June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.14.1 - 12.14.13
A Collaborative Case Study for Teaching “Achieving Lean System Benefits in Manufacturing and Supply Chains” to Engineering Management Students
With the ongoing global pressure of cost cutting and quality focus, many companies have been implementing “lean manufacturing” concepts to survive in this competitive marketplace. “Lean” concepts have found their place in manufacturing and service industries; an important key to eliminating waste and delivering value to the customers. Thus, it is imperative that engineering management graduates are equipped with the lean principles and be ready to take ownership of lean initiatives as they transition to the industry.
This paper presents a lean supply chain case study for a bicycle manufacturing company; created in an effort to expose students to a real life lean implementation experience. The project was initiated and completed with collaborations from the academia and the industry. The case study introduces four scenarios related to Forecasting, Inventory Control, Product Design issues and Manufacturing constraints. The scenarios are based on actual global business challenges a Project Facilitator may encounter with a traditional business enterprise before the introduction to Lean Supply Chain Management and Lean Manufacturing. The paper summarizes the business challenges presented by the case study and discusses how the lean business scenarios were analyzed to develop effective solutions that deliver significant business benefits. The lean supply chain case study not only demonstrates that being “lean” requires going beyond the four walls of a manufacturing company, but also presents a good working model for university and industry integration in an effort to jointly develop qualified lean professionals.
The word ‘lean production’ was first used by Krafcik8 and then it was popularized with the works of Womack et al.13 and Womack and Jones14. Many industry professionals and researchers agree that “Lean is doing more with less”. Today, lean production strategies are not optional for companies anymore but rather a must-do to survive in the global economy. Initially recognized by Toyota (thus also referred as the Toyota Production System), “lean production” has become more and more popular in the US, starting with the automotive industry13 but propagating into every industry sector, including services.
In order to have a smooth transition to the industry and confront the industry challenges, graduates from engineering and business schools need to be well trained in “lean” concepts. More and more programs are recognizing this need, and including courses on “lean” into their curriculum1,4,5,6,7,10,11,12.
Production Principles and Strategies such as “lean” can be taught using some of the traditional approaches such as industry projects, case studies, computer simulations, class projects, and company visits to name a few. Ormrod9 describes a discovery learning approach which can be helpful as well, where he defines discovery learning as "an
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