Workshops & Training

Companies and organizations can achieve measurable improvements in their sales/revenue, customer satisfaction, workflow, quality, employee satisfaction and profitability when proper systems and solutions are implemented and sustained. VMEC provides a range of practical workshops and training offerings that can be provided either on-site at your location or through our periodic public offerings.

See Upcoming Training  page for information about upcoming forums and VMEC workshops and training. VMEC is well-know throughout Vermont and the nation for its 20+ years of providing very effective Lean workings and training and consulting services. We also offer powerful training and consulting in Business Growth. Our Growth service offerings help companies develop systems and execute strategic goals that can achieve desired outcomes. VMEC’s highly experienced process improvement and growth experts are able to teach your leaders and teams the necessary strategies, tools and methods they need to succeed, while also providing hands-on VMEC support and coaching, if desired, along the way. Regardless of your company size, the product you deliver, or the customer you serve, our workshops and training can probably help your organization.  Please visit the below four (4) topic areas and click on the expandable workshops and training topics to find a program that will fit your company needs.

Workshops and Training

Innovation Engineering Fundamentals

Companies competing with Innovation as their primary business strategy have an average 3-year profit margin that is over 50% higher compared to the profit margins of companies using a primary strategy of low cost, quick delivery, voice of the customer or high quality. Innovation Engineering provides a system that transforms innovation from a random art to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed (up to 6x) and decreased risk (30-80%).  VMEC Innovation Engineering workshops provide a sampling of the key basics of the Innovation Engineering mindset on how to CREATE, COMMUNICATE & COMMERCIALIZE Meaningfully Unique Ideas.  The Innovation Engineering workshops are taught using the Cycles to MasteryTM teaching system.  It’s a proven system of learning that has been found in new University of Maine research to be 4 times more effective than classic methods of teaching. This Innovation Engineering workshop covers 6 of the 48 Skills that make up the Innovation Engineering Body of Knowledge.   You will learn innovative thinking skills that can be applied in your daily work with problem solving, process improvement, and new product or service offerings. CREATE:  Here you learn the new mindset that creates a 6x increase in the number of high quality ideas versus classic “brainstorming.”  It features a special focus on how to enable active learning from customer insights, marketplace benchmarking, technology and future mining.  And, how to leverage a collaboration mindset to create an exponential increase in effectiveness. COMMUNICATE:   Innovation Engineering Communicate skills are a new “outside in” thinking approach that doubles your odds of success by turning sales and marketing into a customer pull system.  It also provides a simple way for focusing and clarifying ideas so that everyone – from front line worker to the CEO – can speak the same language. COMMERCIALIZE:  Innovation Engineering Commercialize skills are a transformation in how to reduce innovation risk.   Instead of attempting to “plan, study and study away risk” you learn the new Fail FAST Fail CHEAP™ approach.  It’s a modern and accelerated version of the classic Deming learning cycle of “Plan, Do, Study, Act” applied to innovation.The workshop concludes with a brief presentation and discussion on how to bring it all together using the Innovation Engineering Management System. The workshop concludes with a brief presentation and discussion on how to bring it all together using the Innovation Engineering Management System.  Please plan to bring a laptop, tablet, or smart phone to the workshop, as you will need to conduct searches on the internet.

Innovation Engineering Academy: Ideas to Business Growth

Turning Ideas into business growth is the goal of VMEC’s Innovation Engineering Academy. Its aim is to enable those willing to gain the education, tools and coaching support they need to have higher odds of success with a new business idea or the acceleration of an existing idea.

WHO it’s for: • Existing small to medium-sized businesses looking to accelerate sales and profits.  Companies are encouraged to send teams of 2 – 4, a minimum of 2 is recommended, for the Academy. WHAT it is: • A System Driven Innovation program of education, advanced tools & coaching support based on the world’s most advanced innovation science, education and tools. HOW it works: 1. Digital Classes Pre-work – Participants watch four, 20 minute videos on the internet prior to attending the half day sessions. 2. Half Day Classes with Application Sessions Students attend four, half day sessions that include 1 hour of lab classes and 3 hours of hands-on Application classes. They go from setting their mission (Blue Card) to stimulus mining for inspiration to Yellow Card definition to Market Research, Sales Forecasting and a Decision to go or not on the idea.IEAcademy_halfdaysessiongraph 3. Coaching Support Participants will have access to a group portal through for 30 days following the session.  Up to 3 weekly, 30-minute phone coaching meetings may be scheduled during this time, where you are provided with support as you turn your idea into reality. Participants will learn how to follow a best practices checklist to increase speed and decrease risk. Read here what two attendees of a recent Innovation Engineering event stated about their experience… “Loved all the interaction and actual ‘doing’ – it was really a ‘learn through experience’ workshop which is awesome. It is so valuable that we can bring so much that we worked on home with us. It would be great to learn even more.”  Christine Porcaro, Marketing Manager, Fat Toad Farm “Interaction with others to stimulate ideas for my company (I didn’t think it could be done!).  The Gauntlet was uncomfortable but very profitable.”  David Waldmann, Owner/President, Vermont Hardwoods

