Skinny view on “Lean Education”

Can lean techniques be used in an education environment?

Well why not, lean has helped improved service and manufacturing industries and is now being used in the cognitive environments, so why not to improve schools and colleges?

This article on Lean Education starts to consider how lean might be applied and okay it references the tools of JIT and TQM as being “lean”; lean isn’t the set of tools or techniques, it is really a set of principles but that aside, it is asking the question “can we improve our service to our customers?” one of the key questions to be answered under the first principle of lean and valid for all providers of a solutions regardless of sector.

However at a time when many lean practitioners are making the 7 Wastes up to 8, with the addition of the Waste of Human Potential, why can’t the same techniques be taken into education and improve the service delivered?

Could we even teach lean principles before the ideas of individual targets, batching, queuing, inventories etc take over and morph into economic batch sizes, overhead absorption rates, variance reports and the raft of information which often blinds us to the real improvements that can be made in the organisations we go on to work for?

 (most economic batch size? it’s the batch size you can sell quickly, or have even already sold that is most economic, if it isn’t you’re wasting your efforts elsewhere)

If these guys here at Lean Education are to be believed then Lean is already delivering impressive, quantified results;

  • improved academic results
  • time for planning and teaching increased
  • budgets managed withing constraints

If anyone has tried this in the UK, let us know.


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One response to “Skinny view on “Lean Education”

  1. Lean can be used in the education environment. However, we must understand that the environment is different. There are different problems. If you try to force in kanban and work cells, it will probably fail. If you try to understand problems and value, they you have a chance.

    The Pawley Institute of Oakland University has been applying this. Check it out here:

    Jamie Flinchbaugh

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