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My Town Kalamazoo: WMU teams' plans could save bankrupt Detroit millions of dollars | News

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My Town Kalamazoo: WMU teams' plans could save bankrupt Detroit millions of dollars
My Town Kalamazoo: WMU teams' plans could save bankrupt Detroit millions of dollars

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two teams from Western Michigan University have come up with plans that could save bankrupt Detroit nearly $2 million a year.

Since early May, students, alumni and a faculty advisor with WMU’s integrated supply management program have been working on cost-cutting measures for two city transportation facilities that house city buses and emergency vehicles. The teams worked with city personnel at the Russell-Ferry and Shoemaker Terminal garages to create lean systems to improve the city’s budget outlook. 

"When the call for expertise in the area of lean consulting came from the city of Detroit, we knew that our students and alumni could provide the necessary talent and teamwork to help the city," says Ken Jones, director of executive education and instructor of integrated supply management at WMU.

 "The culture of our program and of Western Michigan University is to take on complex challenges for the right reasons and work hard to accomplish goals.”

The teams presented their work to city leaders last week.  The plan would reduce vehicle downtime, ensure 95 percent of vehicle parts are on hand for repairs at one facility and improve internal management and communications to boost morale and productivity.

"We've built some great working relationships, and we're not done making positive things happen in Detroit," Jones says. "Our teams learned a ton about municipal operations that we'll leverage to continue helping Detroit and other communities with a similar need."