Innovation Engineering – Quick Start Course

At the three day Innovation Engineering Quick Start course you will learn the fundamentals of Innovation Engineering but MORE IMPORTANTLY you will apply the learning to start you working smarter on your current work. The IE Quick Start course is not about Theory or Abstractions.  Quick Start has a singular focus – to get you started working smarter as fast as possible. ​ This course is based on the 12 core skills that make up the Innovation Engineering Curriculum on and off campus.With these skills you’ll be able to:

  • Write an innovation project mission that will inspire great ideas!
  • Create 8x more big ideas than brainstorming!
  • Increase the persuasive power of your ideas by up to 5X!
  • Deliver results up to 6X faster using a New Innovative Work Process!
  • Jump Start innovation in your job instantly using a cloud-based innovation software suite for 3 months following the course.

IE Express: Introduction to Systems Driven Innovation with Self Assessment

In today’s fast changing world, innovation is not optional.   Bringing new, meaningfully unique products and services to market quickly, and adapting current products for new customers and markets, are necessary for sustainable company growth. And if you can’t innovate fast, you don’t have a chance.  Innovation Engineering is our brand name for systems-driven innovation. The Innovation Engineering body of work has a breadth and depth that is so meaningfully unique it is recognized as a new field of Academic study.  It is taught on and/ or off-campus by 20+ Universities.  It’s offered as an Undergraduate Minor, a Graduate Certificate and as an Executive Education program. The Innovation Engineering Express is an inspiring live demonstrative event that will let you see, feel and touch what it’s like to be part of a high performance innovation team that can outpace the competition in today’s fast changing world.  As part of the event, you will score your company’s innovation system versus world class, and create an action plan.   It provides an overview of 4 semesters of Innovation Engineering content in just 4 hours.    Agenda Systems that Enable Speed to Market Success: Data, research and a live experiment validates before your very eyes the power of applying systems thinking to innovation. Turbo Charging Brainstorming by 700%: From the CREATE class you learn the two secrets for transforming the effectiveness of your personal and professional ability to both CREATE ideas and to PROBLEM SOLVE. Doubling Odds of Success Through Clarity:  The COMMUNICATE class teaches how to double your innovation success rate through clarity and discipline on: 1) customer, 2) problem, 3) promise, 4) proof and 5) price.  This works for both external customers or “internal” process improvement stakeholders. STOP Compromising on BIG IDEAS during Development: How to use Simultaneous Engineering  and Plan, Do, Study, Act cycles of learning during development results in ideas growing 28% in value during development. Accelerating Project Management: Learn a system for maximizing the three alignments: 1) Strategic Alignment, 2) Departmental Alignment and 3) Team Alignment. Accelerating Quantitative Customer Research: Artificial intelligence research and sales forecasting systems enable you to get factual feedback in seconds, minutes and hours. Accelerating Collaboration: You learn how a high performance collaboration system enables a minimum of 12 ideas implemented per employee per year. Accelerating Patent ROI: Patents are made painless and easy – easy to find free ideas, easy to buy patents cheap and easy to write in about an hour. Bringing it all together with Self-Assessment results and next steps for education and/or implementation of Innovation Systems at your company.

Strategy Activation: Translating Strategies to Actionable Missions

Do you need to get a jump start on your annual strategic planning or re-energize it?  Or is your strategic planning process like Ground Hog Day because nothing changes year after year or it simply takes too long?  If you dread annual planning, this workshop is for you and your company, any and all sizes or divisions of larger companies. Strategy is fundamental to business success. However, research indicates that only 11% of executives are happy with their strategic planning process. Experience indicates that the missing link is the translation of the strategic intent into an actionable mission.  This 1-day Strategy Activation workshop, part of the Innovation Engineering Operating System, introduces a process for translating your vision and strategy into motivating and actionable missions or requests for projects. Strategy Activation maximizes alignment between leadership’s strategy and how employees invest their available time and energy. This is part of standard work for leaders – developing, communicating and gaining alignment on very important strategies for the company. Strategy Deployment, a planning process used by leading Lean practitioners around the world, will also be introduced. The benefits and uses of Strategy Activation and Strategy Deployment together will be discussed.  This workshop is designed to work best for small groups of leaders from a company, division, or department. This is a learn-and-apply workshop with about 20% lecture and 80% small group exercises, discussions and individual reflection.  This workshop is applicable to companies who either have no strategic planning process or those who would like to increase effectiveness of their current process.

