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Darrell Rogers, Training SpecialistLean Manufacturing Champions Celebrate Completion and Certification


On Friday, May 9, the Lean Learning Consortium (LLC) celebrated the tenth group of Lean Champions with presentations by people who completed the program in April 2014. Six companies were represented in the group: Armor Express, CPM Century Extrusion, Electro-optics Technology, Grand Traverse Machine, Precision Edge Surgical Products, and Skilled Manufacturing.

In attendance to celebrate their coworkers’ accomplishments were staff from the Champions’ companies as well as LLC members from Springfield Roofing, Great Lakes Trim, RJG, Inc., and Brownwood Farms.

For the first time, the final presentation created by each Champion was a requirement for successful completion of the Lean Champion program. Each participant showed clear evidence of learning in their presentations, and we saw great examples of personal progress on the Lean journey. In addition, the projects taken on by the Champions, highlighted in their presentations, had direct impact on their companies. Some examples of those impacts include improved flow, reduced cost, time saved, and higher quality products.

We've applied the continuous improvement cycle, Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA), to our Lean Champion program since its beginning and this year was no exception. The Lean Champion candidates were required to complete online learning segments for each topic, successfully complete "Learning Assessments" for each segment, and submit ten assignments using our online learning system. Each of these assignments was graded and used to calculate their final grade and determine successful completion of the program. As past Lean Champions will attest, this represents an increased rigor of the program since its inception.

Based on feedback from the participants, our assessment of their learning, and changes in the Lean certification landscape, we are continuing to improve the Lean Champion program. For example, our next open enrollment Champion program, starting this September, will feature un-batched assignment targets, more in-class support of online learning, and a closer integration of the SME/ASQ/Shingo Lean Champion Bronze certification standards into our certification.

If you would like more information about our Lean Champion program or would like to apply for one of the few remaining seats in our September 2014 group, please contact Vicki Rumbach at (231) 995-2018 or email

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