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Integrating Hands On Discovery Of Lean Principles Into Operations, Industrial, And Manufacturing Curricula

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.766.1 - 15.766.6



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Paper Authors

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Sharon Johnson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Venkat Allada Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Susan Pariseau Merrimack College

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integrating Hands-On Discovery of Lean Principles into Operations, Industrial, and Manufacturing Curricula


The objective of this project is to develop hands-on curriculum materials demonstrated to improve students’ ability to apply lean process design ideas and to use data to support decisions, and to create an effective model for their use in a variety of academic settings. While the principles of lean design are straightforward, designing an effective process is a creative activity that requires innovative thinking. Academic programs have been most successful in teaching the science behind lean, but less effective in providing opportunities and activities to support design.

To build on successful lean training programs in industry, the academic PI’s are collaborating with a management consulting firm with expertise in developing lean simulation products and conducting lean training. In particular, in conjunction with a physical simulation that involves a clock assembly process, we are developing lean process design case studies to explore lean application in different settings and with more advanced tactics. These materials are being tested at 15 diverse universities, where we are assessing the effects on student and faculty learning.

Introduction and Project Goals

Lean principles provide systematic guidelines for designing effective processes, focusing on eliminating waste by specifying value, simplifying flow, and pulling from customer demand7. Lean ideas have transformed process design and significantly improved lead times, quality and cost for many manufacturing companies2. While lean principles are simply stated, the design process is complicated because every process has unique constraints and competitive drivers. To be effective designers, students need to be able to apply a variety of tactics used to achieve the principles, as well as understand when these tactics are likely to be effective. Although many educational programs expose students to lean topics in courses, limited opportunities are provided to practice application.

The goal of this project is to develop and implement hands-on curriculum materials to support learning of lean process design, through four objectives: ≠ Create new learning materials by developing 15 Lean Process Design Case Studies that are designed to complement a physical simulation where participants assemble clocks using a multi-stage process to get hands-on practice applying lean principles. The Lean Process Design Case Studies that have been developed to allow students to explore different applications (e.g., services, coordinating with small companies) and contrast the tactics used in different situations. ≠ Develop faculty expertise through experiential workshops to introduce materials, and by participating faculty with ongoing development opportunities to improve teaching through interaction with lean practitioners and opportunities to participate in developing case study materials. We held workshop in Summer 2007 and 2008 to explore basic lean principles, as well as a workshop held in Summer 2008 to explore application of lean principles through a supply chain simulation.

Johnson, S., & Allada, V., & Pariseau, S. (2010, June), Integrating Hands On Discovery Of Lean Principles Into Operations, Industrial, And Manufacturing Curricula Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16770

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