Technology Scouting & Technology Driven Market Intelligence (TDMI)

Whether you’re a start-up company or a mature business trying to accelerate profitable growth, this interactive workshop will offer valuable insights and pathways to help you improve your present practices.   We will help you learn how to:     1) Rapidly acquire new technology to solve product and/or process problems and     2) Develop market intelligence about the relevance of your new technology and understand key market opportunities and barriers

Technology Scouting – Are you trying to solve a problem and you know a technology solution must be out there somewhere, but your company doesn’t have the skills and/or resources to find that solution?   This session will introduce “Technology Scouting,” a systematic and comprehensive approach to searching outside your company’s normal channels to find viable solutions to your specific technology needs and provide real world, small manufacturer examples.

Technology Driven Market Intelligence (TDMI) – Is your company considering launching a new product or entering a new market? Do you wish you had better real-world validated insights into the specific opportunities and barriers – both technical and market – that exist to help you make better strategic decisions?  This session will provide an introduction to TDMI, a focused approach to market intelligence which directly considers the benefits and market impacts related to your company’s specific technology-based asset (e.g., idea, product, process). The workshop will provide real-world, small manufacturer examples.

Basic Lean

Principles of Lean Manufacturing 101

Lean 101 is the first step to learning the fundamental principles of “lean manufacturing.” No previous experience is required. Those experienced in Lean can also benefit from this workshop. Attendees will walk away understanding the power of lean manufacturing. The course is a mix of classroom and live simulation. Participants begin by simulating the manufacture of circuit boards in a chaotic manufacturing firm. The results of the first simulation provide the basis on which lean principles will be applied. For the remainder of the day, participants revisit the manufacturing environment and employ the lean techniques that are taught in the classroom. Simple financial statements prepared after each simulation show the impact that implementing lean principles has on a company’s bottom line. Participants will walk away understanding 8 key wastes in manufacturing, and in a “train and do” manner, learn how to eliminate these wastes by applying standardized work, workplace organization, visual controls, set-up reduction, batch size reduction, point of use storage, quality at the source, workforce practices, and pull systems. Participants will learn to calculate takt time and balance production lines to produce to customer demand. By the end of the day, participants see that the key to a company’s real improvements and their ability to be competitive, strongly correlate to their ability to eliminate non-value added activities. Participants will demonstrate to themselves that they can reduce manufacturing cycle time up to 90%, improve on-time shipments up to 90%, reduce work in process up to 90%, improve quality up to 50%, and reduce floor space up to 75%.

Fundamentals of Lean Office 101

Manufacturers and most non-manufacturing organizations need an effective way to learn and introduce proven Lean tools and concepts in office and administrative environments.  Lean organizations produce greater value with higher quality in less time. In the beginning, Lean tools and concepts were only applied on the factory floor. Today, organizations of all sizes are applying the power of Lean to their office and administrative processes because front end inefficiencies and errors directly impact a customer’s experience – which can affect quality, customer service levels, and ultimately, company profitability and company growth. At VMEC, we have a great solution.  Our Fundamentals of Lean Office 101 workshop focuses on the unique application of Lean to an office where processes are not always visible. Using an interactive approach, students will use several tools to learn the best way to see a process, identify waste and determine the Lean tools to use to create a more effective administrative organization. This class uses a variety of exercises – including a simulated office situation using laptop computers – to demonstrate Lean concepts and illustrate the quantifiable benefits that can be achieved when applying Lean in an office or administrative setting. The tools taught in this session increase operational effectiveness, provide better clarity to job roles and functions, increase process ‘flow’ and improve productivity and profitability.   A combination of lecture, video and in-class activities are used where you will learn the importance of focusing your activities on how they provide value to the customer, how to map processes to make waste visible (which can then be minimized or eliminated) and to determine where to make Lean changes.

Value Stream Mapping: Planning, Leading and Executing

Value Stream Mapping: Planning, Leading and Executing is a hands-on workshop designed to develop the basic skills of Value Stream Mapping that can be applied in both plant and administrative/front office settings. Using a case study approach, participants develop and use value stream maps as a method to identify waste and plan for process improvements. When applied to front office processes, attendees learn how to identify areas for process improvement that will reduce lead times, improve first time quality of information, and improve service. Examples of front office process realizing significant customer impact include order entry, quoting, new product definition, engineering order changes and shipping. The Value Stream Mapping process is appropriate for any organization with significant administrative processes: manufacturing, government, health care, higher education, banking and insurance.

