Category Archives: Lean Leadership

Leaders in Continuous Improvement: A New Student Organization

The Student Process Improvement Coordinators (PICs) have been busy over the past few weeks in preparation for a new student organization revolving around continuous improvement.
The goals and purpose of our organization, named Leaders in Continuous Improvement, are to:
• Educate and develop our members and the community on Continuous Improvement tools, principles, and culture,
• Practice hands-on Continuous Improvement principles and philosophy,
• Promote Continuous Improvement on campus and within the community,
• Create a network of connections that could lead to future internship or career opportunities!
We are hoping Leaders in CI (Continuous Improvement) will give our new members the same benefits and experiences that we as PICs have gained while working here. We’ve gained real life experience and knowledge that we find irreplaceable. We have also had the chance to network with faculty and staff on campus as well as community members who also work with continuous improvement in their areas of business. Besides working on continuous improvement events throughout campus, Megan Johnson and I have both had internships as a result of working with Lean and continuous improvement. It just goes to show you how valuable the skills you acquire when working with continuous improvement really are. Employers today look for something that really makes you stand out, and we believe this student organization will do just that.

If you are interested in learning more about Leaders in CI you can contact myself, Kaylee Betzinger at kabetzin@mtu.edu, or the organization’s President Megan Johnson at meganj@mtu.edu. We are also having an information session on Wednesday September 11th in Fisher Hall with more information and FREE pizza!


Effective Meetings

How many meetings do you go to each week?  What percentage of your typical day is tied up in meetings?  Are these meetings adding value to your work and to your customers?  Lean practice is about eliminating waste, non-value adding activities.  Since knowledge based work and service driven processes seem to require more meetings than a manufacturing environment it is important to identify the value of a meeting as a lot of waste can be hidden within them.  Here are some tips to help you hold a effective and valuable meeting:

  • Identify the purpose of the meeting and why it needs to be held.
  • Identify what objectives or decisions need to be met in the meeting.
  • Create a schedule that includes the meeting purpose, objectives and decisions to share with those invited.   This does not have to be a formal agenda, it can simply be within an email of invitation request.
  • Determine the length of the meeting based on it’s purpose and objective.  Schedule shorter or longer increments of time, do not feel fixated on the one hour meeting.
  • Stick to the meeting agenda and record follow-up tasks and action items that are a result of discussion.
  • Relay decisions made and assign the follow-up tasks and action items at the end of the meting so that all attendees know what is expected at the meetings close.


FMCS Lean Training Comes to an End

By Kaylee Betzinger, Student Process Improvement Coordinator

Lean Training funded by a grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) has been going on for the past several months. November 5th and 6th marked the last FMCS Lean Training sessions here on campus with our consultants, Mike Taubitz and Larry Osentoski.  Two cohorts of employees completed Lean training:

  • Lean Facilitators – trained to facilitate Kaizen Events for any campus department or area interested in making improvements.
  • Lean Implementation Leaders – trained in Lean concepts aimed at building a Lean practice into the day-to-day work for an area or department.
Lean Training Group Picture with Consultants

During the last training sessions each trainee participated in a Kaizen Event. The Lean Implementation Leaders chose a problem within their department for teams to work through and the Lean Facilitator teamed up to practice their Kaizen Event facilitation skills.

Team creating a Process Map during Kaizen Event
Team Reporting on the Changes Made

Each trainee had their own personal experience with the training. There were many laughs among the group and a lot of great memories. Some of the trainees share some of their experiences:

  • Rachel Wussow: “When learning Lean tools and thinking Lean, I am challenging and improving myself as a professional. My customer is an 18 year old college student. So, I have to teach the Lean lessons to a different generation of thinkers. Lean is more than improvement it is sustaining and acting. The world is full of change and Lean is a tool of adjustment.”
  • Cat Burns: “My first experience was very positive. I enjoyed working with people that I may not normally interact with. It felt great to officially start my involvement with Michigan Tech’s Lean Journey. I was lucky to have two great (and original) Facilitators work with me on my first Kaizen.”

Thank you to all our trainees, our consultants, and Manager of Process Improvement, Wendy Davis for making these training sessions so enjoyable and valuable!


Michigan Lean Consortium

Greetings,

I just wanted to pass along a great resource to the campus community: The Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC).

I have been in touch with some board members from the MLC for a few months now, they are making great strides to bring Lean practice to Michigan businesses.  One of our Lean training consultants  is the Secretary of the MLC, Mike Taubitz.

The MLC offers Lean learning events which are typically many driving hours away from Michigan Tech.  However, they have now begun recording these sessions.  Read about their latest event on Lean Leadership and find links to watch the recording HERE. 

-Wendy