Posts Tagged ‘small business’

Lean Process: A Workforce Shortage Solution

Guest blog by Hali Motely, MMTC Project Manager

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s Pete Schmidt understands how challenging this year has been. One recurring theme facing many companies large and small is how to find people to fill open positions within their organization.

If everyone is looking to hire new employees, it becomes very difficult to find just the right person to fulfill your needs. This competition strains resources, including time and money.

What if there were a way to reduce the number of new hires needed? Trying to find four new hires instead of 20 would be an easier task in today’s competitive market. What is a new solution many hiring managers are missing? Go Lean!

“Our only security is our ability to change.” – John Lilly

Lean Manufacturing is founded on operational processes that maximize value while minimizing waste. The basic concepts of Lean Manufacturing can easily be applied to non-manufacturing environments to procure efficiencies and increase productivity without additional human capital but with an improved, streamlined process.  For non-manufacturing small businesses, Lean Strategies require fewer resources and maximize the current workforce to increase customer value. Lean identifies the value-added tasks to achieve the goal and eliminates tasks that do not.

Here are 12 Lean tips to reduce waste and free up valuable time for short-staffed businesses.

Re-evaluate, reduce reports, and/or eliminate reports that do not bring value and/or are not read by recipients:

  • Only include essential team members on emails. Eliminate “you’re welcome” replies.
  • Eliminate extra, “just-in-case” materials
  • Streamline documentation and data captures on one document and eliminate entering repetitive information on multiple documents
  • Establish and identify a defined place for all items, both physically and electronically
  • Develop and implement a standard work method for all positions, company-wide
  • Evaluate and design floor plans around “like” activities or tasks
  • Only include essential team members in meetings and establish a post-meeting protocol for the flow of information
  • Exchange printed documents for electronic documents when applicable
  • Establish and communicate a company-wide protocol for meeting attendance, start-time, and end-time
  • Establish an internal review/signoff process with timing requirements
  • Implement a communication policy to eliminate delays in receiving information

Need an example of how Lean in action? Here is a success story from Avalon & Tahoe. The company used Lean to retain 100 jobs and increase capacity by 77%.

 “Change nothing and nothing will change.” – Tony Robbins

We all know change can be daunting. Embracing the “because-we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” mindset can prevent you from freeing up valuable time needed to focus on the tasks that truly matter.

Learn more about how to become a Lean Office Champion today to learn about Lean and tools to improve your business’s productivity.

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is here to support you on your lean journeys. Reach out to Hali Motley at or 989.964.2884 to learn more or visit for more tips and training.

About The Center

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to compete and grow. Today, we are celebrating a quarte- century of building superhighways of competitive success for our clients, where there were once only slow and lonely dirt roads. Now, we stand ready to face the future with bountiful optimism, focused purpose, strong determination, legions of support staff, and inspired creativity.

Our Mission

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is an organization dedicated to supporting Michigan manufacturers to work smarter, compete, and prosper.



Space, Inc. Leads the Return to Safe, Hybrid Work Environments

By Amy DeGeer Roten

As vaccines are distributed and employers approach the idea of the workforce returning to the office, they are faced with more questions than answers: How can workspace be redesigned to accommodate hybrid, remote, and in-office workforce? How will workflows change? How can safer, socially distanced workspaces promote collaboration and team building?

Post-COVID, the physical office will be different. The question is, what will it look like?

SPACE, Inc. can help answer those questions.

Founded in 1995, SPACE, Inc. is a commercial interior design firm that blends interior workspace design and aesthetics with functionality to promote collaboration, productivity, and creativity. They have two main locations in Michigan and Virginia.

“SPACE, Inc. does business a few ways,” Kathie Fuce-Hobohm, Principal of SPACE, said. “Our Michigan team provides all things in workspaces including design, project management, installation as well as office furniture, move management, and facility management. Our Alexandria, Virginia team supports our federal government contracts with more product-oriented solutions.”

The Hybrid Workspace  

Like many industries, COVID created new opportunities for SPACE, Inc. to assess change, identify new needs, and develop innovative solutions. Over the past year, they have addressed questions related to the post-COVID work environment and developed solutions that combine sustainable workplace design and sanitization processes.

“We think the workplace is going to be viable as a hybrid work environment,” Kathie said. “We’re not going to have an office for every person. It will be a percentage of office or focus stations and amenity areas to attract people back to the workplace – fireplaces, soft seating, etc.”

Making Workspace Work – SPACE Facility Armor and Anew Upcycling

Fear of COVID is the number one reason employees are hesitant to return to the office. “People will be sharing desks and community spaces. SPACE Facility Armor prevents the transfer of viruses and germs. With every application, the entire building is safe and committed to well-being,” President Paddy Hobohm said.

SPACE Facility Armor, powered by the BioProtectUs system, kills 99 percent of microbes on porous and non-porous surfaces for at least 30 months. It prevents microbes from repopulating on those surfaces between cleanings. This CDC-approved, hospital-grade disinfectant fogging application is followed by an electrostatically charged antimicrobial technology. It’s water-based and EPA-accepted for all industries including food service. Originally created by Dow 30 years ago, it has been used in healthcare facilities and SPACE is the first to bring the technology to office environments.

Their upcycling program, SPACE Anew, is a turnkey process that reutilizes up to ninety percent of the existing furniture assets, reimagines them, and adds stylish, functional elements to brighten up the workplace. It relies on high-quality redesign and creativity to create a balance of individual workstations and collaborative areas, with little to no work disruption. Additionally, SPACE Anew costs 30-50 percent less than the cost of purchasing new furniture.

“It’s a fixer-upper model – we can utilize the existing assets, reimagine them, and make them new and different,” said Kathie.

“We assess workplace design and develop improvements for the future of work through our sustainable upcycling program. Then we add SPACE Facility Armor into the equation to provide a safe and healthy work environment.  This is a great way to help businesses move forward,” said Kathie.

Learn more about SPACE Anew and Upcycling

Learn more about SPACE Facility Armor

For more about what SPACE, Inc. can do for you, contact Paddy Hobohm.

For media relations contact Amanda Rogalski.










Cybersecurity Trends and Challenges for 2021

By Amy DeGeer Roten

Last year saw constant disruption for business. The pandemic spurred a quick shift to remote work which has opened more opportunities for cyber thieves. While small businesses sometimes feel their size equals less risk, it actually can make them a target.

Here are two quick articles from BizTech Magazine that will help businesses large and small with security tools and emerging technologies to address the needs of today.

4 Small Business Tech Trends to Watch This Year – Keara Dowd

Top Security Challenges for Small Business in 2021 – Nick Suda