News Release

Published on Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Western Wisconsin Technical College recently presented a certificate to one of the first participants to complete the College’s Lean Manufacturing Certificate program. Tanner Holst, a systems and process consultant at Franciscan Skemp – part of Mayo Health System, completed the required six days of training and is now certified to help implement Lean principles at Franciscan Skemp facilities.

Lean Manufacturing is a systematic approach to eliminating waste in business processes. It focuses on enhancing quality, cost, delivery, and people by making continuous improvements. Despite the name of the program, the approach also has applications outside the manufacturing field.

“I was the only healthcare representative in the group, but a lot of information was applicable to the healthcare industry,” said Holst. “With medical costs a national concern, we are continually looking for ways to add value, increase quality, and reduce costs. The program showed me many ways to enhance our services.”

The Lean Certificate program is offered by WWTC in partnership with the Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center (NWMOC) and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Through this partnership, Lean experts, who provide on-site training to businesses around the state, come into the classroom to deliver targeted training with real world applications. Topics covered include: Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Principles of Cellular/Flow Manufacturing, The 5S System, Quick Changeover/Setup Reduction, and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

The final step in completing the program is an implementation project. Participants are required to identify improvement areas in the companies where they work and select a Lean project that is beneficial to each specific situation. This integral part of the program allows participants to apply their knowledge and bring immediate results to their companies.

The project Holst chose for the final step involved a process for blood testing. From his study, six opportunities for improvement were identified, and Franciscan Skemp is currently working to implement two of them. “I was very impressed with the hands on approach of this training,” he explained. “It wasn’t just lecture for eight hours. During class we participated in live simulations, which we can, in turn, apply directly to our work environments.”

For more information on WWTC’s Lean Certificate program, contact Jeff Butteris at 608.785.9469. To find out about other WWTC programs and services, visit or call 608.785.9200.