Continuous Improvement

What's Happening

Kaizen Events

There are always several Kaizen Events taking place across the Michigan Tech campus. Many departments use these events to improve their processes and reduce waste. If you are interested in holding a Kaizen Event at Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Continuous Improvement at improvement@mtu.edu or call 906-487-3180.

Event Name Sponsoring Department Team Leader Problem Statement Applicable Tools
Work Order Process Mapping Facilities Management Lori Weir Multiple processes existed for handling incoming work orders from creation to completion for maintenance, grounds, trades, and facilities. There were outdated manuals that used specific names of people who were no longer in the positions described. ICE, PACE, Process Map
Archival Collections Processing JR Van Pelt and Opie Library Lindsay Hiltunen The Archives team received gifts from the community and other sponsors in the form of collections so that they could be put on display. Built-up backlog and no consistent processes made it difficult to process collections quickly. This caused difficulty in making  them available for researchers, and sometimes they lost track of donations and sponsors. Process map, ICE prioritization, 5S.
Process Mapping of Time Clock Plus Dining Services Colin Neese Dining Services utilizes Time-Clock Plus (TCP) to track employee hours, however, there was concern that Dining Service Managers spent too much time maintaining TCP data. Lack of reporting ability out of TCP increased the time spent maintaining data. Also, many students worked in multiple areas of dining and therefore had different TCP codes, this allowed for students to get paid out of the wrong code, or receive duplicate pay. Swim Lanes, Kata
Withdrawal Form Process


Dean of Students/Graduate School Laura Bulleit and  Debra Charlesworth The form/process for a Graduate student to withdrawal from their program required action from many offices. There was confusion on needed steps and signatures. This confusion with the withdrawal form process for graduate students which was causing extra work and rework within offices. Swim Lanes
5S of MUB Storage Rooms Memorial Union Kari Pietrzyk The disorganization of the furniture storage rooms on the 2nd floor of the MUB lead to broken equipment, injuries, and inventory issues. This was hypothesized to be a result of lack of training in place and no active organization processes 5S, Spaghetti Diagram, Gemba walks
News/ Communication/PR Process Marketing and communication Stefanie Sidortsova A lack of documentation and prioritized tasks in regards to publication workload and presentation, diverse and moving environment, created wasted time in the form of work-arounds and rework which led the department into miscommunication and a feeling of unbalance and confusion. Swim Lanes, Standards 
Self Service Articles Database Information Technology Brian Hutzler In order to provide students and customers with the most useful information, IT had to update the self-service articles database. There was no trigger for article updates when back-end changes were made, nor was there a process for updating the database itself. This caused confusion and frustration for the students and customers when they tried to use self-service articles that had outdated information. Current and future work flow, Affinity diagrams
Visual Communication Board Facilities Management Nolan Miles The Central Heating plant for the university is very unorganized and there is little to no communication between shifts besides a logbook. The goal for the logbook is to use it for notes only and not for larger happenings while having a visual communications board for larger issues and events that need to be communicated across all shifts. Visual Communication, Standard Work
Value Stream Mapping of Advancement Research Process Advancement Lorraine Young The Advancement Office coordinates with the Gift Planners and Advancement Officers in regards to researching pertinent information regarding vendors/partners. In this coordinating process, there was little communication in regards to what each area needed in terms of supposr from the other areas. This lead to  inadequate and inaccurate data inputs on partners/vendors. Also, there was not a common understanding of how to when to update information.  Value Stream Mapping
IT Support Ticket Process Information Technology Charlie Temple IT Operations is partnered closely with the IT Help-Desk to combat IT Support Tickets. This made it difficult for both lines-of-defense to each know where their roles began and ended. As a result, tickets were being given to the operations side with little-to-no information, and there was confusion as to why they were receiving the tickets and not another department of IT or why the Help-Desk could not alleviate them in the first place.  Swim Lanes, 5 Why's, Fishbone Diagram
Water Heater Pump Inventory Management Facilities Management A.J. Mikus Daniel heights has 52 buildings all utilizing 1/15 different water heater pumps, particularly used for circulating hot water to residents. This has made it very hard to manage and keep records of the inventory for each pump type, brand, horsepower and orientation. Due to the amount of differentiation between the pumps, the process for reordering/replacing each pump lacks standardization. Swim Lanes
Store Clerk Position Dining Services Mary Becia The target volume of work for the Wadsworth Hall Stores-Clerk to be completed in a short amount of time was too great. A need of communication and unexpected interruptions would cause delays of completion of primary duties. The multiple processes that needed to be completed together would not get done in a timely manner, and this created heightened stress in the environment, causing customer dissatisfaction, increase in cost to the University, and potential injury. Swim-lanes