Asee peer logo

Teaching Concepts Of Lean Manufacturing Through A Hands On Laboratory Course

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Focus on IE Principles and Techniques

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1153.1 - 13.1153.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Arun Nambiar University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

visit author page

Arun received his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India in 1997 and Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering from Ohio University, Athens, OH in 2004. He went on to receive his Doctoral Degree in Integrated Engineering (with an Industrial Engineering concentration) from Ohio University, Athens, OH in 2007. His research interests include production, planning and control of manufacturing systems, application of lean principles, study of discrete-event systems and cost estimation for various manufacturing processes.

visit author page


Dale Masel Ohio University

visit author page

Dale received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University in 1998 and in that same year, joined the faculty of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Ohio University. He is currently an Associate Professor at Ohio University, with teaching interests in Facility Design, Material Handling, and Warehousing. In addition, he is actively involved in research to develop methodologies for estimating the manufacturing cost of parts in the design phase of the life cycle.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Teaching Concepts of Lean Manufacturing through a Hands-on Laboratory Course


The use of lean manufacturing principles has grown significantly in recent years. Although these principles make use of many Industrial Engineering methods, there is still limited coverage of lean manufacturing in many Industrial Engineering programs. This may be due to reluctance to add additional courses to existing degree requirements, or a difficulty in bringing together lean concepts that are often scattered among existing courses in the curriculum.

To integrate lean principles into the Industrial and Systems Engineering curriculum at Ohio University, a laboratory course was developed. The course integrated methods taught in other ISE courses and demonstrated how these methods related the concept of a lean system. The laboratory approach was taken to enable students to gain hands-on experience in lean principles. The laboratory course met one day a week, which also made fitting the course into their schedules easier for the students.

This paper provides an overview of the activities that were conducted in the laboratory sessions to demonstrate lean principles. The paper also discusses the supporting materials, including introductory lectures and out-of-class work. Observations from the instructor of the course and the students participating in it are also included.


Interest in the topic of Lean Manufacturing (or, more generally, Lean Systems) has increased significantly in the past several years. Although many of the methods used in Lean have been used by industrial engineers for many years, their organization into a single methodology called “lean” has raised the profile of the methods in industry.

The motivation to teach the topic of lean at Ohio University was encouraged by feedback (directly and indirectly) from employers. Several employers of co-op students indicated on the evaluations that were completed at the end of a student’s term that one area in which students could improve is in their knowledge of lean principles. In addition, some graduating students reported that in job interviews, they were asked about their experience with lean.

However, while there appeared to be a demand for covering lean within the curriculum, the difficulty lay with finding a place for it.

One option would have been to incorporate lean into an existing class. However, since the related topics are covered in multiple required and elective courses, there wasn’t an apparent existing course that would be a good fit for adding the material on lean. In addition, incorporating the lean material into an existing course would have required dropping material that was already being covered, which would have been difficult to justify.

Nambiar, A., & Masel, D. (2008, June), Teaching Concepts Of Lean Manufacturing Through A Hands On Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4396

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: © 2008 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