Lean Manufacturing

Principles of lean manufacturing are introduced that provide a systematic process for identifying and eliminating non-value activities (waste) in production processes. Students learn these principles through a series of mini-projects in the mechanical engineering shop, an all-day factory simulation workshop, and tours to local industry.

Course Materials and Resources

Week 1 - Introduction to Lean Thinking and ME Shop

Day Lecture Laboratory Homework
  1. Course Goals and Syllabus
  2. Role of Engineering Logbooks
  3. Mass Production vs.
    Lean Enterprise System
  4. Lean Manufacturing Overview
  5. Plant Layout Models
  6. All I Need to Know about Manufacturing I Learned in Joe's Garage  



Shop Introduction:


Block Project:

Machine Plan Template:

1.  Include at least one photo and annotation in your logbook each day that describes something interesting you did or learned in the shop.

2.  Read Joe's Garage and select four terms from the lean building blocks diagram that are well-illustrated in Joe's Garage.  Define and explain each of these terms using examples from Joe's Garage.

3.  In preparation for the block project: a) review the part drawings,
b) find information on the following items in the Machine Shop portion of the Mindworks website, and
c) outline a process how you might fabricate each part.

  • lathe parts/operation
  • mill parts/operation
  • edge finder
  • endmills
  • taps/dies
  • boring bar
  • chamfer/deburring tools
  • fits/tolerances
  • machining plans
  1. Discussion of Joe’s Garage
  2. House of Lean Terms
  3. Types of Waste
  4. Introduction to 5S

Shop team formation
Group A: Mill Project
Group B: Lathe Project

1.  Identify four concepts from the glossary of Joe’s Garage that are illustrated in the shop or design suite.  Explain each concept and give a detailed description how each concept is implemented.

2.  Create manufacturing plan for mill and lathe portions of block project (to be updated during the project).

  1. Lean Methodology
  2. Lean Building Blocks
  3. Kaizen Methodology
  4. The 5 Whys
  5. Fishbone Diagrams
  6. Spaghettis Diagrams
  7. 5S Audit Scorecard
  8. Kaizen Projects



Group A: Mill Project
Group B: Lathe Project

Kaizen Projects:

1.  Prepare for Kaizen Project Work:
a) review ASEE Presentation (PDF, PPT) on just in time resources for project learning,
b) review ASEE paper on QR code development for ME shop, and
c) examine just-in-time shop learning resources on the Machine Shop webpage  as well as the Mindworks Shoutwiki site.

2.  Compose a logbook analysis that:
a) defines the current state surrounding your kaizen project, and
b) defines a credible and value-added future state/goal that can be achieved by your Kaizen team by course end.

3.  Identify resources and begin project learning for Kaizen projects.

  1. Value Stream Mapping
  2. Present State Map
  3. Process Improvement Strategies
  4. Takt Time
  5. Future State Map
  6. Preparation for Factory Simulation Workshop
Group A: Mill Project
Group B: Lathe Project

1.  Generate manufacturing plan for 2nd half of the Block Project.

2.  Create and analyze Present State map for the boat factory. Include as much process information as possible. Identify at least two lean concepts that could be implemented in a future state.

  1. No Lecture
    AM LAB 8:30-noon
    PM LAB 1:00-4:30
    Meet in GJ112

Factory Simulation


1.  Construct a Future State Map based on the final iteration of the boat factory simulation.

2.  Discuss discoveries/lessons learned from lean workshop.

3.  Analyze statistics from the boat factory simulation:

Week 2 - Apply Lean Concepts in Shop, CAD Lab, and Kaizen Projects

Day Lecture Laboratory Homework
  1. Workshop Debrief
  2. Planning for logbook and Kaizen project review
  3. All that Matters About Quality I Learned in Joe's Garage
  4. Work Cell Design and Setup Reduction
Exchange block parts(with complementary team, i.e. mill team exchanges with lathe team) and analyze tolerances.

Group A: Lathe Project
Group B: Mill Project

Kaizen Projects:

1.  Kaizen Project Work

2.  Complete a Logbook Review Form (all portions) and tape it into your logbook.  Bring your logbook to class.

3.  Bring to class copies of key elements of your kaizen project work to date (logbook notes, reference material, and a completed Feedback Form) for display during the kaizen mid-project peer review.

