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 or call 906-487-3180.

Event Name Sponsoring Department Team Leader Problem Statement Applicable Tools
IT Supplies 5S Information Technology Erika Erkkila The IT department has three places for their supplies. The system for ordering supplies for these spaces was minimal and undefined. They could not visually see when a supply had run out and did not know if what is in the supply areas was what was needed for the office. This inadequate system for ordering caused frustration and confusion. 5S
Custodial Cleaning Standards Facilities Management Wendy Hackman There is not a formal training program for custodians. There is inconsistant cleaning around campus based on how the individual is trained. Some buildings/floors are cleaned vastly different because there is no set standards. Standard work, visual controls, shadow board
Big Freezer 5S Dining Services Mary Becia The freezer used by dining services for food storage is unorganized. This leads to a waste of space, confusion of food location, and over-ordering items. Furthermore, the freezer contains some ingredients and cooked products that do not belong in the freezer.

Process Mapping, 5S, Standard Work, Visual Management

Ford Center Google Drive 5S  Ford Forestry Center Kallan Green The files in the drive are unorganized leading to files not being found in a timely manner. Additionally the files do not have a consistent naming system, and the current permission system used is unwieldy. 5S, Process Map, 5 Whys, Time Studies
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 There were outdated manuals that used specific names of people who were no longer in the positions described.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
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
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
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
OCI Conference TechShop Registration Process Finance & Administration Alexandra Holmstrom OCI utilizes TouchNet to gather information from registrants for the annual Lean Conference. Once a person would register, there was no process for OCI to follow in terms of how to use the information, nor to verify promotion codes. There was also room for overprocessing, inaccurate information, inconsistencies, and wasted time.  Affinity Diagram, Swimlanes for Future State, Error Proofing