Northern Initiatives Prosperity. Money and Know How

CSG helps out at Italian Fest

“I couldn’t imagine what Italian Fest would have looked like without us having the standard of work in order as we were planning.” – Mindy Wittock, Iron Mountain DDA Program Director

The Continuous Solutions Group is making an impact! This cohort of manufacturing leaders is part of the Northern Initiatives-Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, with a mission to provide networking, training, coaching – and making an impact in the community.


All those came together this summer with the group’s project to implement standard work at Iron Mountain’s Italian Fest. And it didn’t go unnoticed. Even Gov. Gretchen Whitmer weighed in. The press release from her UP Jobs Tour says:


“Lake Shore Systems is also working on an Industry 4.0 initiative and is a part of the region’s Continuous Solutions Group, which brings U.P. manufacturers together once a quarter to share best practices and process improvements.”


Fornetti is Director of Quality Systems at Lake Shore Systems and, along with Kristin Smith, a leader of the CSG.


CSG at Italian FestTraining during this year’s CSG’s quarterly meetings included breakout sessions where trainees could develop the standard work processes for volunteers at the festival. It was a great way to think about and document what goes into:


• Frequently Asked Questions
• Event Layout Map
• Price Lists
• Cleaning and Sanitizing Instructions
• Safety
• Scheduling


Standard work creates the foundation needed for continuous improvement. Once a standard is established, results can be measured and improved, obstacles can be removed, and processes can be improved.


The Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority, which organizes Italian Fest, embraced the CSG’s work, developing binders and training volunteers prior to the festival. Implementing standard work eliminated guesswork for volunteers and reduced the need for DDA staff to answer questions so they could focus on supporting the event. “I couldn’t imagine what Italian Fest would have looked like without us having the standard of work in order as we were planning,” said Mindy Wittock, Iron Mountain DDA Program Director.


At Italian Fest, organizers saw improvements in:


• Setup Time
• Volunteer Experience
• Attendee Experience
• Consistency of Service from Shift to Shift


The CSG held its third-quarter meeting in Iron Mountain after the festival ended to go over what worked and what didn’t. The DDA plans to use the standard of work documents at its future events, including Oktoberfest on Sept. 25. A grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) supported CSG activities over the last two years, including helping Italian Fest.


This was the first community project the CSG took on, but won’t be the last. If you’re interested in getting involved or have an idea for another project, contact MMTC Director Kristin Smith.


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