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2014-15 Lean Manufacturing Champions Complete Certification

Darrell RogersBy: Darrell Rogers, Training Specialist

The purpose of NMC’s Lean Manufacturing Champion program is to build the internal capacity of our manufacturing community to apply Lean knowledge. We accomplish this by using our Active Learning Model™ to provide participants a dive deep into the concepts and tools of Lean and apply them at the various host companies.

NMC has offered our Lean Champion program for eight years. During that time, we have certified over 125 Lean Manufacturing Champions. These participants have come from many different types of manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations. We have had Lean Champions from large, high-volume manufacturers to small contract process shops. Before we developed our Lean Office Champion program, we had participants from service businesses, healthcare, government, education, and non-profits.

The impact these Lean Champions have had on their organizations is broad and deep. Many organizations have enrolled multiple people over the course of the past eight years with some companies now employing 10-12 NMC certified Lean Manufacturing Champions.

To give you an understanding of who participates in this program, let’s look at the most recent group of people to have completed the Lean Champion course. The following companies participated in the the Lean Champion course that began in September 2014 and ended in March 2015:

  • Cone Drive
  • Shoreline Fruit
  • Grand Traverse Machine
  • CPM-Century Extrusion
  • Dynatect Lead Screws
  • Britten Banners
  • Skilled Manufacturing
  • Anchor Lamina

These companies sent a total of 12 people from various departments and levels within their organizations. Participants included production supervisors, a chief financial officer, a director of operations, process and product engineers, and a financial analyst. These folks worked side-by-side throughout the program practicing the concepts and tools of Lean Manufacturing.

As they moved from topic to topic in the course, the whole class also moved from company to company. During the six-month period, each of the organizations that sent participants also hosted the Lean Champion group at least once. Thus allowing the participants to “go to the Gemba” and practice their new knowledge and skills in real-life manufacturing situations.

This on-site, real world, hand-on approach to learning has consistently been the highlight of the course for the participants. This model of learning also differentiates NMC’s Lean Champion program from other programs offered throughout the country.

As part of their Lean manufacturing requirements, each participant is asked to present the results of their own application of Lean thinking from their work in their companies. These presentations are the core of a celebration of their completion that is held as one of the Lean Learning Consortium monthly events.

At the March 2015 Lean Champion celebration, we saw great examples of how the new Lean Champions were already applying their knowledge. There were examples of pull systems, poke-yoke (error proofing) devices, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) calculations, and daily operator preventive maintenance (PMs), as well as cellular flow layouts and comprehensive value stream maps. The Champions shared examples of their Kata coaching and talked about what how they were applying active listening to “grasp the situation.”

In short, the celebration allowed every participant to demonstrate their learning and be recognized for the extensive time and effort it takes to become a NMC certified Lean Manufacturing Champion.

If you would like more information about NMC’s Lean certification programs for manufacturing or office environments, please contact Vicki Rumbach at (231) 995-2218 or see the attached flyers below. Both programs are scheduled to kick off again in the fall of 2015.

Learn more about Lean Manufacturing Champion, Fall 2015 »

Learn more about Lean Office Champion, Fall 2015 »

Darrell Rogers, Training Specialist
Northwestern Michigan College
1701 East Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 995-2006

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