Sie sind auf Seite 1von 9

Sunday Noya

Lean Thinking for University


Sunday Noya*
*Lecturer of Industrial Engineering Department of Ma Chung University, Malang
Email: sunday.alexander@machung.ac.id

Abstract
Lean thinking nowadays is widely applied by organisations worldwide. Lean
was discovered to generate efficiencies and help the company continuously
cut production costs. This concept harvests success reaching its goal to
create the most efficient and wasteless work system in every organisation
applying it. Hence, this remarkable concept is currently adopted by many nonmanufacturing organizations including higher educational institution. Like
manufacturing, universities are struggling to deliver valuable services while
maintaining a good financial position. Applying lean facilitate them to improve
productivity, generate efficiencies and help them continuously cut irrelevant
costs. This article gives a brief glimpse on how to promote lean concept in
university by utilizing lean tools and principles. It also reveals several steps
that can be applied when starting lean program in university.

Keywords: eliminating waste, launching lean, lean university

1. Introduction
These days, when increasing demands for higher levels of
performance makes most of organisations in the world compete to
build efficient processes in their working system, an effective concept
is needed to guide this effort. Lean is one of the most common
concepts applied in many manufacture companies. Born in the
factories of Toyota Motor Corp., lean concept has objectives to reduce
waste, generates efficiencies and helps companies continuously cut
production costs. Lean works through a simple idea: continuous
improvement and innovation leads to value creation and the
elimination of waste.
Lean history started in 1945, when Sakichi Toyoda, the owner of
Toyota Motor Corp. challenged Toyotas Chief Engineer, Taiichi Ohno

An Anthology of Scientific Articles III:


Crossing the Border. Malang. 2010

to learn how to compete with US automakers not on producing large


volumes of similar models, but many models in low volume. Then
Ohno went to the US and studied Ford mass assembly processes at
the Rouge River Plant. Ohno also studied the supermarket concept of
ordering and replenishing stock by a signal system. These learning
experiences gave ideas for Ohno to develop the system that became
known as The Toyota Production System (TPS), the system which is
currently known as lean.
Regarding its success and its nature as a concept that applicable to
any system as long as the system has a structure of flow process, in
the late 90s, lean concepts started to be adopted in many nonmanufacturing organizations. Higher education is one of organisations
that are in a good position to consider lean thinking and applications.
This article discusses the implementation of lean thinking in university.
2. Lean
According to Carrol, lean concept is a systematic approach to identify
and eliminate waste non value added activities through continuous
improvement by processing the product at the pull of the customer in
pursuit of perfection (Boone, 2010).
Most waste is invisible. The main problem is the fact that waste often
veil from plain sight, or is constructed into activities. By using the lean
tools, we are learning to see them, so we can eliminate, simplify or
reduce them. The main goal of lean concept is to eliminate these
wastes in every area of the organisation until perfection (zero waste)
is met. Logically, zero waste is impossible; consequently, this concept
leads to endless improvement.
Lean is a philosophy, a way of conceptualizing the process from raw
material to completed outcome and from design concept to customer
satisfaction (Standard, 1999). Lean packages both concept views and
applicable tools in original and modified ways through a simple
concept: continuous improvement that leads to value add and the
elimination of waste (Flumerfelt, 2008).

Sunday Noya

Applying lean means using its principles, tools, elements and


strategies to enhance processes. There are five basic principles of
lean: value, value stream, flow, pull and perfection. Value defining
what is required by customer in product or service. An activity that
does not add value is measured to be waste. Value stream is the
series of processes from raw material to the customer that create
value. The process of adding value must be in flow condition. It also a
part of pull system, system that make only what is needed by the
customer. Finally, all the process must always be improved to reach
perfection.
The increase of the productivity of the working system is supported by
some elements and tools of lean. Some of them are mentioned as:
pull system - a method of controlling the flow of resources by replacing
only what has been consumed; kanban - system of continuous supply
of components, parts and supplies; visual management - any
communication device used in the work environment; takt time - the
available production time divided by customer demand; work cell - a
work unit larger than an individual machine or workstation but smaller
than the usual department; kaizen continuous improvement; and
value stream mapping a tool to identify waste in the process.
3. Idea of Lean University
Idea of applying lean thinking to university system gives a picture of
possibility to focus on the higher education value stream with the end
product being high quality educated students. University can be
placed on the road to continuous improvement. Then, campus has to
be managed based on a product that the market wants and a price
that they are willing to pay.
Higher educational institutions, like manufacturing, are struggling to
deliver valuable services while maintaining a good financial position.
According to Emiliani in (Industrial Technology Centre, 2005), higher
education management are facing such challenges as: flood of
competent higher education service providers; study programs that
are not differentiated between competitors; growth of commercial
educational service providers; growth of the distance education via the
internet; and having to compete on the basis of charge. The

