Continuous Improvement

Lean Workshops

The Office of Continuous Improvement has implemented a Lean Workshop Series in order to fulfill the demand for continued continuous improvement teachings. Each workshop consists of a learning session on the specific topic, dedicated work time, and an open report out. The learning session is presented by our campus lean facilitators. After the session an assigned facilitator will work with you or your team to implement the tool taught. At the completion of the project attendees and facilitators share their experiences with others at the report out.

There will be a scheduled workshop each semester, so be sure to check back for more information or watch Tech Today for workshop announcements. Workshops that have already occurred may be offered again based upon demand for them. Each workshop page will have a form for registering. When not pre-scheduled a previous workshop will be held once a minimum number of participants have signed up.

Workshops can also be scheduled for additional department training or a department retreat. If your department would be interested in a workshop not listed, suggestions and special requests are welcome! Please contact improvement-l@mtu.edu or 906-487-3180 if you have any questions or concerns!

Introduction to Lean Workshop

2 Hours—Offered 4 Times per Year

In the Introduction to Lean Workshop, you'll learn basic Lean concepts and methods you might encounter on the job. You'll learn about Lean culture and the principles of Lean thinking and participate in problem-solving using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) model. You'll use the 5 Whys to discover root causes, identify waste and unsafe acts and conditions and recommend process improvements. When you finish the workshop, you'll be ready to actively participate in a kaizen (improvement) event led by others. Register online for the workshop.

Understanding the Impact: Collecting and Visualizing Metrics to Support Improvement

4 Hours—November 6

Metrics help us describe what we currently know about the current situation, confirm whether an identified potential cause is contributing to the problem, and verify that our countermeasures are working the way we want them to. In this course, we’ll learn some simple methods for collecting and visualizing data to support improvements. In most cases, any employee can collect and interpret the data they need to improve their work. After this class, you’ll have a better understanding of: Data plans, Tally Charts, Pareto Charts, Histograms, Scatter Diagrams, and Run and Control Charts

Finding the Source of the Problem: Root Cause Analysis and Decision-Making Tools

3 Hours—December 18

When solving a problem, we must first gain a deep understanding of the current situation and set a goal condition. Then we perform a root cause analysis on the gap between how things are and how we want them to be. In this course, we’ll learn several fun tools for exploring the how, what, and why of the gap, brainstorming possible causes and using decision-making tools to select the most likely root cause to pursue. After this class, you’ll have a better understanding of: Brainstorming Techniques (Reversal, Metaphorical, Fantasy Chaining), Affinity Diagrams, Cause and Effect Diagrams, ICE, PACE, and Multi Voting

5S Workshop

6 Hours—February 5 and 7

Do you have an area in our workplace that needs some organization, like your files, desktop, or supply cabinet? The 5S Workshop is for you! This workshop is a hands-on session applying the continuous improvement methodology 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain) to a project in the participant's workspace. Participants will learn the methodology and benefits of 5S, practice 5S within their workspace with a Lean coach, and share their 5S experience and results with others. Lean facilitators will provide a brief training and then work one-on-one with workshop participants as they practice 5S concepts on a workspace of their choosing. The workshop will take about 6 hours total. You can choose blocks of time that are convenient for you. Sign up for the workshop online with the online registration form.

Countermeasures: Solving Common Problems using Lean Methods and Tools

3 Hours—March 21

Countermeasures are the actions we take during experiments to close the gap between what is currently happening and what we want to happen. We develop countermeasures to address root causes during The Plan phase of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, then implement them in the Do phase. In this course, we’ll explore several Lean methods and tools that are used as countermeasures for common workplace problems, and explain the principles behind them. After this class, you’ll have a better understanding of: 5S, Kanban, Standard Work, Andon, and Poka Yoke (error proofing)

Visual Management Workshop

6 Hours—April 9 and 11

Visual management is communicating information using visual signals instead of text or other written instructions. The design allows for quick recognition of the information being communicated in order to increase efficiency and clarity. Visual controls also make problems, abnormalities, or deviations from standards visible so corrective action can take place immediately. This Visual Management Workshop will begin with an initial learning session on visual management. After the learning session, a trained facilitator will help you define the current state of your process. The participants and the facilitators will work together to see how visual management can best be used in your environment. Once completed, everyone will get back together for a small report out where we will share experiences and celebrate the success of all the visual management events. Sign up for the workshop online with the online registration form.

Combining Lean and Safety: A Powerful 1-2 Punch

2 Hours—May 7

When combined with Lean practices, a safe workplace also becomes a more productive workplace. Employees engaged in developing safe processes also find ways to improve quality and increase efficiency. With safeguards in place, employees can focus on their work, instead of the dangers in their workplace. In this course, we’ll explore ways to deploy Lean practices in the workplace to improve safety without sacrificing efficiency or effectiveness. 

Evidence-Based Problem-Solving Methods

3 Hours—September 10

Problem solving in a continuous improvement culture is highly participative, focusing on the problem, not the person, and involves the people who actually do the work. In this course, you’ll explore the problem-solving cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) to test and learn your way toward your goals. You’ll also practice the related methods of Kata and A3s for problem solving and the development of Lean thinking. After this class, you’ll have a better understanding of: PDCA, Kata, and A3s. Sign up for this workshop with the online registration form.

Process Mapping Workshop

6 Hours—October 1 and 3

The Process Mapping Workshop is a hands-on session applying the process mapping tool to a process in your own workspace. You will receive one-on-one coaching from a Campus Lean Facilitator to map out the activities or steps involved in a process. Making the process visible and discussing it with others, including the customer who receives the product or service created by the process, has many benefits. It documents knowledge about how to do the process, which may currently exist only in the minds of one or two key people. It also allows you to measure how long the different steps in a process take. Through observation and discussion, the best way to do each step in a process can be determined and the work can be standardized, improving overall quality. Finally, analyzing the process as a whole enables you to identify opportunities to create a safer work environment and improve the process by eliminating waste. The workshop will take about 6 hours total in October. You can choose blocks of time that are convenient for you. Sign up for the workshop online with the online registration form.