National Flavors

Success with The Center

NATIONAL FLAVORS: Providing Workers With Training to Grow and Succeed

The Center’s Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course provided me the opportunity to significantly improve a large process within my department. I gained the tools and framework needed to methodically analyze data collected and introduce my team to the steps of Six Sigma throughout our improvement process. The ability to present the developments with statistical representation, along with the assortment of testing methods taught during the course, helped validate all changes made throughout the project to both the assembled team and management.
-- Katie Harmon, Quality Control Supervisor

Since 1941, National Flavors ( has been a leading developer and manufacturer of flavor ingredients for use in food products, primarily baked goods, confections, frozen desserts and fruit-based products. For more than 75 years, this family-owned company has worked with clients throughout the entire development process to provide customized, satisfactory products that taste great, every time. National Flavors employs 42 at their Kalamazoo, Mich., facility.


National Flavors is committed to the ongoing professional development and training of their staff. With plans to move into a new facility, National Flavors wanted to be as prepared as possible for the transition. They understood that for their relocation to be successful, they needed to plan for how to establish and maintain a clean, organized and efficient workplace at their new location. To achieve this, they expressed interest in key staff receiving Lean training. Also, National Flavors sought to provide their Quality Control Supervisor with supplementary training in data collection and analysis to further strengthen leadership of the quality department.


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National Flavors turned to the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) for training in areas including:

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) – National Flavors identified an opportunity for their Quality Control Supervisor to better utilize research and data to improve quality in the department. To gain the skills needed to effectively collect and analyze data, the Quality Control Supervisor attended The Center’s LSSGB course, which focused on learning how to apply the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) method to identify and eliminate sources of quality defects in production. Following training and in conjunction with a final project, the quality department worked together to identify areas that could be improved using data.

5S/Visual Management – To learn how to efficiently set up a new facility that is clean and organized, National Flavors participated in The Center’s 5S/Visual Management training. Throughout this process, nine cross-departmental team members worked together to organize workspaces and establish visual management tools at their new facility. This training allowed all employees to have a voice and contribute to National Flavors’ organization efforts, as well as instilled a new level of pride in the workspace among all workers.


  • Reduced average raw material approval time by 62%
  • Reduced upper control limit by 73%, exceeding their goal of 50%
  • Annual Cost Savings: $20,000
  • Established a 5S culture throughout the organization, with team members now more focused on identifying waste and improving the facility