Inside ISD News

Lifelong Learning Across the State of Michigan

Lifelong Learning Across the State of Michigan

Professor Yavuz Bozer leads a hands-on simulation during a recent Lean Manufacturing program.


Integrative Systems + Design (ISD) is a useful resource for businesses across the state of Michigan and around the globe. ISD offers a full portfolio of professional development courses, specializing in lean, Six Sigma, leadership, and engineering across an array of sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, and service.


Yavuz Bozer, Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering, has served as lead faculty with ISD's Lean Manufacturing program for over 15 years. "ISD has been an integral part of lifelong learning and process improvement efforts in leading companies in the state of Michigan," says Professor Bozer. "Lean training and professional development courses make good companies more competitive, and empowers employees to work smarter and find better ways to get the work done." In the state of Michigan, ISD has partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, DTE Energy, Ford, and General Motors, to name a few. "ISD is proud to have maintained long standing relationships with leading companies in Michigan, some for over a decade," notes Professor Bozer. "By forming a partnership with companies, our instructors were able to understand company culture and provide targeted training geared towards their particular challenges."

One of ISD's longest standing partnerships is with Steelcase Furniture. Founded in Grand Rapids in 1912, Steelcase is a leader in furniture and office space solutions. When the company decided to incorporate lean practices into the organization, they turned to the experts at ISD. For several years, ISD instructors conducted quarterly on-site training. Professor Bozer, along with Professor Izak Duenyas of the Ross School of Business, designed and implemented a tailor-made program and saw the benefits first-hand. "Steelcase understands the importance of education," notes Professor Bozer. "Through training, employees were excited, prepared, and engaged in company-wide change. By incorporating lean principles into the company philosophy, Steelcase was able to evolve their practices and succeed in changing markets."

The commitment to continued learning carries on today. In October, four Steelcase employees participated in ISD's public Lean Leadership course. Brett Prickett, one of the attendees, was able to apply the course material back at work. "Since returning to the plant I have had the opportunity to sit down with my colleagues and talk about the concepts I learned in Lean Leadership training. I hope my enthusiasm is contagious and spreads like wildfire through the plant. Those of us that attended see opportunities and now it is up to us to carry the torch to continue to help leaders grow and develop."

In the past year, over 500 individuals from Michigan-based companies participated in an ISD professional development course. In 2016, ISD also partnered to deliver five custom programs to companies across the state, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and DTE Energy. Jesse Forquer and Karl Guetschow participated in a custom Lean Manufacturing program at Plasan Carbon Composites, a Tier 1 supplier of automotive carbon fiber in Walker, Michigan. Just two months after the training, Mr. Guetschow was excited to report significant changes. "The lessons learned from the lean training program have made a tremendous impact on the way I see and do things. As a direct result of the training that the University of Michigan has provided to Plasan, we have formed a Lean Steering Committee made up of members who went through the training. We have also launched Lean projects at our Israel and France facilities." Ms. Forquer echoed this sentiment with matched fervor. "Thanks to ISD's program, lean concepts are no longer just words spoken in a board room. The Lean Manufacturing training has triggered responses that engage everyone in our manufacturing facility and office areas alike."

Just as industry must evolve, ISD practices what it teaches and executes continuous improvement. With each program, faculty and staff learn new lessons and work to build upon the training offered. ISD is proud to have made a difference with Michigan businesses, and is looking forward to participating in the state's growth and innovation ahead.

2017 brings a packed schedule with 36 in-classroom public courses, featuring brand new courses: Lean Change Management, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Supply Chain and Logistics, and Production Systems Engineering. Please visit the ISD website for the full course schedule.