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Operational Improvement

What is a User Group?
West Michigan manufacturers are improving their competitiveness by joining with their peers in facilitated User Groups. Through the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West, you can join with other small and mid-size manufacturers to accelerate improvements at your company.

In a user group, you will learn through useful improvement ideas shared by members from other companies in the group, input from experienced facilitators, and by working directly on shop floors. When you learn from each other, you can avoid costly mistakes that might otherwise be made going it alone.

Why Join a User Group?
Simply put, it is the best dollar-for-dollar investment you can make in training. You'll learn the most information in the least amount of time, working in a collaborative team environment.
  • Low-cost solution
  • Minimal time commitment
  • Peer-to-peer learning
  • Measurable results
  • Great way to network with area businesses

MMTC-West User Group Offering
Administrative Lean: How many resources (people, computers, printers, etc.) are dedicated to the administrative processes in your organization? What is your organization doing about reducing the 80% of the cost backed into the product/service before you even begin to provide it for the customer? If a company is going to achieve significant savings in its lean journey, the entire organization has to adopt the lean concept of creating more value and identifying and eliminating waste. The user group will help your organization create flow in the front office by adopting an administrative lean model.

Green Materials & Chemistry: Customers, investors and other corporate stakeholders are increasingly requesting information on the identity of the chemicals used by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in their products and manufacturing processes. This pressure is driven by a demand for the reduction and elimination of chemicals that have negative impacts on human health and ecosystem health throughout the life-cycle of a chemical, material or product – so called “chemicals of concern”. A need for such identification and assessment of chemicals is not only driven by market pressures, but also more stringent chemicals regulations, such as the European REACH regulation.

Performance Metrics: This user group will facilitate business leaders in developing and implementing a systematic, measurement based approach to business improvement. Business leaders will identify and implement the systematic approach to multi-level balanced performance metrics to drive their firm’s performance improvements.

Plant Management: Members of this user group participate in lectures, tours and open discussion on topics such as continuous improvement methods, quality systems requirements, leadership, team building, performance metrics, supply chain management, best practices and technology. Each company will develop a peer network and sounding board to discuss new ideas, techniques and improvement opportunities.

Shop Floor Lean: Provides the tools supervisors and lead people utilize to develop strategies and address issues in their work environment. Through shared learning with companies facing similar challenges, members develop and implement strategies for improved decision making and process improvement.

Super Leader: Provides the participant with a practical understanding of how to be a more effective supervisor and lead people to improved performance. The fundamentals of supervision and leadership are put into practical terms, applications and tools to provide the participant a well-rounded understanding of how and when to use the key tools and techniques. Special consideration is given to goal setting and performance management, or “how to help others succeed”.

Sustainable Manufacturing: Customers and other corporate stakeholders are increasing their demands for “green” or environmentally sustainable products and services from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and OEM suppliers. This User Group will give you a roadmap to identify and develop innovative products and processes through knowledge of emerging sustainable manufacturing technologies and techniques.

Technology & Automation: Engages participants in learning opportunities around topics such as engineering methods and software, sensor application, automation strategy and tactical planning and engineering and maintenance structure. Targeted participants include sensor and automation technicians, controls and maintenance engineers, automation managers and developers and tooling specialists.

Zero Waste to Landfill: Encourages and assists businesses to prevent waste being sent to landfills. The user group will promote the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle hierarchy to help members keep materials otherwise destined to be landfilled into a productive closed-loop cycle of commerce through education, evaluation, research and joint activities.

For more information on these user groups or other services provided by MMTC-West contact Amy Winkler by phone at 616.771.0561 or by e-mail at