Montana State University

MSU's MMEC announces 100 percent first-time pass rate on rigorous lean manufacturing certification exam

May 23, 2017 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN - The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center’s spring class of manufacturing professionals who sat for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Lean Bronze Certification exam passed on the first attempt.

Lean manufacturing is a business model that emphasizes improving competitive advantage by identifying and eliminating non-value-added activities across the organization. The bronze level topics include identifying and eliminating waste in processes, expanding capacity by reducing costs, shortening lead times and understanding what is important to the customer. Bronze certification also provides an introduction to the practical application of the principles, concepts and methods.

The exam is given following 80 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on learning.  MMEC Senior Business Adviser Alistair Stewart led the class.

“Certification can be a definite advantage for job advancement,” said Paddy Fleming, director of MMEC. “This is the fourth cohort of manufacturing professionals in and around the Gallatin Valley to be certified in lean principles. It is a testament to the fact that our local manufacturing industry strives to be world-class and is investing in employees to ensure they remain competitive in the global business environment. With increasingly tough competition from around the world, our manufacturers must find ways to constantly improve processes and eliminate waste, two of the major goals of lean transformation.”

Class members are listed below by company:

  • Kirstin Baker, Montana Instruments
  • Bill Berg, Spika Design and Manufacturing
  • Neal Blossom, American Chemet
  • Nathan Boyce, Montana Instruments
  • Nick Dansky, Plastic Design and Manufacturing
  • Don Schrauth, Spika Design and Manufacturing

The recent graduates are eligible to become full members of the rapidly growing Lean Alliance of South West Montana. The Alliance is a problem-solving collaborative that meets monthly to accelerate and improve performance at participants’ manufacturing facilities.

MMEC is a statewide manufacturing outreach and assistance center staffed by full-time professionals with degrees in engineering and management, and extensive experience in manufacturing and business in a variety of industries. The center helps clients innovate, accelerate growth and increase profits. MMEC is housed in MSU’s College of Engineering.

SME has a heritage spanning more than 80 years. The society serves the manufacturing industry as a nonprofit by promoting advanced manufacturing technology and developing a skilled workforce. SME works closely with manufacturers to share knowledge and resources that generate solutions meeting industry demands.

For more information on MMEC, see:

For more information on SME, see:

Contact: Jenni West, MMEC, (406) 994-3812 or