Can Lean Manufacturing Be Applied to University Laboratories?


Lean manufacturing focuses on eliminating waste and improving flow using techniques such as value stream mapping, standard work, 5S, single minute exchange of dies, and visual management. This paper presents a case study to show the value of creating and facilitating student learning in lean manufacturing in the university environment. This case study implemented lean manufacturing principles to a university rapid manufacturing laboratory. The approach begins with the application of value stream mapping to identify gaps between the current and future state maps. Lean techniques were then implemented to achieve the future state map. These projects have facilitated experiential learning through “Hear, See, and Do” cycle by bridging the gap between academia and industry via learning modules in lean manufacturing education. It not only benefits students working on the lean project as a practical learning experience, but also acts as a lean manufacturing education show case to students on campus.

Meeting Name

2007 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (2007: Jun. 24-27, Honolulu, HI)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Lean Manufacturing; Manufacturing Laboratory

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2007 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2007