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Lean Learning Opportunities

By Betsy Williams, Business Development and Training Specialist

Betsy WilliamsSince starting my Lean journey, I have come to the realization it's the small things that really matter! I look for improvement opportunities in all facets of my life. I find it invigorating and inspiring to be able to continuously add value to a process or daily chore. You can say I'm hooked!

“Lean” is a term first used in the book, The Machine that Changed the World (1991), describing the Toyota Production System (TPS) as “lean manufacturing.” It describes principles used by Henry Ford, Toyota, Deming, and arguably earlier adopters such as Benjamin Franklin. Lean can be described as a culture-based dynamic process of continuous improvement and learning empowered by employees with mutual trust and respect, focused on eliminating waste and maximizing value for those they serve.

In northern Michigan, we are so lucky to be able to network and learn from others through the Lean Learning Consortium (LLC) monthly events. Joining forces with our partner, North Central Michigan College, we now have more opportunities and resources.

We also have another remarkable resource to tap into for our lean learning journeys. At the state-wide level, the Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC) offers opportunities for benchmarking tours, training workshops, leadership panels, and collaborative programs with other Michigan lean professionals. LLC and MLC have reciprocal agreement so any LLC member can attend any statewide event at the member rate.

The statewide mission is to develop and support lean system thinkers to transform Michigan's organizations and economy. As a current board member of the state consortium, I'm happy to report that membership is at an all-time high of 751 members.

The quality of programming is electrifying. By using the P-D-C-A theory, you see improvement at every event. Volunteers on the events committee and annual conference team are passionate that they give all lean learners opportunities to learn.

There are two upcoming signature events. The first is the 2017 Annual Healthcare Symposium which will be held on Friday, May 19, at the Sparrow Health Science Pavilion in Lansing. The other is the seventh annual statewide conference. We are honored to be able host this event in Traverse City. This year’s theme is “Achieving True North: Lead-Engage-Accelerate-Now.” The conference will be held at the NMC Hagerty Center on August 2-4, 2017. Registration will be opening soon.

I encourage lean thinkers at all levels of their journey to attend these events. For further information on the upcoming events go to If you're interested in learning how you can get more involved with LLC or MLC, please contact me as there are many meaningful opportunities.

Learn. Have Fun. Make a Difference.

Betsy Williams
Business Development Specialist
NMC Training Services
(231) 995-2018
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