June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1153.1 - 13.1153.16
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
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