All posts by Kaylee Betzinger

Customer Appreciation Week Lean Tours

The Auxiliary Services Customer Appreciation Week was held at Michigan Tech a few weeks back. One event that we’d like to highlight today was the tours in the MUB which featured Lean improvements.

Heidi Reid, the Facilities and Events Coordinator at the MUB shared a bit about the tours: “The Lean tours consisted of several “day to day” continuous improvements that take place in our office and building.” The tour started off with their 5S improvement project for their inventory of office supplies. The 5S improvements to the supply closet and ordering system have been sustained for over 4 years and counting.

Standardized work was also covered on the tour, “We used standardized work for many areas including managing our guest room reservation/check-in procedure.  We utilize a practice of standardized work called knowledge folders, which are step by step instructions for many routine operations.  If a student worker needs to perform a duty they are not familiar with, they can use these folders to complete the task” stated Reid.

Other Lean improvements and tools covered on the tour were the value of auditing, daily team meetings , and visual controls.  Reid added “our office staff are working every day to improve our processes and streamline daily work, in an effort to satisfy our customer’s needs.”

The tour sparked new interest in Lean practice to those who participated.  Karen Patterson, new to the University and the Center of Diversity and Inclusion, had a positive experience on the tour.  Karen came from Portage Health, where many of the nurses are practicing Lean.  When asked about her overall impression of the tour Karen said she was very excited to hear about all of the improvements.  Karen has taken the next steps to bring Lean to her new role and will be presenting some ideas to her office at their May department meeting.


One of the commonly used prioritization tools used in Lean practice is ICE (which stands for Impact, Ease, and Control). This helps to list out and prioritize any possible countermeasures based what impact they will have, the control you have over the countermeasure, and the ease of implementation.

Here in the process improvement office, we have created an ICE rap, using the song Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice as a guide. The lyrics can be read here.

Countermeasure Impact Control Ease Total

Dining Services Lean Journey Article is published in The Business Officers

Brittany Wood, Market Research Analyst Intern and I began working on an article that was to discuss the Lean “journey” Michigan Tech’s Dining Services has experienced over the past four years. After lots of research, interviews, and multiple drafts the article was completed in October.

The Business Officers magazine has published the article in their February edition! The article is the feature piece in the Business Intel section of the magazine.

Special thanks to Kathy Wardynski, Ellen Horsch, and Bob Hiltunen for letting us interview them on multiple occasions, and to Ann Kitalong-Will, Wendy Davis, Megan Johnson, Ellen Horsch, and Gina Sayen for reviewing and editing the many drafts of the article.

You can read the article online, or contact Wendy Davis to borrow a copy of the magazine out of the Lean Library.