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A Study on the Students’ Perceptions of the Applicability of Lean Principles at Universities

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Supply Chain and Logistics in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.115.1 - 26.115.17



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Paper Authors


Muhammad Jahan Western Kentucky University

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Dr. Muhammad Jahan is an Assistant Professor at the Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences Department at Western Kentucky University (WKU). His research interests include advanced manufacturing, lean manufacturing, micro- and nano-machining, SPM-based lithography and materials. Prior to joining at WKU, he worked at the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering at University of Arkansas. He received his BS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and National University of Singapore respectively. He has published more than 50 papers in refereed journals and international conferences and contributed to books, and been involved in several internal and external funded research projects in these areas. He has received numerous research awards including 'Best Paper Award - ATMAE 2014', ‘Outstanding Paper Award – SME, 2012,’ ‘A.M. Stickland Best Paper Award – IMechE, 2010,’ and ‘Most Downloaded Paper – Elsevier, 2010.’

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A. Mark Doggett Western Kentucky University

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A. Mark Doggett is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator for the Master of Science Degree in Engineering Technology Management at Western Kentucky University. His interests are in the area of technology management practices, lean, theory of constraints, quality, and systems thinking. His research includes various decision-making and problem-solving strategies, and the development of distance learning approaches.

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A Study on the Students’ Perceptions of the Applicability of Lean Principles at UniversitiesLean principles are well-established business management strategies, which are appliedextensively in manufacturing and production industries to continuously improve value byreducing wastes. In recent years, the concept of lean has gone beyond the manufacturingindustries and is being increasingly applied in different sectors, such as financial,healthcare, construction and various government sectors [1-3]. This paper investigatedthe applicability of lean principles at universities using the perceptions of undergraduatestudents at a higher education institution. The perceptions were collected over a period oftwo years as a part of class assignments and discussions for a Lean Manufacturing class.This junior level class was offered equally using face-to-face and online instruction. Theperceptions of the students were analyzed as suggested by the popular “House of LeanModel” [4]. The students’ opinions and comments concerned broad areas of stability,standardization, jidoka, just-in-time, employee involvement and customer focus.The majority of the students focused on the various categories of waste (muda) andunevenness (mura) in a university system. Some of the identified waste involved poorcampus layouts causing excessive transportation or conveyance, uneven scheduling ofclasses causing motion and waiting, poor understanding of curriculum, inadequatecommunication between faculty and students, and improper management of facilitiesresources and inventory. Students perceive themselves as products and industries as thecustomers in the system. The students also focused on the waste associated withinstructional modes at the university system, asserting the need for more on-line andcompetency-based education. The students opined that universities can implement leanprinciples to a certain degree by being customer focused, applying continuousimprovement, reducing muda in mura, continuously involving students, faculty andstaffs, and above all emphasizing a lean culture.References:[1] Fourie, C. J. (2007). Application of Lean Manufacturing Principles to the FinancialServices Sector. Proceedings of The 24th International Manufacturing Conference,Waterford, Ireland, August 2007 (8 pages).[2] Schweikhart, S. A., & Dembe, A.E., (2009). The Applicability of Lean and Six SigmaTechniques to Clinical and Translational Research. Journal of Investigative Medicine,57(7), 748–755.[3] Salem, O., & Zimmer, E. (2005). Application of Lean Manufacturing Principles toConstruction. Lean Construction Journal, 2(2), 51-54[4] Dennis, P. (2002). Lean Production Simplified (2nd ed., pp. 19-20). Productivity Press,New York, ISBN 1-56327-262-8

Jahan, M., & Doggett, A. M. (2015, June), A Study on the Students’ Perceptions of the Applicability of Lean Principles at Universities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23456

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015