The 5S System: Workplace Organization and Standardization

5S is an effective tool for identifying and eliminating wasteful practices from your workplace.  Created and perfected by Toyota, 5S incorporates a system of visual cues that help reduce waste and achieve more consistent operational results by maintaining an orderly workplace.  5S is widely used in a variety of organizations, including manufacturing, health care, financial institutions, and the military. 5S stands for Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain. 5S is the foundation of a successful Lean implementation, making possible the use of other Lean techniques and tools: Standardized work cannot be achieved without good 5S, Just in Time becomes deficient if 5S is done poorly, and the whole Lean culture cannot be absorbed without the 5S mentality. This workshop has been designed to introduce you to the 5S System and to help you learn basic implementation steps including how to evaluate and audit you own organization. Benefits: After attending this workshop, you will:

  • Understand how the 5S system will help you correctly apply Lean techniques by making waste visible and by supporting standardized work requirements;
  • Learn the purpose behind each step and the criteria to evaluate how well each “S” has been implemented;
  • Get a structured format to start using this technique right away in your organization in order to create a pathway for Lean implementation and
  • Be able to begin a 5S implementation and to carry the implementation throughout your organization to make 5S a part of your company culture

This is an interactive workshop that includes a hands-on simulation, preparing participants to immediately bring this technique to their workplace.

Set-Up Reduction

In this interactive, one-day workshop, participants will learn a systematic, low-cost, shop-floor proven method to improve setups dramatically. This seminar will teach the benefits of setup reduction and instruct how to implement a setup reduction project, from selecting the focus to applying the methodology and measuring the results. Attendees will learn how to apply specific tools and techniques through real-world examples, and videos and exercises will be used to reinforce the training. The approach is simple and universal. It is based on the concept of Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED), the single most important foundation for Just-In-Time production. This methodology has reduced setup and turnaround time in all types of manufacturing, assembly, and even service industries. Participants are encouraged to bring videotapes of their own setups for use as problem solving exercises.

Office 5S – Office Organization and Standardization

In your office, can you find whatever you need in less than 30 seconds? Can anyone walk in and find what they need in less than 30 seconds? The aim of Office 5S is to remove what is not needed, place the necessary items at the point of use and create a clean, visual and high performance workspace. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Improve access to tools, supplies and information on paper and in electronic formats
  • More effectively use resources
  • Get by without the “irreplaceable” employee
  • Improve workplace safety by eliminating clutter and physical obstacles
  • Identify ergonomic solutions to make workstations more comfortable and productive

While an organized workspace is no doubt appealing to the eye, the value of implementing 5S in the office extends beyond simply creating an orderly appearance. The process of Sorting (organizing), Setting in Order (ordering), Shining (inspecting & cleaning), Standardizing (practicing), and Sustaining (creating discipline) your office functions will generate more value added output per worker. Improvements in productivity, safety, and quality will go right to the bottom line.

Total Productive Maintenance

This full day course offers you the opportunity to learn the process to maximize the productivity of your equipment for its entire life. Total Productive Maintenance fosters an environment where improvement efforts in Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost and Creativity are encouraged through the participation of all employees. Participants will learn about Overall Equipment Effectiveness and its connection with capacity, how to find and eliminate the 6 major equipment related wastes and also how to eliminate the causes of 75% of equipment breakdowns. By the close of the workshop participants will have learned the principles and goals of TPM, how TPM supports Lean manufacturing and how to implement TPM on the factory floor.

Mistake-Proofing for Manufacturing and Administrative Processes

An introduction to the values and techniques regarding the implementation of mistake-proofing (Poka-Yoke) and the “problem of human error”. Participants will combine real-life examples and exercises to give insight on how they might apply mistake-proofing in their own companies. The workshop will cover Poka-Yoke methods, device types, analysis tools, as well as error proofing and statistical process control (SPC). Participants will discuss the use of mistake-proofing processes using the “Anatomy of Mistake-Proofing” in manufacturing and administrative applications to dovetail with other quality tools currently being applied. Participants are encouraged to bring an item or concept they believe is in need of mistake-proofing from their place of work. Note: Mistake-Proofing uses applied problem solving. VMEC recommends, not a prerequisite, attending the “Structured Problem Solving” workshop before the Mistake-Proofing Workshop.

Lean Six Sigma

Lean and Six Sigma are being implemented in a wide variety of manufacturing and service organizations throughout the world and in a variety of functions. What are the history, benefits and disadvantages, terms, strategies and methodologies? Is lean and/or Six Sigma something that your organization should be doing? Should you do one or both methods? Which should come first? Get answers to all these questions and more. Don’t just learn about lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma – also experience them through two hands-on simulations. At the end of the workshop participants should be able to clearly explain the differences between lean and Six Sigma, their strengths and weaknesses, and why combining the best of these methodologies maximize results. If you are considering lean and/or Six Sigma, get information to help you make a decision. Executives to employees and novices to experts can benefit from this training.

