June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.151.1 - 13.151.15
Adding Lean and Six Sigma to Industrial Engineering Technology programs: Does this constitute a change in curriculum?
Abstract This paper will focus on changes that have been made to Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) and Industrial Technology (IT) programs to incorporate popularized ‘Lean Six Sigma’ terms into existing curriculum without making any drastic impacts to the topics taught within the programs. Included will be a discussion of how IET and IT faculty at Purdue University and its regional campuses have capitalized on Lean Six Sigma training for non-manufacturing industries to broaden their curriculum. By having faculty utilize their expertise in the non-manufacturing arena, they are able to translate experiences back into classroom discussions as well as document the experiences in other teaching materials. Additionally, new courses have been developed and alternate educational opportunities such as certificates at both undergraduate and graduate levels have been developed to meet this expanding need for IET and IT principles in non- manufacturing industries under the guise of ‘Lean Six Sigma.’ Emerging opportunities such as these at various academic institutions will be discussed.
Introduction The profession of Industrial Engineering has been evolving since its conception in the 1880’s when Frederick Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth first began to develop the rules and techniques of methods improvement1. Since then the term Industrial Engineer has been associated with a variety of organizational functions and methodologies that stem from this one central concept of helping enterprises to drive down costs and improve organizational efficiency. Topics associated with this over the years have included quality, engineering economics, human factors, facility layout, scheduling, logistics, design and manufacturing of products, simulation, and most recently, Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. When we discuss the topics of Lean and Six Sigma we find that all of the core concepts are already being taught within most IET and IT programs as many educators will eagerly argue. This results in little curriculum changes required to incorporate these ‘new’ Industrial Engineering topics.
Possibly a more important change to IET and IT curriculum that can capitalize on the natural incorporation of Lean and Six Sigma is addressing the issue that the practice of industrial engineering (which shares many of the same core concepts as IET and IT programs) has broadened beyond the traditional manufacturing setting to areas such as transportation, banking, retailing, lodging, healthcare, telecommunications, government, service and other non-manufacturing organizations. To potential students the name “industrial” can be a deterrent to pursuing this course of study and potential employers in service industries may be unaware of the usefulness of IET and IT graduates within their organizations. To this point, the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) reported findings from a study presented in the Engineering Workforce Commission newsletter that showed Industrial engineers would enjoy a 12.8 percent overall increase in jobs in 2008 compared to 1998 but this increase shows only modest increases in IE jobs among manufacturers (6.5 percent), while it projected a whopping 34.4 percent job growth in
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