Lean Enterprise Excellence Group

Centres And GroupsLean Enterprise Excellence Group

Lean Enterprise Excellence Group


The advancement of a national ecosystem in Lean that combines education, research, practice, and knowledge exchange to facilitate a research-informed and knowledge-led community of learning and practice deliver value to the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of Irish organisations.

This ecosystem being a catalyst for the creation of competence and capability in Lean enterprise, operational, and process excellence that assists in enabling and sustaining cultures of continuous improvement across all sectors.


The Lean Enterprise Excellence Group seeks to develop high quality and actionable research that advances the literature on continuous improvement and lean thinking and practice, and that can be applied within public and private organisations and across all services and manufacturing sectors to enable and sustain lean enterprise excellence. Areas of interest include: continuous improvement; lean; process, operational, and enterprise excellence; change management; employee engagement; behaviours; supply/demand/value chain management; and related areas.


The Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is led by co-founders Darrin Taylor and Aidan Walsh, and involves a number of faculty who lecture and/or research in areas related to lean and continuous improvement.

The Group is part of the WIT Business School and the RIKON-WIT Research Centre. It is supported by Professor Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business, and has as its senior advisor Professor Peter Hines, Visiting Professor at the WIT Business School.


We contribute to a national state-industry-academia community of learning and practice that encourages a collaborative approach to continuous improvement, lean management, process thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and value creation. Through individual autonomy, collegiality, and industry and state engagement, each faculty member, researcher, and student is given the opportunity to develop themselves as practitioners and researchers, and to make contributions to lean thinking and practice regionally, nationally, and internationally.


Passion & Commitment - We encourage passion and commitment through inclusiveness, creativity, professionalism, and leadership.
Collegiality - We promote teamwork and assume collective and individual responsibility in sharing knowledge and expertise in the region, the country, and internationally.
Openness - We foster an open and pioneering spirit of enquiry and intellectual curiosity.
Achievement - We aim to optimise the impact of our teaching and research for the advancement of the Irish economy and society, in addition to the personal and professional development of oursleves and our colleagues and students.
Citizenship - We enable an atmosphere of respect, inclusion, support, empowerment, honesty, integrity, and continuous improvement in all we do.
Excellence - We strive to develop researchers and practitioners that are thought leaders in their field.



A key objective of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is to develop high quality and actionable research that advances the literature on continuous improvement and lean thinking and practice, and that can be applied within public and private organisations, and across all services and manufacturing sectors, enabling those organisations sustain their lean initiaitves and continuous improvement culture.

We seek to develop research in: continuous improvement; lean; process, operational, and enterprise excellence; change management; employee engagement; behaviours; supply/demand/value chain management; and related areas.

If you would like to discuss research opportunities with us please email [email protected].

Lean Enterprise & Operational Excellence Programme Portfolio

The WIT Business School offers a portfolio of executive/practitioner education programmes that have been developed by the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group in collaboration with industry.

These programmes are designed to meet identified industry needs for discrete knowledge, know-how, and skills in continuous improvment and lean enterprise/operational/process excellence in public and private organisations, and across all services and manufacturing sectors.

The programmes also cater for employees at different levels within organisations, and at different stages in the employee lifecycle. Thus we have developed a Masters (Level 9), a Higher Diploma (Level 8), and a Diploma (Level 7). Separately, we also have PhD (Level 10) candidates researching in the area.

Given the applied nature of Lean, and given the breadth and depth of experience within our programme participants, we place a particularly strong emphasis on peer and experiential learning. This is highly-valued by our students, and it is enbaled via our class-contact approach and extensive student interactions, engagement, and collaboration throughout the duration of the programmes. 

In addition to examining the "Hard" elements (Lean tools and techniques, operational and business analytics, process excellence methodologies, and project management), a distinctive aspect of our programmes from those elsewhere is that our participants attain an appreciation for wider organisational contexts and cross-sectoral applications, services and manufacturing orientations, plus the critical “Soft" elements of Lean.

Our ethos and approach is aligned to the Shingo Model and Approach, as well as to the Toyota Production System and the Toyota Way. We examine and synthesise the principles, systems, culture, and behaviours integral to Lean enterprise excellence. Our students examine Lean philosophy and thinking; Lean leadership; Lean strategy and hoshin kanri; systems thinking and the learning organisation; employee engagement; change management and cultural transformation; and lean coaching and communications.

