MLC Blog

Welcome to the MLC Blog! A blog fueled by the Lean and Continuous Improvement Community!

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  • Tuesday, April 11, 2023 12:41 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Happy Spring!

    David Mann wrote in his book, Creating a Lean Culture, “20% of the effort in a successful lean transformation is using the tools, while 80% is changing the way leaders think and their management practices.”

    The MLC was able to showcase both the physical and the mental aspects of Lean in the month of March! We featured an extremely impactful Lean Leadership Summit and a Gemba Walk at Sartorius and Zingermans Mail Order. Thank you, MLC Events team for organizing such great events. Also, a note that the 2023 Annual Conference registration is now open!

    The board continues to meet monthly with directors running their respected areas of focus on a daily basis. We focus on the PDCA strategy at our quarterly face to face. What is thrilling to see is the strategy is beginning to work! We know this by registrations for events, feedback from events and an increase in membership. We had a huge spike in new members this month. Welcome, all who have joined the MLC! Please continue to provide your candid feedback to the board members.

    The election process for the board of directors begins in May. If you are interested in running for a board seat, please keep an eye out for the announcement coming soon.

    The MLC is great because of its members. Thank you to everyone who supports the MLC every day is their way.

    Be safe and have a great month!

    For the Love of Lean,

    Holly Plaga
    MLC Board Chair

  • Tuesday, April 11, 2023 12:35 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Emir Avdic was our March Coffee Chat Subject Matter Expert.

    March's MLC Lean Coffee Chat equipped participants with the language and knowledge needed to increase leadership buy-in for their Lean efforts and practices.

    View: How to Deal with Non-Committed Leadership in our presentation library!

    For the past two decades, Emir has focused on the development, management and execution of strategic business development programs across global markets. This includes management and coordination of globally based employees and resources to develop international expansion strategies, validate sales opportunities, identify, and vet strategic partners, guide clients through acquisitions/greenfield operations in international markets and execute international expansion strategies on behalf of our clients. He has worn many hats in many different industries in the past years.

    In the previous years Emir has worked with small to medium sized companies but also multi-billion-dollar organizations looking to expand into Europe or the United States either through entity setup, acquisitions or greenfield operations as well as managing the businesses on behalf of his clients.

    Thank you, Emir, for your time and expertise!

  • Tuesday, April 11, 2023 12:32 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Sakeena Rashid was our February Coffee Chat Subject Matter Expert.

    The month of February allowed us to expand our horizon and look at how to best present a Lean Résumé. Our Subject Matter Expert of the Month, Sakeena Rashid provided a thought-provoking presentation title, From Résumé to Recruited: How to get your foot in the door and move up the corporate ladder. The engaged audience had questions and Sakeena had the answers! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the MLC.

    If you missed the presentation, the recording is on our website for members.

    Sakeena is a professional writer with over 20 years of experience writing content, blog posts, and articles for both online and print publications. Sakeena is a former Certified Advanced Résumé writer (CARW) and Certified Employment Interview Consultant (CEIC). She lives in Grand Rapids and spends her time working as a freelance writer and is pursuing a degree in software engineering.

    Thank you, Sakeena, for sharing your knowledge with the Michigan Lean Consortium!

  • Tuesday, April 11, 2023 12:28 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Student Spotlight

    Fiona Boyle is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Industrial and Operations Engineering with a minor in Entrepreneurship from Shaker Heights, Ohio. After graduation, Fiona will be working for United Airlines in Chicago, Illinois. Outside of school she enjoys cooking, traveling, and hiking.

    Thank you to our University of Michigan Students for joining the team!

  • Wednesday, February 08, 2023 1:15 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    I hope everyone’s new year is off to a great start! During the month of January, the MLC Board sat down and conducted the first quarterly meeting of the year at Orchid Orthopedic Solutions. The team at Orchid were gracious hosts and provided a wonderful tour of the Lansing campus. During the quarterly meeting the team reviewed their strategic plan and key performance actions to meet the strategic goals for 2023. Some goals were internal and other external, supporting all membership.

    Key Performance Actions include:

    1. Position the organization to be technologically proficient/efficient
    2. Present ourselves professionally to all stakeholders (internal & external)
    3. Understand individual skills sets and strengths of all volunteers, including Board of Directors
    4. Increase awareness of the benefits and value of the MLC

    The board measures the effectiveness of our over actions with registration threshold metrics. Supporting these threshold metrics are other input metrics. To date we are on track with our actions and continue to trek forward preparing for our second quarter.

    Also, this month, we welcomed four seniors from the University of Michigan to our team. Fiona, Grant, Markus, and Keaton have chosen the MLC as part of their Senior Project. They are learning about strategy development and implementation; they are working with various offices to support our initiatives and will be attending our upcoming events. Keep your eye out for their biographies and attendance at MLC Events. We are so thankful to have them on the team!

