4th Annual Conference: "People: The Heart of Lean"

  • Thursday, August 07, 2014
  • 9:00 AM
  • Friday, August 08, 2014
  • 2:00 PM
  • Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, MI


  • Includes one year MLC Membership.
  • Proof of student status is required for student registration. After completing your registration, please email a copy of your student ID to membership@michiganlean.org.


High Level Agenda (click here)

Breakout Session Descriptions (click here)

Dates: Thursday, August 7th 9:00AM to 7:00PM Friday, August 8th 8:30AM to 2:00PM

Who Should Attend: Those who strive to transform Michigan’s businesses and governments by sharing lessons learned, being innovative and employing transcending concepts with the utilization of customer focus mentality, exemplary leadership and experimentation.

Location: The Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College
715 E. Front St
Traverse City, MI 49686


NEW THIS YEAR: Optional pre-conference training on Wednesday, August 6th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the NMC Hagerty Center.

Kata Training is now SOLD OUT! If you are still interested in attending, please email coordinator@michiganlean.org to be put on a waiting list.

The Improvement Kata Experience Presented by Jay VamderZwaag of the W3 Group


  • Provide an introduction to the core routines, mindset, and behavioral practices of Toyota Kata
  • Allow participants to experience the core routines of Toyota Kata through interactive exercises
  • Allow participants to experience the core routines of Toyota Kata through interactive exercises
  • Examine and explore how Toyota Kata is different from other management systems
  • Understand how leaders and managers can create a lasting culture of continuous improvement through simple, easy-to-use, and time efficient daily routines
  • Develop familiarity and a budding sense of confidence with two essential Toyota Kata methods; the 5-Question Coaching Dialogue and Rapid PDCA Cycles

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Senior managers, leaders and managers from all industries and businesses that have been on the Lean journey and / or interested in creating a sustainable culture of continuous improvement through use of the cutting edge management methodology of Toyota Kata. We have found that this training works extremely well with senior executive teams who want a “crash course” in Toyota Kata and can only afford one day of time.


Jay VanderZwaag is a partner with the W3 Group and has nearly 30 years manufacturing experience filling a variety of leadership roles and responsibilities in manufacturing management.

Most recently Jay has become a Toyota Kata instructor with the University of Michigan/Center for Professional Development.

Jay utilizes the Toyota Kata methodology and his vast experience to help develop manufacturing managers, front line level supervisors, team leaders and shop floor team members, as well as the alignment and integration of supporting roles in the fundamental principles of the Toyota Production System.

Optional pre-conference networking event Wednesday, August 6th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, a 91 acre estate on Old Mission Peninsula  has arranged a private tour and wine tasting experience for MLC attendees. We begin our tour out in the vineyard, progressing into the winery processing area and barrel room as we learn the winemaking process from the vine to the bottle. After the tour, the group is lead through an explanation and tasting of our award-winning and estate grown wines. During this event, light appetizers of cheese, charcuterie, bread, and olives will be served.

To Register and for Hotel information! Visit our Annual Conference website page for continuous updates on this year's conference (click here)!

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