Lean Product Development

Despite an increasing need for speed and efficiency, much of the effort expended by product development teams is often unnecessary and potentially wasteful. In many cases, only one or two hours of a team member’s work day is spent directly creating value for their customers. This interactive workshop presents a set of leading-edge, practical tools for slashing waste and increasing speed and efficiency of your company’s product development process. The Lean methods described in this course enable dramatic reductions in time-to-market while freeing up valuable resources for additional project work. Firms that have embraced these practical, waste-eliminating tools have reported up to fifty-percent reduction in launch schedules, significant improvements in gross margin, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Managing Lean

Introduction to Strategy Deployment

Strategy Deployment is often described as Standard Work for management. Do you struggle with aligning and focusing your organization towards that plan? Or does “routine” work to get in the way of executing against your strategic objectives? Participants are introduced to the planning process used by leading lean practitioners around the world and to the tools critical to effective Strategy Deployment and examples of their use. Strategy Deployment is a disciplined process using the scientific method of Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) to:

  • Define the vital few goals of the organization
  • Focus and align all levels of organization towards the achievement of those goals
  • Use simple, proven problem solving techniques to review performance against the goals.

After the workshop, participants will also have the opportunity to schedule a complimentary on-site, ½ day planning and coaching session with a VMEC advisor to lay the foundation for implementing strategy deployment in their organization.

Accounting for Lean

This workshop is designed for both manufacturing leaders AND their financial counterparts to encourage a greater level of alignment between Lean operations and accounting.  It covers a wide ranging set of topics including Lean tools, organization culture, value streams and deep-dives at Lean business management practices through the lens of both the customer (operations) and the supplier of information (accounting). This workshop will illustrate the value and competitive advantage of Lean principles and practices via a hands-on simulation that includes Lean’s impact on operations and financial statements. Implementing a Lean Business System typically sends the wrong signals and negatively impacts financial results during the early stages. Unlike traditional Lean simulations, this workshop will include financial statements for each stage of the simulation in both a traditional format and then a simplified Plain English P & L format in order to demonstrate the importance of alignment between operations and accounting. The workshop will clearly illustrate why traditional cost management techniques are often at odds with Lean thinking and provide answers on how to develop a set of financial reports, including “Plain English” financial statements, that allow the user community to truly understand performance. Exercises will demonstrate how traditional transactional processing needs to be changed in lock-step with Lean changes occurring in manufacturing, and how a working partnership between operations and accounting supports an effective Lean transformation. Attendees will need to bring their laptops and be prepared to dive into the numbers as this is a very intensive hands-on workshop.

Lean Workforce Development

Improving Workplace Communication

You’ve heard about VMEC’s many training opportunities in the manufacturing sector. You know what has to be done and you have a basic plan to follow. But what about the “how”? How will you and your employees work together to make the changes necessary a reality? For your business to be successful, you need clear and respectful interpersonal communication. At VMEC, we have responded to the requests from our clients for more soft skills training, understanding that a good process works best in a culture that values its people. Improving Workplace Communication is a one-day workshop that teaches simple skills to increase your competence with this essential element for workplace success. This hands-on interactive training explores communication styles, perception checking and workplace defensiveness. Your full participation is key to your success and ability to have fun is crucial. Instructor Leslie Schreiber of Schreiber Training, formerly All Aboard, Inc., will deliver this as a public workshop but it may also be delivered on-site at a private location upon request. Contact VMEC Marketing and Training Manager Robynn Albert at for more details. NOTE:  A knowledge or familiarity with Lean concepts is not necessary nor a pre-requisite for taking this workshop. Who Should Attend – This workshop is geared to everyone and anyone in your organization – shop floor, customer service, front line, sales, managers from bottom to top, presidents and CEOs. Leslie Schreiber, Masters in Experiential Education, has owned her own small business since 2002, providing interpersonal communication skills training, group development workshops, and Six Thinking Hats training. Leslie brings a unique perspective and experience to her teaching having spent the past 11 years in high adventure, experiential learning environments with organizations such as Outward Bound. For her, hands on learning is the best way to keep participants engaged and trying new skills. Locally, Leslie has worked with employees and managers of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Gardener’s Supply, Eastern Mountain Sports, the American Red Cross, the Vermont Law School, the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical School, Middlebury College, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Vermont Department of Education and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has also taught courses for UVM, Johnson State College, and Community College of Vermont (CCV). She has been a guest speaker at St. Michael’s College and Champlain College. Nationally, she has worked with employees and managers of IBM, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Avery Dennison, Quest Diagnostics, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, State Street Boston Corporation, WP Carey, Kraft Foods, and Harvard Business School. Leslie was recognized by Vermont Business Magazine as a 2011 Rising Star.

