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Finishing As Lean Champions

By Karen Goike and Sherry Trier

Congratulations are in order as another round of Lean Champion courses have wrapped up, and we are happy to announce there are 11 new Lean Office Champions and nine new Lean Manufacturing Champions across Northwest Lower Michigan!

Included in the Office Champion class were two individuals from NMC — Karen Goike with Training Services and Sherry Trier, who splits her time between Training Services and Educational Media Technologies. They were joined in the class by individuals from Great Lakes Stainless, Munson Healthcare, TentCraft, TraverseCONNECT and YourHealth Family Medicine. The Manufacturing Champion class had representatives from Cherry Republic, Petoskey Plastics, Right Brain Brewery and TentCraft.

Below, Karen and Sherry share the experience of their class:

The training is set up to rotate to every represented place of business. For example, we had our 5S Workplace Organization session at Munson Healthcare in Manistee. We assisted Munson staff in the re-organization of storage and ambulance stock rooms.

“My favorite part of the class is going to everyone’s place of business,” said Sam Hughey of YourHealth Family Medicine. “Seeing how all these other companies do things has been very inspiring and a great learning experience.”

Added Jenn Hodges of TentCraft, “I enjoy going into different, local companies and seeing what they do and how they work. Makes me feel like I’m getting to know the community.”

Each business is at a different point in their lean journey.  It’s exciting to see the commitment to continuous improvement at those companies already running lean, such as Great Lakes Stainless and TentCraft. It’s equally fun to participate in the learning with lean novices and watch the light bulbs come on!

“Before coming to work at TentCraft in July 2017, I had no idea what lean was, and all of a sudden I’m taking a class on it,” said Sara Chantland. “Now I get excited to “5S” my closets and use Kanban cards for groceries. I can’t NOT be lean now.”

“My first reaction to a problem is to jump to the “fix,” added Mandy Sentieri of TraverseCONNECT. “Lean training has given me the tools to get to the root of a problem before attempting to “fix” it. This helps ensure we will be able to sustain our improvements.”

As we learned in class, lean is not just a set of tools, it’s a culture of continuous improvement. It’s about adding value for the customer by using the right processes to produce the right, quality results. It includes the development of exceptional people and teams through respect, and teaching others the lean philosophy.

“The class has helped our organization focus on things important to our mission and how best to utilize our limited resources,” said Doug Luciani, TraverseCONNECT CEO. “It is also helpful relative to succession planning for each position in the enterprise.”

The next Lean Office Champion class begins July 18, 2018, and runs through December 19, 2018. Register HERE. The manufacturing version of this same course begins July 24, 2018, and runs through December 18, 2018. Register HERE.

Contact Matt Schwarze at for more details.

Karen Goike, Training Services
MMTC-North Region at Northwestern Michigan College
1701 East Front Street; Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 995-2218

Sherry Trier, Educational Media Technologies
Northwestern Michigan College
1701 East Front Street; Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 995-1978

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