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December Contents:

  1. Featured Article: Is Your Business Prepared for an Economic Downturn? by Rob Summers
  2. Certified Lean Office Champions!
  3. In the News: international exports from northern Michigan, new paths for breweries, solar industry changing
  4. On the Web: balancing operations and training guide, cycle time, lean impacting production 
  5. Manufacture Smarter Blog: catch up on missed posts from November
  6. Upcoming Events: LLC, workshops, free events in Cadillac, Gaylord and Grayling
  7. The Ron Jolly Show featuring Lynn Rodenroth of Great Lakes Bath and Body 

   Here’s a discussion that excites no one, but is critical for businesses to consider. Am I prepared for the next economic downturn?  Economists continue speculation regarding when the next economic downturn will occur and how big of a shift it will be.  Jeff Korzenik, Chief Investment Strategist, puts it this way, “If the period of economic growth is a baseball game, we’re in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs.”  In other words, we’re not sure when the economy will change course, but know we can’t go much higher for much longer.  With many manufacturers riding the tide of growth and expansion, it is easy to be blinded by prosperity.  However, looking to the future and considering strategies to navigate through both good times and bad, is critical to long-term success. This is true not only for manufacturers, but for any organization.

The ability of a business to successfully navigate from periods of economic growth and through periods of economic contraction can often be distilled into one critical trait: agility.  

Continue Reading >>

Congratulations to our newest Lean Office Champions!

On November 8Th, we honored the latest graduates of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center's Lean Office Champion Certification course! 

Congratulations to: 

Heidi Grubb, Munson Healthcare Traverse City
Katie Gundersen, Munson Healthcare Cadillac
Andrea Langler, Promethient
Ryann Larkin, Britten, Inc.
Nick Rosinski, Shoreline Fruit


Northern Michigan Business Honored For International Exports

A Northern Michigan business was recognized Friday for their international work. Congressman Jack Bergman recognized Aster Brands of Charlevoix today for the export of their Redi-Rock brand. The company invents manufacturing equipment for concrete retaining walls.

They received an excellence in exporting award Friday for their recent expansion into Europe and sales success in Norway.

View Segment...


From Hard Seltzers to Wider Distribution, Northern Michigan Craft Breweries Explore New Paths

New beers, widening distribution footprints, and ventures into beer-adjacent territory like hard seltzer: These are just a few of the moves that local craft breweries are making. In honor of Traverse City Beer WeekThe Ticker checks in with the biggest players in northern Michigan craft beer to see where things are going – and if this still-rapidly-growing industry might be nearing its saturation point.

Continue Reading...


Northern Michigan Solar Companies Navigate a Changing Industry

Is solar power the future of electricity generation? Or is it a costly fad unlikely to yield true return on investment for consumers?

The answer, it proves, is more difficult to come by than most might realize. On the one hand, most metrics show that solar power is on the rise. According to statistics from the Department of Energy, the United States generated 96.1 million megawatt hours of solar power in 2018 alone – a figure that has more than tripled since 2014. Through June of this year, the U.S. had already generated 53.6 million megawatt hours of solar electricity, indicating a possible record-breaking year in 2019.
Continue Reading...


Balancing Operations and Training: Small Steps Create Big Wins
from Tooling-U SME

Manufacturers need training to move their organizations forward, improve quality, meet customer demands and grow. The challenge is that many feel that they can’t take their teams out of production because they don’t have enough people. So the problems get bigger, and the risks increase.
This execution gap can cause paralysis within an organization. The big picture seems too daunting; nothing is done. Yet the important thing is to buck the status quo and start.
While the best approach is to create an overarching strategy for a sustainable, performance driven learning program that drives action, you don’t have to wait until that is in place before acting. In tandem with the bigger plan, do something small. Then take another small step. These small wins will ultimately add up to more significant progress.
Click here to view and download the complete Tooling U-SME guide! 


How to Calculate an Ideal Manufacturing Cycle Time by Larry Fast

In response to a real question sent to the author by a manufacturing manager, Fast explains how to use value stream mapping (VSM) to establish and continuously improve cycle times. 
See the article here...


How One Small Manufacturer Increased Production with Lean 

“I’m worried our custom processes won’t translate easily to Lean.” As a Continuous Improvement and Lean Project Manager for Polaris MEP, the Rhode Island division of the MEP National Network™, I hear comments like this all the time from small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMM) who are hesitant to implement Lean tools.