Introduction to Systematic Layout Planning and Work Cell Design

Systematic Layout Planning, an approach developed by Dr. Richard Muther, is a team-based process that uses actual data to determine the most effective and efficient layout possible.  Systematic Layout Planning is recognized throughout the world as the most organized way to develop layout plans in any situation including factories, hospitals and offices. The second portion of this workshop, you will be introduced to different work cell configurations, when they are used and the advantages and disadvantages of each.  Through classroom discussion and exercises you will be shown how to design and balance a work cell for optimum performance. The workshop is invaluable for those companies who must: ·    Add major new equipment or capacity ·    Rearrange for better material flow and throughput ·    Expand or consolidate facilities ·    Implement work cells and Lean manufacturing ·    Implement new warehousing methods, processes, and systems ·    Rearrange teams for more effective office communications The benefits of an improved layout are: ·    Department footprint reduced ·    Unit production increased ·    Output per shift increased ·    Maintenance of quality, reducing costs and maintaining the integrity of the product Who Should Attend – company decision makers, plant managers, operations managers, facility managers, presidents, shop supervisors and Lean champions.

Introduction to Training Within Industry (TWI)

During  World War II, success in the battlefield depended on industry’s ability to bring  thousands of new workers and new supervisors into the industries making ships, planes, and weapons.  Meeting the production challenge with this newly mobilized workforce required building the capabilities of supervisors to train, motivate, andcontinuously improve. During the war, the method used to achieve this skill building was called Training Within Industry (TWI). Sixty five years later, Toyota successfully uses these same methods as a foundation of their supervisory training method. TWI programs are typically 2 hour sessions performed over 5 days. Since these programs were intended as a skill building exercise, a major part of the training was student demonstrations and role playing. VMEC hosts the below as a day long workshop. This introduction is intended as an overview of the three TWI programs: Job Instruction (JI) – how to train someone on a job or a new method Job Methods (JM) – how to systematically improve the way jobs are done Job Relations(JR) – how to deal with issues of motivation and problem solving with people During this workshop, participants are presented with “real world” problems that everyone can easily relate to at the workplace. Participants compare how these problems are usually handled to the TWI “4-Step Method”. This “learning by doing” concept forms the key to the TWI teaching method.

Structured Problem Solving

Do you encounter the same problems over and over?  Frustrated no one seems to learn from experiences?  Does your organization have a few “firefighters” who jump on any problem for a quick fix but the problem’s back next month or next week or tomorrow and everyone else stands back and waits for someone else to act or just accepts putting up with this as part of their job and no wonder nothing gets done on time? Time to try VMEC’s Structured Problem Solving workshop!  A methodical, well thought out process to approach big and little problems and make them go away forever.  How is this accomplished?  By thinking first, getting some data, trying a test solution and then following up to see how it works.  This is called the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act).  The Problem Solving workshop explains the theory, but more important, provides examples and exercises to try it out.  Better yet, if you have a nagging work problem needing attention, come ready to share and discuss and we’ll start applying PDCA right away to your organization no matter its size or industry. And to keep an eye on following up the problem, you’ll bring back a proven tool called an A3…we’ll try it out with a case study or your actual problem. Note: If problem solving leads you to human error, VMEC’s “Mistake-Proofing for Manufacturing and Administrative Processes” workshop teaches how to apply the structured problem solving techniques learned in this workshop to the problem with human error.

ISO 9001:2015 Implementation Collaborative

Are you looking for new business opportunities to compete in other global markets? Find out how the new ISO 9001:2015 Collaborative can help your company. Many organizations are being forced by their major customers to become certified as a condition of doing business with them. Our ISO 9001 Collaborative Program allows small – medium size companies to undertake the certification process with the necessary support from a team of experts but also train your team and develop an ISO 9001 compliant management system at an affordable cost. Notice to Defense Supply Chain Companies:   The VT Department of Economic Development has recently been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s (‘DOD’) Office of Economic Adjustment to help Vermont businesses that have been impacted by DOD spending reductions over the last few years. If ISO certification could help your company grow with new customers, contact Brett Long, Director-Business Support, by phone at (802) 461-9353 or by e-mail at or visit this link. What Is a Collaborative? The collaborative is a unique, workshop-based program of 4 to 8 small – medium size companies working together to upgrade or develop their Quality Management Systems to ISO 9001:2015 Standard for compliance and/or registration.  The collaborative focuses on providing systems, documentation and training in a classroom setting as well as on-site consultation for companies wanting or needing to comply with ISO 9001.

