June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1340.1 - 13.1340.13
Using Hands-On Simulation to Teach Lean Principles: A Comparison and Assessment across Settings
Lean thinking has transformed the way that processes are designed and managed, significantly improving lead times, quality and cost for many organizations. These ideas are being applied to more complex processes, involving supply chain partners, services, and product development processes. Undergraduate students in industrial and other engineering programs often encounter lean ideas in a fragmented and theoretical way, with particular tactics taught in existing courses, rather than from a holistic and applied perspective. We are using a hands-on approach to teaching lean principles based on a physical simulation called Time WiseTM, developed by Time Wise Management Systems, where participants assemble clocks using a multi-stage process to get hands-on practice applying lean principles.
In this paper, we describe the use of this hands-on approach in three settings: in two different introductory courses in Industrial Engineering (IE), at different schools, and in one Introduction to Engineering course at a third school. We describe and contrast the implementation experience at each school, including specifics about how the materials were included in the courses, the support needed, and faculty preparation and observations. In addition, we present some of our assessment tools, and provide a preliminary analysis of student learning across two settings. Our assessment addresses the extent to which students are able to apply lean principles and use data to support decision-making.
Good process design can be a cornerstone of competitive advantage, and provide an opportunity to significantly improve operational performance6. The techniques and issues associated with process design are a significant part of the Industrial Engineering (IE) discipline10, yet as in other engineering fields, good design is difficult to teach. Design is a creative process that must address the complexity of real-world processes with unique constraints and competitive drivers.
In the past 20 years, diverse organizations have used lean principles to design processes that deliver significantly improved lead times, quality and cost15. Lean principles provide systematic guidelines for designing effective processes, focusing on eliminating waste by specifying value, simplifying flow, and pulling from customer demand18. Specific tactics, such as cellular layouts, are employed by designers to translate principles into practice. Because many IE courses focus on detailed design related to specific tactics, which fit naturally as subtopics within existing courses, students often encounter lean tactics in a piecemeal fashion, making it difficult for students develop an integrated understanding of the underlying philosophies. Courses dedicated to lean are generally aimed at senior-level students. Opportunities to practice process design are often the domain of senior-level capstone projects as well.
Johnson, S., & Norman, B., & Fullerton, J., & Pariseau, S. (2008, June), Using Hands On Simulation To Teach Lean Principles: A Comparison And Assessment Across Settings Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3896
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