But here’s where this argument falls flat when it comes to Lean: When you take time to find out what’s really going on with your operating process, you’re going to find it takes less work than you think to change it. One person can’t change your process. But when your entire team works together, you can remove the obstacles getting in the way of your goals.
Continue Reading...


11/28/2019 - THE CENTER
Wishing you & yours a Happy Thanksgiving! Read More


11/22/2019 - BY: KARA KUCINSKI
With the holiday season in full swing, now is the time many of us begin searching for the perfect gifts for family, friends and business associates. To help inspire your gift ideas, our team at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center put together a list of some of our state's manufacturers' most exciting products on the market. Read More


11/15/2019 - BY: MIGUEL GOMEZ
It's no secret that the manufacturing industry is facing a hiring crisis. If leaders have any hope of filling their talent gaps long-term, they must work to align their company values with those of younger generations. Read More


11/8/2019 - BY: STEVE VAMPLEW
After much anticipation, the 1st Edition AIAG/VDA FMEA Handbook has finally been published and automotive suppliers are starting to become familiar with its contents. One of the most noticeable changes in this new edition is a structured and prescriptive framework defined within the 7-Step Approach. Read More



In any organization, if you do not know how you are performing, there is no way to know where you're going. This is where Lean waste walks come in. Read More

Lean Learning Consortium (LLC)
Monthly Events

Save the Date: 12/13

Lean Learning Consortium Year-End Celebration
Shanty Creek Resorts
5780 Shanty Creek Road
Bellaire, MI 49615
8:30 - 11:30 AM
Register HERE
View Flyer:

Bill Duperon

Upcoming Workshops

Click on the training topic to see the flyer and learn more.  Registration links are below each session date and time.  Contact the Northern Lower Office of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center at 231-995-2218 for more information.

Digital 5S Document Management - $395
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
8:30 AM–4:30 PM
To register click here

Lean Manufacturing Practitioner - $1,500
Thursdays, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 12, 19, and 26, 2020
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
To register click here

Lean Manufacturing Champion - GAYLORD - $3,500
Two Tuesdays each month, February 11 - July 14, 2020
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
To register click here

Lean Manufacturing Champion - TRAVERSE CITY - $3,500
Two Tuesdays each month, February 12 - July 15, 2020
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
To register click here

Lean Office Champion - $3,500
Two Wednesdays each month, February 12 - July 15, 2020
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
To register click here

Applied Project Management - $1,950
Tuesdays, March 10 - May 19, 2020
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
To register click here

Leadership Development Program - $1,295
Thursdays, March 12,19, 26, 2020
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
To register click here


Wednesday, December 11th
Free Information Event: Creating your 2020 Professional Development Plan - Cadillac
8:30 - 10AM Baker College, 9600 E 13th St.; Room #211, Cadillac, MI 49601
Click HERE to RSVP

Wednesday, December 18th
Free Information Event: Creating your 2020 Professional Development Plan - Two Sessions offered on this day:
  • Morning: 9:00 - 10:30 AM University Center Gaylord, 80 Livingston Blvd., Gaylord, MI 49735
Click HERE to RSVP to the morning event in Gaylord
  • Afternoon: 12:30 - 2:00 PM
    Kirtland Community College
    4800 W. Four Mile Road Grayling MI 49738
Click HERE to RSVP to the afternoon event in Grayling
WTCM AM 580 is hosting a monthly segment the second Monday of every month at 8:35 AM to showcase local manufacturing.  Each segment will feature a local manufacturer to discuss what they make, why they make it here, their market, what kind of jobs/careers they support, and what employee needs they have.

The November segment featured Lynn Rodenroth, Owner and Master Soapmaker, Great Lakes Bath and Body, along with Kevin Olds and Rob Summers, Senior Business Advisors, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, NL Office.
Click here to listen>>

So tune in to WTCM AM 580 the second Monday of every month at 8:35 AM as the series continues!
Are you a project manager looking for professional development and networking?  Traverse City now has a local branch of the Western Michigan Project Management Institute.  WMPMI offers a variety of events to network, learn, and earn Professional Development Units (PDUs).
WMPMI Dinner Meeting
Meetings are currently held at either:
Munson Medical Center
1105 Sixth St; Traverse City
Northwestern Michigan College
Aero Park Campus
2600 Aero Park Dr; Traverse City

$30 for WMPMI members
$40 for non-WMPMI members
$25 for full-time student

For more information, contact:
             Shari Hufford, PMP            
937.725.7956 cell
Jeff Kissinger, PMP, FCT, FCP, CSM
616.706.4427 (mobile)
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