mailed to alumni and friends across the country costing the department from $15,000 to $20,000 a year in production and postage. Transitioning fully to the website has made it less of a hassle for potential customers to check and see what products are still being offered and in what varieties making off-campus shopping easy.

The physical catalog became steadily less customer friendly when showing products that were often no longer available at the store when customers tried to order them through the post or over the phone. By discontinuing the catalog, people will have a more enjoyable shopping experience while using the online store. Customers are now able to access an accurate representation of the Bookstore’s physical stock. Over time, the percentage of orders received from the website reached the point where it was no longer practical to continue with the printed catalog. The website is able to be updated much faster to better reflect what can be found in the stores and online. Overall, the website became an easier interface for potential customers to see what is available, so the decision was made to discontinue the physical catalog.

You can visit Michigan Tech’s online merchandise store here: http://www.bookstore.mtu.edu/michtech2/


Safety Tip of the Week—Heat Stress Prevention

Business Operations and Environmental Health and Safety present the Michigan Tech Safety Tip of the week: Heat Stress Prevention! Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. There are many ways to prevent heat stress and stay comfortable while working outside in the summer. First, know the symptoms of heat exhaustion to help yourself and those around you: dizziness, headaches, nausea, weakness, and breathing problems. If you notice these symptoms, find a shaded or air-conditioned area to rest at and drink plenty of fluids. Steps to reduce heat stress can involve wearing the right attire such as a brimmed hat and light colored clothing, allowing yourself to acclimate to the heat by gradually increasing your workload, arranging frequent rest periods in shaded or air conditioned areas, and drinking water every 15 minutes or one pint per hour.

If you have any questions on this or other safety topics, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 906-487-2118 or ehs@mtu.edu

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