The Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Lean Practice has been designed to engender the skills and mindset necessary for successful application of Lean management in a business context. Developed with input from Lake Region Medical (which recently became the first company in Ireland and first medical device company in Europe to receive Shingo Accreditation) and other stakeholders the programme provides a flexible opportunity for those who are trying to balance work, life and learning. The programme is in its inaugural year, having commenced in August 2012. From the outset, partnership with industry has emerged as a central theme of the programme content.
In an innovative approach, links with two local industry partners, Hasbro Ireland and Genzyme Ireland – a Sanofi Company, have been established with a view to develop practical ways to deliver module content and to develop assignments with strong academic-practice engagement. Modules on Lean Quality, delivered by Mr Aidan Walsh, and Lean Operations I, delivered by Mr. Darrin Taylor, were chosen for this industry collaboration.
Hasbro Ireland engaged with the team to pose “real-world” problems that could be addressed by students. Problems, that have consistently proved challenging for Hasbro Ireland to solve, required students to engage in diverse activities such as Value Stream mapping, A3 problem solving, Strategic and Operation analysis, and process-based problem-solving. Students were required to analyse the problem at-hand, develop potential solutions, and offer recommendations to improve the process.
The engagement at Hasbro Ireland has been multi-faceted and involved the participation of the Operations Manager, the Materials and Procurement Manager, Master Scheduler and Technical Process Leaders. Hasbro Ireland facilitated a number of presentations, process walk-throughs, Q&A sessions, and access to regular management and scheduling meetings. A detailed plant tour was also provided demonstrating the use of Visual Management, Lean Principles, Poka-Yoke, and 5S practices. Areas that had undergone continuous improvement projects were also presented and discussed. Students were additionally provided comprehensive operational data and process metrics.
To fulfil an assessment component of both modules, students are required to deliver poster and PowerPoint presentations and DMAIC analysis in early January 2013; and as part of this process make recommendations to Hasbro Ireland management. It is envisaged that further problem-solving activities will be carried out in the second semester of the programme. Again these activities will form the basis of assessment projects in relation to two modules in the second semester.
Equally, the collaboration with Genzyme Ireland sought to gain an understanding of best corporate and operational practices in the Lean area. In recent years, Genzyme Ireland, has undertaken a successful lean deployment and agreed to share experiences and learning from these activities with the students. Martina Goldring, Lean Leader, and her colleagues on the Lean team facilitated a number of on-site lectures and a plant tour to students and academics. During this interaction students gained an appreciation of the application of Lean techniques such as A3 Problem-Solving, 5S and the use of Visual Management. The importance of strategic commitment, cultural transformation, and supporting human resources through lean coaching was also communicated in detail.
A highlight of the visits was a keynote address delivered by Genzyme Ireland’s Vice President and General Manager, Mr. Pat O’Sullivan, who discussed the strategic importance of lean to Genzyme Ireland and its central role to sustaining performance excellence and strategic innovation in their operation. Mr. O’Sullivan then engaged with the students in an interactive Q&A session to further discuss the intricacies of successful lean deployment. Such approaches will also form part of their learning and development in semester 2 of the course. Further details from Programme Leader: Dr Pio Fenton ([email protected]) or module co-ordinators, Mr Aidan Walsh ([email protected]) and Mr. Darrin Taylor ([email protected])