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Redesigning a Lean Simulation Game for More Flexibility and Higher Efficiency

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Improving IE Course Content

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1104.1 - 25.1104.12



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Paper Authors


Hung-da Wan University of Texas, San Antonio

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Hung-da Wan is an Assistant Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Director of the Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Lab at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). He teaches Six Sigma and lean methodologies, computer integrated manufacturing systems, and manufacturing systems engineering. He is among the core faculty of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems at UTSA and has been offering short courses to the industry. His research interests include sustainability of manufacturing systems and web-based applications in manufacturing.

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Yi-Ching Liao University of Texas, San Antonio

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Yi-Ching Liao is a master's student in advanced manufacturing and enterprise engineering at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). She is also a Graduate Research Assistant at the Sustainable Manufacturing System Laboratory at UTSA. She received her B.S. in system and naval mechatronic wngineering from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan. Her research interests include lean systems design and implementation, simulation and gaming, and engineering education.

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Glenn Kuriger University of Texas, San Antonio

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Glenn Kuriger is a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems (CAMLS) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). He has been involved with lean implementation projects with several organizations. He has done lean work in the manufacturing, service, and other industries. He is also working to develop and teach a series of lean short courses that CAMLS is currently offering to industry. His current research interests include lean concepts, lean healthcare, lean simulation training games, simulation, operations research, and multi-criteria optimization.

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Redesigning a Lean Simulation Game for More Flexibility and Higher EfficiencyAbstractLean manufacturing has become one of the most widely acknowledged and implemented processimprovement methodologies in the modern industry. As more companies and organizationsembrace lean, effective training and educational programs are in high demand for industry anduniversities. Due to the practical nature of lean concepts and tools, simulation games are knownto be a very effective pedagogy in lean education. The interactive contents of simulation gamescreate an active learning environment to enhance the effectiveness of teaching. Moreover, withwell designed activities, the main concepts of lean, such as flow, visual control, and errorproofing, can be demonstrated clearly in a simulation game. As a result, various games havebeen developed by researchers and training institutes in recent years. Some simulation gamescan be conducted in a few minutes (e.g., 5S number game), while some others need several hoursto run them. Simulation games designed for classroom purposes, such as the popular Legoairplane assembly line, typically take 1 to 2 hours with several “phases” of lean implementationto improve the performance of gaming teams step by step. As reported, this type of gamegenerally serves the educational purpose adequately. However, certain limitations andweaknesses can hinder the expected outcome. For example, most of the games require a fixednumber of participants, while class size is not always a controllable factor. Also, running a two-hour game may be difficult for a 75-minute class in university settings. Consequently, it isdesirable to revisit the design of simulation games to identify improvement opportunities.In this paper, an existing lean simulation game designed for office operations is investigated forimprovement. The original game requires eight participants and takes approximately two hoursto conduct. Using Six Sigma’s DMADV methodology, several problems and limitations of thegame are identified and categorized into Flexibility, Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Cost issues.Through cause-and-effect analysis and several experiments, a revision of the lean officesimulation game is proposed with a higher level of modularity and improved standardization andvisual aids. The redesigned game is able to accommodate variable numbers of participants andcan be set up and implemented with less effort in less time. This redesign of the lean simulationgame provides a new approach to making lean education a leaner and more productive process.

Wan, H., & Liao, Y., & Kuriger, G. (2012, June), Redesigning a Lean Simulation Game for More Flexibility and Higher Efficiency Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21861

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