All of our programmes use an integrated learning approach that encompasses traditional lectures; case studies; in-class discussions; ICT practicals; site visits; guest speakers; live-laboratory projects; and all supported by Moodle, WIT's virtual learning environment.

Our programmes are:

Lean Practitioner Seminar Series

The Lean Practitioner Seminar Series brings together Lean and CI practitioners with the purpose of sharing experience, knowledge, expertise, and best practices. Such industry-academia and intra-industry collaboration has been hugely well-received as it enables those practicing CI and Lean in public and private organisations, and across all services and manufacturing sectors, to meet on a regular basis and exchange their applied knowledge and experiences with their industry peers.

Aidan Walsh, Co-Director of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, notes that "When we as educators engage with executives in facilitating their learning in lean principles and practice, we are most struck by their enthusiasm and passion for learning, and their willingness to share their knowledge with others. The Lean Practitioner Seminar Series has been designed to harness these attributes and provide a regular mechanism wherein Lean and CI practitioners can engage with each other to deepen their understanding of lean concepts and approaches, and through dialogue heighten their knowledge of lean enterprise, operational, and process excellence".

The Lean Practitioner Seminar Series is hosted at the WIT Arena as a series of free monthly events during the academic year. Places are limited, and attendance is strictly by booking only - bookings can be made via eventbrite.

Please see below the schedule for the WIT Lean Practitioner Seminar Series 2017-2018.


Annual WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum

Thursday the 3rd of May 2018

For further information please visit www.witleanforum.com

The 6th Annual WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum will be held at the WIT Arena, West Campus, Carriganore, Waterford.

The Annual WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum has grown to become one of the leading Lean conferences in Europe. This Industry-Academia-State event is a free all-day conference focused on cutting-edge developments in Lean management thinking and practice, continuous improvement, and organisational and service excellence. It provides a key knowledge exchange and networking opportunity for Irish organisations of all sizes that are adopting, or seeking to adopt, Lean thinking and practice in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace.


Annual Lean Research Symposium

The Annual Lean Research Symposium is a forum for our Lean Masters students to deliver poster presentations detailing their research topics and findings to-date.

This event is attended by the Head of School of Business, Head of Department of Graduate Business, Lecturers and Research Supervisors, Lean Masters students, other postgraduate students, and specially invited guests. The event is chaired by Professor Peter Hines who reviews each Poster with the students. It provides opportunities for students to showcase their Lean research as well as being a networking opportunity for students across the postgraduate business portfolio.

Aidan Walsh, Co-Director of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, notes that:

"Lean only works through collaboration, engagement, honest dialogue, trust, and respect. The Annual Lean Research Symposium affords our student community the opportunity to share their research and experiences of that research with their  lecturers, peers, and fellow students. By engaging in a collaborative dialogue about their research this not only validates their work to date but also enables them use the feedback received to enhance their research output and receive recognition for the valuable research they are undertaking".

Industry-Academia-State Collaboration

The Lean Enterprise Excellence Group has developed strong and extensive relationships with public and private organisations from across all manufacturing and services sectors throughout Ireland and abroad, as well as with industry representative bodies and State agencies.

Such Industry-Academia-State engagement and collaboration is integral to the work of this Group, and it is hugely beneficial to our Faculty, our Students, to our Partner Organisations, and ultimately to Ireland Inc.

Such engagement and collaboration includes the following:

National Strategic Contributions: We play key and leading roles at national level. Darrin Taylor, co-founder and co-director of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, is a member of the Lean Business Ireland Leadership Group which includes representatives from Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, IBEC, various Captains of Industry, other HEIs, and Consultants. Darrin is also a member and vice-chair of Lean Construction Ireland's Leadership Group and was inaugural Chair of Lean Construction Ireland's Education, Training, Developent Forum. Darrin is also an advisor to the nascent Professional Association for lean and enterprise excellence trainers and consultants.

