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Continuous Improvement: Tips to Success

Picture of a Kaizen TeamEstablish an Enduring Culture

A leadership team who embrace change and are adaptable is critical. Similarly having a team who are resilient can also pay dividends. It’s also important
to gauge the impact of any improvement work on the overall culture of the organization.

Get Feedback from All Concerned

Be open to suggestions and take on-board feedback that has been given. Also remove blame from the equation, and allow for an open discussion.

For more Lean tips please visit the Continuous Improvement website at


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.

New Safety Initiative—Duo Secure

Important: please visit for further information and to register your devices before January 8th.

duo mobile iconStarting January 8th, Michigan Tech faculty and staff will use Duo’s Two-Step Login when accessing Banweb or the VPN. This additional layer of security will protect your account and personal information from being accessed if your password is lost or stolen.

Michigan Tech Information Technology recommends registering multiple devices in case your primary device is lost, stolen, or broken. Faculty and staff are encouraged to register their cell phones as a primary device and their office phone as a second device, if they have one.

For your convenience, you will only have to complete the 2-step login every 30 days after choosing the option to remember your device.

Information Technology will be providing another overview of the Two-Step Login process at 9 a.m. on January 3rd in the MUB Ballroom A2 for those who have questions or would like personal assistance getting setup.

Please contact Information Technology at or (906) 487-1111 with questions or concerns.

Cayce Will Attends EDUCAUSE 2017 National Conference

Picture of Cayce WillCayce Will, director of the Office of Information Services, attended the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference held October 31 – November 3rd in Philadelphia, PA. EDUCAUSE is a non-profit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. Cayce attended sessions covering enabling data driven decision making, strategic leadership and partnership in higher education, and IT governance and policy. Top IT Issues in Higher Education fell within four themes, Students, Data, Security, and Planning and Funding. Information Security was the number one issue again, for the third year running, while student success, and developing institution-wide IT strategies, came in second and third.

For further information or questions, please contact the Office of Information Services at or visit the the OIS website at

Lean Tip—Team Empowerment

What You Can Do Today!

  • 5 Minute Action: With every conversation
    today, try your best to just listen.
  • Congratulate your team for a job well done
    and reflect on how we can be even better going
  • Reflect on your personality type and think
    about how you can manage your strengths and
    weaknesses in different situations or around
    different types of people in your team.


New Policy Announced

P&PThe University Policy Office (UPO) would like to announce the issuance of Policy 2.1013 Preferred First Name.

In a manner consistent with the University’s educational mission and related research, service, and outreach activities and in order to support Goal 1 of the University’s Strategic Plan, Registrars and Human Resources have collaborated to develop and issue this new policy, published on the University Policy Office website.  This policy inteneded to provide guidelines for students, faculty and staff who wish to use a name other than their legal name to identify themselves across university systems, where feasible.

New Policy Announced

P&PThe University Policy Office (UPO) would like to announce the issuance of Policy 2.5006 Use of Reserved University Outside Grounds.

In a manner consistent with the University’s educational mission and related research, service, and outreach activities and in order to support Board of Control Policies 7.7, 12.2, and 12.3, Student Activities, Facilities Management, and Public Safety and Police Services have collaborated to develop and issue this new policy. The policy is intended to provide guidelines for affiliated and non-affiliated groups and persons who wish to use designated outside areas on Michigan Tech’s campus.

This new policy also covers Distribution of Promotional Materials and will replace current Policy 2.5004 Distributing of Promotional Materials.

A Brief History of Michigan Tech’s University Policy Office: How Lean Methodologies Helped Pave the Way


Sometimes continuous improvement results can take some time to materialize. But it’s important to remember to focus on the goals you’re trying to accomplish, and to trust that lean process improvement methods can and do result in reaching the tangible goals that we have in our work.

In 2012, as part of a grant Michigan Tech received through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service [], we were able to bring consultants to campus to help us to continue on our lean journey as a University. Our grant application had proposed an innovative approach to enhancing relations between management and union-represented staff via a rigorous series of Lean training sessions. Lean as a management method is particulary well-suited to accomplishing such a goal, because it is an approach that focuses on the value of each employee, at all levels and within all units. We believed that our proposal would contribute to improving communication and relations between employees at all levels across campus.

I was a co-PI on this grant, and participated as a “student” in most of the training sessions. One of the exercises we were asked to do was to facilitate a kaizen (“improvement”) event to solve a challenging process issue in our work. Having recently taken on policy administration at the University, I had become aware of many areas within the policy development process that seemed to cause confusion for customers (policy developers) and for the campus community in general.

We assembled a small group of individuals that included me, and 3 or 4 additional people who served as facilitators, subject matter experts, and customers. From this single kaizen event, we were able to identify some key improvements that needed to happen:

We needed a dedicated staff member who was primarily responsible for overseeing policy at the University.

  1. We needed to critically review the current policy development process, and identify ways we could eliminate wasteful or unnecessary steps.
  2. We needed a new website, that included tools for policy developers as well as some “educational” pieces about what policy is (and isn’t).
  3. We needed to continually educate the university community on the policy development process, and provide some outreach and support to policy developers along the way.

Most of these goals hinged on the need to hire that staff member. I am now pleased to say that in 2014, after a lot of thought and planning, we were able to hire a University Policy Coordinator, Lori Weir, who has jumped right in to making these kaizen-originated goals a reality. She is also constantly looking for ways to continuously improve how we manage policies at Michigan Tech, and I’m looking forward to working with her to realize our vision of what a Policy Office should be.

Thank you for visiting our new website, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, suggestions, or would like help getting started on a new policy.

New Policy Announced

3/18/2015 – The Human Resources Office issued Policy 2.6020 Hiring for Work Outside the United States.

This new policy supports University compliance and accountability with U.S. and foreign country tax laws and regulations when hiring individuals to perform work outside the United States.  All departments who may need to hire individuals to work outside the country should familiarize themselve with this policy.