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Lean Operations Design and Management


“Lean”, as a concept, gained wide popularity in the early 1990s partly as a result of a study undertaken by MIT to understand why Japanese companies were so much more successful than their Western counterparts in competing in the auto motive sector. Since then there has been a proliferation of “lean initiatives” often focussing on the adoption of tools and techniques intrinsic to the Toyota Production System and occasionally seeking to apply “lean thinking” to processes and sectors outside of the “medium variety / low order size” manufacturing environment typical of the auto motive sector. The driving force behind these “initiatives” is often to reduce the cost base through the removal of waste.

The latest thinking, however, is that it is insufficient to “lean out” isolated parts of the organisation and a supply chain view, which includes suppliers and customers, should be taken (a “lean” enterprise) with a different approach to supplier relationship management.

This module examines the principles, techniques, key tools of “Lean” and how they might apply in a variety of processes and sectors. The strategic importance of creating “lean enterprise” is explored as well as the challenges associated with achieving and sustaining this.


Upon successful completion participants will be able to:

  1. Compare and discuss the pros and cons of a Lean approach with non-lean approaches in one or more sectors.
  2. Select appropriate tools and techniques to support the design and management of lean operations.
  3. Develop Lean concepts for new or existing operations.
  4. Critically evaluate how “Lean Thinking” challenges the management and leadership of operations within and between business partners.


  • The Evolution of Lean
  • Framework for Lean Thinking
  • Creating a Lean Enterprise
  • Illustrations of Lean in different sectors
  • Lean implementation
  • Lean tools and techniques


3,500 words assignment (100% weighting)


1 week

This is an elective module on MSc International Technology Management.

Please note: the details of this module are correct for the current year of study and may be subject to change for future years.