Gemba Assignments: students on our programmes are afforded opportunities in live-laboratory projects to examine, analyse, and present findings on real-world problems in our partner organisations, and those organisations then adopt and adapt the countermeasures presented to improve their operations.

Guest Speakers: experienced Lean & CI practitioners and subject matter experts from exemplary organisations regularly deliver guest presentations throughout the academic year.

Site Visits: our students enjoy a number of site visits to SMEs and Irish-based Multinationals, from both the services and the manufacturing sectors, and which are at various stages in their respective lean journeys.

Lean Practitioner Seminar Series: contributors deliver tutorials and workshops to an audience of fellow industry practitioners on focused issues, themes, and sectors.

Annual Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum Presenters: keynote presentations and breakout sessions are delivered by experienced practitioners and subject matter experts from Ireland and abroad.

World-Renowned Visiting Professor

The WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is honoured to have Professor Peter Hines as Visiting Professor at the WIT Business School. Professor Hines is a world-renowned thought leader in lean, academic, practitioner, global consultant, award-winning author, and Senior Certified Shingo Facilitator. In addition to contributing to the research strategy of the Group, Professor Hines further enhances our extensive and deep industry engagement and collaboration that forms a core part of the Group’s activities as we collectively endeavour to enable and sustain enterprise excellence throughout Irish business.

Further Information

James Herbert, Lean & Operational Excellence Team, Boston Scientific Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

“The Higher Diploma in Business in Operational Excellence at WIT has proven very beneficial to both Boston Scientific Clonmel and our employees. The mix of Lean, Quality, and Project Management fundamentals has skilled our employees to meet the dynamic and challenging needs of our business.

The students’ project work has provided significant returns to the company in Value Improvement Projects (VIP). The course itself relative to other degree programs provided substantial additional savings on educational cost estimated at a 1/3 of the normal spend. The 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 student projects have collectively provided a Return Of Investment (ROI) greater than 4 times the investment. However the biggest win for Boston Scientific was tapping into the internal potential with >80% of graduates from the first two years being promoted and taking on new roles within the organisation.

While the year-long program has been challenging for our employees in relation to work, study, and life balance, they have been enthusiastic and passionate about their learning and have grown both in knowledge and confidence.

Boston Scientific Clonmel was delighted to be involved in the development and continued support of this program, as is represented by the significant number of employees enrolling each year.”

Michael Healy (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2015), (former) GM, Nutriscience Ireland, Waterford.

“It is difficult to put a value on my experience with WIT, except to say that without it I hate to think of what I would have missed out on, both professionally and personally, had I not engaged in it. Having been successfully brought through my MBA in 2008 with no former primary degree, just twenty odd years of experience, and the support and skillset of the WIT team, it opened up an inexplicable desire to engage in another program, namely the MBS in Lean Practice in 2013. Again, although a different team this time around, WIT's core values ensured that the experience would yet again be life and career changing, and certainly achievable but not without hard work on my behalf to match the dedication and hard work shown by WIT.

The finished result of both Masters allow me to develop a high level perspective across my organization using my MBA skillset, and then my MBS tools allow me to drill down into core issues to define root cause and apply critical thinking. Obviously both the programs were very different in their content and requirements but with a common WIT theme of being well-developed, wide-ranging but in-depth, delivered to a very high standard, and most importantly aligned with industry. The latter point meaning that a WIT graduate can confidently and effectively go into industry and create real change for the better through understanding and innovation. Most people can rhetorically define change management and the challenges surrounding it; WIT provide the mindset and tools to achieve it.

From an industry perspective, as GM of Nutriscience I also had the experience of the impact of the Gemba assignment model whereby WIT students came into our organisation in different groups to work on some operational challenges we had within the organisation. The result was of the quality that I would expect from a professional consultant had we engaged one. The first year was very much operational based with some outstanding solutions provided, whilst in the second year we engaged in a different challenge as we wanted the students to define value from our customers’ perspectives and to look at rationalising our packaging without reducing our offering. Again we got really innovative solutions that any consultancy firm would be justifiably proud of.

