On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 21 students from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan entered the building of MacLean-Fogg Chesterfield. In a perfectly structured manner, all 21 were given safety glasses, ear plugs, asked to read and sign a safety policy and divided neatly into two groups.

The students’ majors are Engineering, Business and Human Resources. They are enrolled in a Human Resource Development 404 Gemba Kaizen class. The course introduces students to “good change” academically, but what they really needed to see was “Lean” in action.

A team of nine MacLean-Fogg employees created curriculum and content to meet the course’s objectives and the students’ expectations. The learners received a thorough tour of the plant where specific operators spoke about their jobs and what Lean tools they use. The plant was meticulous and the visual management, 5S, and professionalism encompassed the experience.

The site-visit had a learning component where the students were taught through a presentation focusing on the products manufactured, learning opportunities and Lean projects currently at MacLean-Fogg Chesterfield.

The last part of the visit was a question and answer period where the General Manager spoke to the students in support of the plant, Lean, and the employees themselves. The students asked questions to the panel about the Lean journey, current frustrations, and challenges they face. Overall, the day was fabulous and much learning occurred.