    Speaking of events, we have been extensively working to hold a Lean Leadership Summit in Q1. I am happy to announce March 24th we will have our first Lean Leadership Summit in East Lansing. Managers, if you are looking to develop your people, the Lean Leadership Summit will be an excellent addition to your employee’s performance objectives for 2023. An announcement will be out shortly with registration slated for mid-February.

    Lastly, I want to thank all the volunteers who have been supporting the MLC. It is amazing the camaraderie and collaboration we have had revitalizing this organization.

    Be safe and have a great month!

    For the Love of Lean,
    Holly Plaga, MLC Board Chair

  • Wednesday, February 08, 2023 1:13 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Cheryl Underwood was our January Coffee Chat Subject Matter Expert. Cheryl presentation was titled, Save, Grow and Preserve Your Assets. She covered topics from picking a financial advisor, to understanding what a fiduciary advisor means, to reviewing credentials. 

    Cheryl also covered frequently asked questions and provided answers in between responding to participants inquiries. The survey results for this event were all fives (the highest possible score)!

    Cheryl L. Underwood is an Executive Director – Investments at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (“Oppenheimer”). Cheryl has helped clients achieve their financial goals and aspirations for more than 20 years with her experience in retirement/pension plans and investments. She provides financial and investment advice helping clients to invest, grow, and preserve assets based on their individual needs and objectives. Her office is centrally based in East Lansing, Michigan.

    Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your knowledge with the Michigan Lean Consortium!

  • Wednesday, February 08, 2023 1:10 PM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    My name is Grant Pinto, and I am currently a senior wrapping up a B.S. in Industrial and Operations Engineering Major. Originally, I am from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Professionally, I have experience working in the Healthcare and Tech Consulting industries but have been actively interested in promoting sustainability practices throughout my time at school. This interest led me to work with the MLC, and I am looking forward to contributing to waste reduction in the state of Michigan. In my free time, I enjoy staying active, specifically playing racquetball or tennis.

    Thank you to our University of Michigan Students for joining the team!

  • Monday, January 09, 2023 10:53 AM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Happy New Year! I hope this note finds you happy and healthy!

    This month, my note to you is quite short as we are quickly approaching our Q1 Strategy Session and developing our offerings for 2023.

    Speaking of development, keep the MLC in mind when working with your employees to create their development plan!

    Can’t wait to share our strategy for 2023 next month!

    For the Love of Lean,
    Holly Plaga,
    Michigan Lean Consortium Chair

  • Monday, January 09, 2023 10:51 AM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Our Coffee Chat Subject Matter Expert of the Month was Brittany Parks.

    Brittainy Parks provided a fun and useful presentation on Lean Tips to Survive the Holiday Season. She used a common appetizer (ham rolls) to discussed one-piece flow. She also covered how to implement 5S to your holidays, and other lean tools.

    Brittany is the owner of Brittany Parks Process Consulting (BPPC). She is a competent, degreed, and certified Lean Six Sigma professional motivated by an enthusiastic desire to contribute to the continuous improvement and efficiency of business processes and systems.

    Thank you, Brittainy, for your wonderful presentation.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the Coffee Chat participants!

  • Monday, December 05, 2022 10:47 AM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

    Happy December! I hope this note find you happy and healthy!

    Although life seems to be so hectic this time a year, this is also time to reflect and plan for 2023. Our board is following this process by creating our 2023 Strategic A3. We are now moving to the right side of the A3; future state creation! We are providing our hypothesis and determining key actions for improvement. I love this process and how it truly creates better communication, collaboration, and alignment! Developing a strategy is a long process and the team is committed!

    I’d like to welcome Melissa Sherman to the board of directors. Melissa is overseeing members who are interested in volunteering to support the MLC. Volunteering has many variations. If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to Melissa.

    Last month we also had our 5th Annual Grand Rapids Summit which even Mother Nature could not stop! The first major snow of the year reminded us of the excitement, patience and understanding need to live in the beautiful and dynamic state. Even with the snow we had an incredible showing and representation of industry at the event. By your feedback on the surveys our active learning sessions were of high value, and you were able to walk away new knowledge. Please keep the suggestions for other active learning sessions coming so when designing medium to large conferences we can continue to meet your needs. Lastly, a huge MLC “Thank you” again to Dr. Wael Mokhtar and Grand Valley University for hosting the event.

    Next month, don't miss the Coffee Chat on Dec. 16th! Future offerings are currently being developed including gemba walks! As you build your or your staffs 2023 development plans keep us in mind as a resource to provide great Lean content. We are working on a Lean Leadership event and a Lean Tools School for 2023 Q1 and Q2.

    Please reach out with any questions or suggestions about MLC offerings to either Jayne Overbeck, Events Team Director or myself for more information.

    I wish you all a peaceful and safe holiday season.

    For the Love of Lean,

    Holly Plaga,

    Michigan Lean Consortium Chair

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