4.  Document and discuss findings from block exchange. Consider the following in your discussion:

  • 3 Strengths (why)

  • 3 Improvements (how)

  • 3 Insights/Lessons Learned (so what)


  1. Logbook review activity
  2. Kaizen mid-project review
  3. Planning for tours


Group A: Lathe Project
Group B: Mill Project

Kaizen Project Prep

1.  Kaizen Project Work

2.  Block Project write-up due by 5 pm on Wednesday 5/25.

3.  Read pages 1-64 from All That Matters About Quality... In your logbook, answer the first batch of reflection questions by Friday.

  1. Discussion of All That Matters About Quality (batch 1)
  2. Planning for tours

    Day 11 Slides: Value
Group A: Lathe Project
   Kaizen Project Prep
Group B: Mill Project
   Kaizen Project Prep

Block Project Write-up
  due by 5 pm (place on
  a wooden table in
  design suite along with
  your hardware)

1.  Kaizen Project Work

2.  Read pages 65-130 from All That Matters About Quality.... In your logbook, answer the second batch of reflection questions.


Plant Tours:

 closed toed/heeled shoes

 no sandals/heels/boots

 long hair tied back

 long pants, no shorts 

 safety equip. provided 

 no pictures at SEL
 electronics off at SEL 

Tour Schedule:

 gather time: 8:15
 location: red lot 64B
 depart time: 8:30 am

 (9:00 to 11 AM)

 1 van stopping at UI

Clearwater Paper

 (1:30 to 4:30 PM)

 return to UI at ~5:15 PM


Tour Scavenger Hunt

1.  Kaizen Project Work

2.  Note context and discuss of scavenger hunt items.

3.  Formulate any outstanding questions that you would like to explore in tomorrow's debrief of the plant tours.


  1. Plant Tour Debrief
  2. Discussion of All That Matters About Quality (batch 2)
Final Project Descriptions
Final Project Score sheet

1.  Kaizen Project Work
2.  Final Project Work


Week 3 - Mini-Projects and End of Course Deliverables

Day Lecture Lab HW



  1. Review for exam
  • Takt Time
  • Internal/External Setup
  • Line Balancing
  • Poka-Yoke
  • Chaku Chaku
  • Heijunka Boards

Exam Prep Resources:

  • Lecture Slides
  • Lecture Notes
  • Distributed Texts
  • Plant Tour Notes
  • Factory Simulation Notes

Kaizen Project Work
Final Project Work

1. Use your logbook to synthesize your understanding of lean manufacturing concepts in preparation for the in-class exam:

  • House of Lean
  • Types of Waste
  • Plant Layouts
  • 5S Systems
  • Visual Controls
  • Kaizen Events
  • Value Stream Maps
  • Just-in-Time
  • Quality at the Source
  • Work Cell Design
  • Set-Up Reduction
  • Product Families
  1. In-Class Exam

Inventory remaining action items and implementation plans associated with Kaizen project and Final project

Kaizen Project Work
Final Project Work

1.  Kaizen Project Work

2.  Final Project Work

  1. Exam Recap
  2. Course Deliverables
  3. Course Assessment 
  4. Snapshot Preparation:
  • Kaizen Project Display
  • Final Project Display

Kaizen Project Work

Final Project Work

1.  Record insights from exam recap.

2.  Complete a summative Logbook Review Form looking back across the entire course.

3.  Kaizen Display (use foam core to pin up printouts and/or  display hardware on tables)

  • Current state description and analysis
  • Desired future state/goal
  • Physical or electronic product for others to explore (as appropriate)
  • NOTE: Review your display with a mentor, an instructor, and Russ before class

4. Final Project Display
   (PM teams to show work-in-progress
   if not complete)

  • Dimensioned Drawings
  • CAD Visualization
  • Manufacturing Plan
  • Hardware Artifact
  • Relevant Pictures
  • Relevant Discussion
  1. Block Project Display
  2. Kaizen Project Display
  3. Final Project Display

Final Work in Shop

Shop and Design Suite Clean-Up

Compilation of Course Deliverables


Final Project Score Sheet

Logbook Review Form

Kaizen Proj. Score Sheet

Course Deliverables by 5:00 pm

1. Kaizen Project:

  • Leave display out after Snapshot Event
  • Wiki pages must be approved by the Wiki mentors; address issues on your discussion page
  • Artifacts and drawing packages should be logged with Russ Porter
  • Files should be logged with Steve Beyerlein

2. Final Project

  • Leave out after Snapshot event

3. Personal Logbook

  • Place in milk crate within design suite