An Anthology of Scientific Articles III:


Crossing the Border. Malang. 2010

institutions that are willing to face the reality may choose to adapt the
way many managers do. They can lay people off, cut programs,
reduce services expenditure, and compress employment salary and
benefit. However, the results are always unconstructive: unhappy
customers and staff, and low morale in the workplace. Actually, a
better way to deal with reality would be to apply lean as a method to
reduce costs, improve quality, simplify processes, gain market share,
stabilize employment, and satisfy customers.
4. Implementing Lean in University
Alagaraja (2010) enlighten that traditional educational method have
adopted a mass production attitude of teaching and learning, with all
its limitations for decades. To be effective nowadays, university must
take the lean approach to solve the students problems completely
and give them exactly what they need and want in a cost-effective
way, at a competitive price, and with minimal time wasted.
The main question is how we apply lean tingking in university. Lean
concept in university is promoted by leadership and of course the
utilization of lean tools. For example, value stream mapping. This tool
explores the views of key stakeholders such as students, lecturer,
parents, management, administrators, government and board
members in concern to what is considered as value. A students
instructional day is then mapped out, looking at the distribution of time
and resources for a variety of activities. Based on the sight of the
stakeholders, assessment would be made which is value and which is
not during that instructional day. Value is kept and what is not is
eliminated.
Other lean tools are also can be applied to support continuous
improvement of every process in university. Still pointing to Alagaraja
(2010), there are several key principles and tools of lean that can be
adapted to higher education system. They are such as hoshin kanri,
a strategic planning methodology that uses a PDCA cycle (Plan-DoCheck-Act) to create goals, choose milestones, and link daily control
activities to organisation strategy. Using this tool we can associate the
purpose of a course with objectives and activities. The next principle is
flow. Utilize this tool, we may encourage student so that they can stay

Sunday Noya

on a topic or move along more quickly depending on their


understanding. Then, just-in-time (JIT), it supplies feedback on
projects in time, for discussion in next class meeting. Kaizen allows
lecturers to adapt the course to student feedback and continously
improve it. Moreover, we can use kanban to provide students with
timely feedback on their mistakes so that they can correct their
understanding quickly and effectively. Poka-yoke is error proofing,
which involves standardizing the syllabus to prevent repeated
problems. Standardization can be used to simplify lecture material
and assignments to meet student requirements. Theory of
constraints can be applied to identify barriers in instructional activities
and removes them. With throughput, we design assignments with
real-life application. We can also use value stream mapping for
visual controls and provides a map of the course flow then analyze it.
Furtermore, we are able to eliminate irrelevant material using a
principle of waste elimination.
Although lean program in university were initially concern with
instructional processes, other procedure on campus can also apply
this approach. This concept will also help university to find method to
improve both productivity and employee morale. Limited fiscal
resources with increases in mandatory employees costs and growth
in student number have made it challenging to maintain existing
programs, even expand services. Apply lean will help university to
generates efficiencies and helps it continuously cut irrelevant costs.
Therefore, the limited financial can be used only for add-value
activities.
System based on lean concept is ultimately an innovative process. It
is a method that creates value for its customers, both internal and
external, and for society as a whole. A lean campus system respects,
involves, and serves all of its people, its society, and the environment.
A foundation principle of lean is improving people first then the
system. Every individual in the system not only students - learns and
improves every day in an environment of trust and stability, thus
promoting high performance. A lean campus is a place that everyone
wants to be part of and support students, staff, parents, and the
member of society (Zikovsky, 2007)

An Anthology of Scientific Articles III:


Crossing the Border. Malang. 2010

However, lean program is not accomplished by making more work for


overloaded universities staff. Conversely, it is an energizing program.
It basically allows workers to use their creativity to do their jobs more
effectively and more efficiently. Lean is a respect-based improvement
plan. It respects each employee as a human person. It respects each
persons involvement. It promotes growth of staff as well as students.
Still, Zikovzky (2007) explains that lean is aware of the significance of
each person to the overall success of the institutions mission. As a
fundemental value, lean improves essential relationships at the same
time it improves processes - staff to staff, staff to institution, and
institution to staff. Practicing lean does not create a chaos. While staff
can independently improve the processes of their own, at the same
time, the processes are shared to the entire institution member. They
may cross units and departments. In processes that have various
owners, the proposed change is first assessed to guarantee it gives a
positive impact to all owners and is aligned with institution goals.
5. Steps of Launching Lean in University
The method on how lean is initiated in university can be explored as
we see the example of starting lean concept in the University of
Minnesota. We can follow a five-step approach that is illustrated by
Salewski & Klein (2010).
Step one: Find departments who have an initial interest or necessity
to improve their system. It usually starts with the nonacademic
departments. The foundational concepts of finding and eliminating
waste are much easier in the more tangible areas of managerial
support.