ISO 9001:2015 Collaborative Program Consists of:

  • Six, day-long group sessions, meeting one day per month for six months, that focus on systems, documentation development, internal auditing, continuous improvement, risk based thinking, context of the organization, strategic planning and more
  • Five, day-long company on-site consulting/coaching sessions, scheduled between the group sessions
  • Work assignments 

Benefits of an ISO Collaborative:

  • Share the cost of training
  • Learn while implementing, auditing, maintaining, and sustaining a compliant quality management system
  • Benefit from interacting with other participating organizations
  • Ensure effectiveness of all processes
  • Create an effective continuous improvement system

If you are considering or planning to implement ISO 9001 and need assistance, please contact Patricia Giavara, VMEC Assistant Director, at or (802) 279-6103 and she’ll be glad to walk you through this unique program designed for small and medium-sized companies as well as discuss the pricing structure for you and your staff.

ISO 9001:2015 Overview

Your transition period starts today!  To keep your company’s ISO 9001 certified status, you have to comply with the new standards by September 2018.  In this full-day session, you will learn:

    • Why the standard changed
    • What the key changes are and how they will impact your quality system
    • How to approach implementation of ISO 9001:2015
    • How to prepare for transition to ISO 9001:2015 from existing QMS
    • Process Approach and Plan, Do, Check, and Act Model
    • Review of updated quality management principles
    • How to effectively manage Risk Based Thinking
    • Documented information requirements

Who Should Attend? Those employees who must perform audits to ISO 9000 Quality System Standards which includes quality assurance professionals, ISO Project Managers, management representatives, new and experienced Internal Auditors and quality professionals.

ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Training (Two days)

Create a successful ISO Audit Team in 2 Days. An effective Internal Audit program is a big part of maintaining your management system, customer satisfaction, making company wide improvements and compliance. If your Internal Auditors are not well trained, you run a risk of investing a great deal of time and resources and failing to achieve the benefits of being ISO registered. This course will meet that need – it is designed to increase your understanding of auditing techniques and will take you step-by-step through the stages of an internal audit from audit planning to closure and follow up. Training Overview: · Fully understand ISO 9001:2015 requirements including an introduction to the different audits. · Fully understand the 5 states of the internal audit process including audit program/schedule. · Plan and conduct effective internal audits. · Properly present audit findings · Engage in a risk-based audit approach from planning through process documentation to testing, analysis, and reporting.

 Who Should Attend?   Those employees who must perform audits to ISO 9000 Quality System Standards which includes quality assurance professionals, ISO Project Managers, management representatives, new and experienced Internal Auditors and quality professionals. 

ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Course

This course is comprehensive training in lead auditor techniques, methodology, practices and skills. It was designed and developed by a team who created and managed an accredited registrar. They are lead auditors, they managed lead auditors and know what training is best for lead auditors. The course contains a solid body of quality management systems (QMS) auditing knowledge, accumulated from ten years of QMS audits. Highlights of the session include:

  • “Hands-on” training with over 25 class exercises
  • Quality Management Systems as required by ISO 9001:2000
  • ISO 9001 requirements and intent
  • “Process Auditing”
  • QMS Historical Perspective
  • QMS Audit Process
  • Evaluating System Effectiveness
  • Evaluation of Conformance
  • Audit Reporting
  • Simulated audit or live audit

Who Should Attend:

  • ISO 9001 Auditors
  • ISO 9001 Implementers
  • Quality Program Managers


  • An understanding of the ISO 9001 standard’s requirements and intent
  • How to audit a “process.”
  • A certificate of accomplishment (conditional on passing examination)
  • An understanding of the lead auditors responsibilities
  • How to create and execute an audit plan.
  • An understanding of questioning techniques and communications.
  • How to make an auditee feel at ease.
  • How to determine the effectiveness of a quality management system.
  • How to document nonconformances

Internal Quality Auditing – ISO 9001:2008

This course is designed to instruct participants how to become internal quality auditors. They will learn basic auditing concepts, the key characteristics of a successful auditor, the design and development of an audit plan, schedule, and audit checklist and report and how to document nonconformances. This course also covers how a well planned internal auditing program can result in continuous improvement. Highlights of the session include:

  • Purpose and Scope of an Internal Quality Audit
  • Basic Auditing Concepts and the Auditing “Process”
  • Identify Organization’s Product Realization Processes
  • Management controls
  • Key Characteristics of an Auditor
  • Design & Development of an Audit Plan and Schedule
  • Audit Checklists
  • Documenting Nonconformances
  • Audit Reports
  • Common Problems in an Internal Quality Audit
  • Internal Quality Audits and Continuous Improvement

Who Should Attend:

  • Internal Quality Auditors
  • Functional Managers
  • Quality Assurance Personnel
  • Supervisors


  • How to create an internal quality audit program in your company that helps you reduce operating costs.
  • How to select and train auditors.
  • How to create and execute an audit plan.
  • An understanding of questioning techniques and communications.
  • How to make an auditee feel at ease.
  • How to determine the effectiveness of a quality management system.

