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LEAN: Learn, Educate And Network


It'll be here before we know it! Make sure to mark your calendars for the Michigan Lean Consortium’s 8th Annual Conference to be held in Traverse City on August 8- 9, 2018.

At NMC, the tradition of sharing and learning from others on a lean journey launched the Northern Michigan Lean Learning Consortium (LLC) ten years ago. Two years later, the Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC) was founded by a group of forward-thinking individuals who firmly believed that if every Michigan organization used lean principles the state's economy would rebound. Richard Wolin, director of NMC Training Services and the Northern Lower Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, was one of a group of nine that spearheaded the formation of the organization for lean learners from novice to advanced. It also allows reciprocal member benefits between the LLC and MLC. To date, there are more than 1,100 members statewide.

As a current director of the MLC state board and co-chair of this year‘s annual conference, I’m excited to give you a sneak peek into the two-day event. As a statewide organization, this is our signature gathering where individuals from across Michigan and all areas of industry come together to learn and network. We listened closely to your feedback from last year’s event and have made some positive adjustments to the 2018 conference. Our most significant improvement is a new registration site that will make the process of selecting breakout sessions and staying up-to-date on all aspects of the conference just a click away.

One of this year’s keynote speakers is Karyn Ross, co-author of Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations. She will share how to gain value, get results and grow your business. Whether you are an executive, manager, consultant or frontline worker who deals with customers every day, you'll learn how take advantage of all lean has to offer.

Being a leader in a lean organization requires a special skill set. To address this issue, we have developed and will be offering a leadership track series that encompasses a nine-month learning opportunity. The cohort is limited to 12 participants and starts with pre-work and assessments. At the conference, there is a designated breakout session track for this series delivered by lean industry leaders. Cohort participants are also paired with a lean industry mentor for six months. It is an outstanding series for new and current lean leaders.

Spending time networking, learning from others and having fun is a key focus of the conference. This year, we will have an evening kick-off welcome session on Tuesday, August 7, at Traverse City’s Right Brain Brewery, which just started its own lean journey last fall. There will be no special registration for this event as we encourage all conference attendees to come and enjoy.

Those are just a few of the many exciting things planned for this year’s event. Also, for all those who attended last year, “Yes, there will be bacon!”

Please feel free to contact me,, with any questions or to volunteer. Registration opens the first week of May. See you in August!

Learn, Have Fun and Make a Difference.

Betsy Williams, Business Development and Training Specialist
Training Services, Northwestern Michigan College
MMTC - Northern Regional Office
1701 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
(231) 995-2018

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