Step two: Make it clear that transactional / administrative lean


is different and sometimes more complex than manufacturing
lean. Many times, observers cannot find the wastes hidden in
the processes of the university. The first effort is to create a new
lean language that every department can understand. Then,
training material need to be developed to educate staff on the
power of lean and how they can use these principles and tools

Sunday Noya

to attain participative and collaborative process changes. The


training materials developed, should include examples of lean
applications in a university setting.
Step three: Establish and utilize a central office that will support
departmental leaders in their efforts to launch lean activities.
Institutional development must start with a centralized effort to support
process standards and help the effort between departments. Another
critical role of the central staff is to spread the energy around lean
actions and encourage reproduction throughout the university.
Step four: At a time the department is selected to carry out the initial
launch of lean program at the university, decide what the early trial
lean actions should be. Choose three demonstration lean actions. The
first event should not be complicated, small in scale, have a high
chance of success and have influences to many people in the
department. The second should be slightly larger in scale with
weighted more toward outcomes than simplicity. The third event has
to demonstrate the complete capability of lean process; it should in
larger scale, more complexity, and multi-departmental. It has to be a
powerful ending to the three events. It is crucial that the first three
events are successful; so the staff have a positive experience. Hence,
it is important to use an experienced lean facilitator in transactional
process improvement for the initial demonstration events. It is also
important for the department head to assign a lean coordinator to work
with the experienced lean facilitator.
Step five: Broaden the effort to other area after the first event is
successfully accomplished, and recognize another departments that
show a curiosity in starting a lean program. Utilize the report from the
first event to spread the benefits to the other departments. Involve
participants from these departments in the second and third events.
Involve senior leaders these departments to the report sessions for
the next events. It is essential to get as a minimum one department to
carry out its first event before all three events are completed from the
pilot department. Maintain to replicate this established process
frequently.

An Anthology of Scientific Articles III:


Crossing the Border. Malang. 2010

6. Improvement Requires Time


The basic of lean is not to improve a process once and then leave it,
but rather to establish the condition and set regulations for continuous
improvement. Toyota began its process improvement program since
1945. Starting from a dot, Toyota spent the next 60 years developing
and refining its improvement model. Today, Toyota grows to be the
worlds largest and most profitable corporation. Improvement, as
Toyota established, does not happen in a short time. It takes time to
identify what and how to improve.
7. Conclusion
Lean is a concept applied in process management with an objective to
create the most efficient work system by identifying and eliminating all
waste in the process. Lean is a way of thinking, a culture with all its
principles, values, elements and strategies that suitable to any
process. This concept can be applied in university and help it to
improve productivity, generate efficiencies and help it continuously cut
irrelevant costs. This concept will also assist university to find method
to increase the self-confidence of its staff. It facilitates the
improvement of instructional processes as well as other processes in
campus. A university, who want to compete in this global world, needs
to adopt the lean thingking to their system and begin their
improvement journey.

References
Alagaraja, M. 2010. Lean Thinking as Applied to the Adult Education
Environment. Int.J. Human Resources Development and
Management. Vol 10, 51-62
Blossom,
P.
2009.
Brief
History
of
Lean.(Online)
(http://leanpracticecoach.com/brief-history-of-lean/,
retrieved
03 May 2010)
Boone, E. 2010. Going Lean. ABI/INFORM Global, February: pg. 102.

Sunday Noya

Capsule Summaries of Key Lean Concepts. Brookline: Lean


Enterprise Institute.
Flumerfelt, S. 2008. Lean Thinking for Schools: Learning to Identify
Value and Eliminate Waste. Education Report. (Online)
(http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?id=9674
, retrieved 30 March 2010 )
Industrial Technology Centre. 2005, Lean Education? Good Idea!.
Advanced Manufacturing News, 18 March. Vol IV; Issue 6 : pg.
1.
Lean is a Practice, not a Theory. Brookline: Lean Enterprise Institute.
(Online)
(www.lean.org/The%20Gold%20Mine%20q%20and%20a.doc,
retrieved 04 April 2010)
Salewsky, A & Klein, V. 2009. How to Launch Lean in a University.
Minnesota: University of Minnesota
Sayer, N. J., William, B., 2007. Lean for Dummies. New York: John
Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Standard, C., 1999. Running Todays Factory: A Proven Strategy for
Lean Manufacturing. Cincinati: Hanser Gardner Publication.
Wakabayashi, D. 2010. The Toyota Recall: How Lean Manufacturing
Can Backfire. Wall Street Journal, 30 January: pg. B.5.
Womack, J. P., Jones, D. T., Roos, D., 1990. The Machine that
Changed the World. New York: HarperCollins.
Ziskovsky, B. & Ziskovsky, J. 2007. Doing More with Less Going
Lean in Education. Lean Education Enterprises, Inc.