Introduction to Agile Project Management

Increasing speed of development is critical in today’s competitive marketplace.  Agile development methods reduce the development time by breaking the work into manageable sections and incorporating a continuous feedback loop with the customer. Agile development is a collaborative and iterative methodology that creates a streamlined development cycle and enhanced customer satisfaction. The 2-day format of this interactive workshop is designed to increase learning of the Agile methodology using your own projects during the in class exercises.  The class learns the key elements to a successful Agile development project including priority for projects, creating sprint cycles and daily scrum sessions. Come learn how your company can reduce the development cycle time by as much as 50% and increase customer acceptance rate by as much as 100%. In this hands-on course, participants use the concepts of Agile project management with the Scrum methodology.   The workshop is designed for employees who may or may not be familiar with the concepts of traditional project management, and who are moving to Agile in order to shorten development cycle time, manage projects with changing or uncertain requirements, and improve customer satisfaction. Target Audience: This course is intended for product development team leaders and developers.  These include Product Owners, Program Managers, development teams, and anyone interested in learning Agile methodology to apply to their work.   A familiarity of project management concepts is helpful but not required. Delivery Method: Instructor led, highly interactive, group-paced, classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities that focus on real projects. Projects should be selected in advance. Workshop Agenda: Lesson 1 – Project Management & Agile Lesson 2 – Teams & Team Space Lesson 3 – Scrum Overview Lesson 4 – Envisioning – Product Planning Lesson 5 – Sprint Planning Lesson 6 – Sprint Execution (including Scrum and customer interaction/feedback) Lesson 7 – Sprint Review Lesson 8 – Sprint Retrospective Lesson 9 – Closing out the Project Lesson 10 – Challenges

Fundamentals of Project Management

Many organizations struggle to complete projects at all, let alone successfully and quickly. In this 2-day overview of project management, we will provide the essential tools you need for successful projects.  The 2-day format of this interactive workshop is designed to increase the learning through applying what is being taught to current projects. Attendees focus on their own projects for the in-class exercises.  And between Day 1 and Day 2, additional work on current projects is completed.   Typical projects that participants bring to the workshop include capital improvements (new equipment or facilities changes), product or service development, IT-related, continuous improvement and quality projects. As a result of this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn fundamentals of project management
  • Make progress on current job-related projects
  • Add to their toolbox templates of practical project management tools
  • Understand factors that influence project management success

Who should take this workshop: This workshop is designed for anyone who is responsible to complete small or large projects in any function of the company, and wants to learn new skills and tools to improve results.   It is recommended that existing project teams attend as a group. This introductory workshop will provide participants with a solid foundation of project management skills and templates of practical tools for successful projects.  It will not teach advanced project management concepts including team dynamics, Lean or Agile methods in project management, or instruction in a specific project scheduling tool such as Microsoft Project.   Please contact VMEC if you are interested in any of these advanced topics.

Basic Blueprint Reading for Mechanical Drawings

Basic Blueprint Reading for Mechanical Drawings is a one-day hands-on workshop designed as an introduction to the basic skills of finding and interpreting the information found on mechanical drawings. The skills taught in this interactive workshop can be applied in both plant and administrative/ front office settings. The topics covered in this workshop include the information found on blueprints, fundamentals of drawing layout, the different views used on drawings and their relationships to one another, part visualization, lines, symbols, dimensions and tolerances, including an overview of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) symbols. Industry standards, practices and copies of mechanical drawings are included, along with exercises to apply the learning. Who should attend: VMEC has taught an expanded version of this class to companies on-site for machinists, machine operators, customer service representatives, sales people, quality departments, inspectors, assemblers, estimators, production planners and other attendees that need to be able to understand and interpret the information found on mechanical drawings. Benefits: Attendees come away with a basic knowledge of:

  • What information is required and found on a mechanical drawing
  • Where the information is located on the drawing layout
  • How to visualize the part from the information presented on the drawing
  • Lines and symbols used and their meaning
  • How to interpret dimensions and tolerances
  • The difference between basic systems and GD&T

It is recommended that participants bring example drawings for review and discussion from their place of work.