A final word about the WIT staff, in particular Darrin Taylor and Aidan Walsh, but also across WIT, the level of support and energy they give, the lengths that they go to provide contemporary management paradigm learnings, and the high standards that they elicit, are very obvious in a WIT Post Graduate. Whilst they are academics, also of note is their comfort in an industry environment which is evidence of their true understanding of not only industry, but the link required from academia to industry for their graduate students to transition and achieve rewarding careers thereafter.”

Noel Hennessy, (former) Continuous Improvement Director, Lake Region Medical, New Ross, Co. Wexford.

“The value that Lake Region Medical (LRM) places on WIT’s Master of Business in Lean Practice program is best reflected in the fact that since the program was first launched each class has included a representative from the company. In LRM, while we might be on our lean journey for over twelve years, the simple fact is that most of the work being carried out daily still does not in reality add any value. All our WIT lean students have one thing in common: they are incredibly passionate about identifying and eliminating non-value activities in order to increase customer value and ensure the long-term sustainability of the New Ross operation, and they apply their newly acquired learning to do just that. I’ve witnessed at first-hand how their knowledge of lean has increased and the perspective they bring to the lean journey conversation gained from their academic research has in fact helped to shape our company enterprise excellence strategy. On a personal note I have seen how our graduates’ confidence in their own abilities, the contribution they make to our company, and the career goals they set for themselves grow as the course progresses.

The Lean Program Directors Darrin Taylor and Aidan Walsh are also to be congratulated on extending the awareness and promotion of lean beyond the Lean graduate group with the creation of a community of learning and practice via the Annual WIT Lean Forum, and the ongoing Lean Practitioner Seminar Series. The opportunity for organizations to hear nationally and internationally recognized Lean organizations in WIT speak about their experiences is invaluable, as is getting to visit lean exemplars in the region. At Lake Region Medical we are very proud to be associated with WIT’s Lean Program. We believe it to be the embodiment of all that is best about industry-academia collaboration, and the knowledge exchange that occurs serves both organisations very well and contributes to the sustainability of excellence and economic growth in our region and nationally.” 

Donnacha O'Kane, (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Project Champion – Global Respiratory R & D, TEVA Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Waterford.

"The Master of Business in Lean Practice is a flexibly-delivered programme that very successfully integrates academic and practical delivery. A key benefit to this programme is the practical real-world engagement. I had a particular interest in implementing the lean philosophy and the implications for traditional management accounting information. The outcome provided enhanced levels of learning and strategic thinking with immediate organisational benefits in terms of knowledge, skills, and know-how.  But ultimately it was the opportunity to apply my existing skillset coupled with those skills learned on the MBS Lean Practice programme in my own workplace that has proved most rewarding. The course format was flexible enough to allow me to honour my work commitments while gaining the qualification. I would not hesitate in recommending the MBS Lean Practice programme at WIT Business School."

Terence Bates (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Lean Coach, Lake Region Medical - an Integer company, New Ross, Co. Wexford.

“The only way I can describe my experience of the Masters in Lean Practice Programme is that it has been life changing. As a person without a primary degree I entered the programme with a high level of trepidation as to my ability to complete the course. However I was soon put at ease by a helpful and highly engaged team of lecturers who have helped me not alone to broaden and change my thinking, but also to increase my confidence in my own ability. The structure and content of the course is highly applicable for any individual seeking to understand not just the tools and systems of lean, but also its underpinning philosophy.  As the course progressed I began to adopt a more systemic style of thinking, viewing problems as opportunities for improvement and then deploying the right tool as required to solve point of occurrence problems. The content of this course is highly applicable in today’s rapidly changing market place, giving graduates the ability to recognise value, engage, and listen to the true voice of the customer in order to grow the business.”

John O’Mahoney (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014).

“In the course of a career in sales, training and HR consultancy I came to realise that the majority of organisational difficulties I encountered could be attributed to inadequate or absent systems of management. I decided to act on this and sought out a suitable Masters programme, investigating the offerings available from a range of third level institutions.  

I was aware of the excellent reputation of the WIT Business School, and on researching the content and structure of the MBS in Lean Practice programme I decided it was the Masters programme most likely to further my career. The MBS in Lean Practice did not disappoint, with the course design well-balanced between academic content and industry-based experiential learning. The group dynamic that allowed students to learn from each other’s experience was expertly facilitated by the programme directors. The network of industry contacts the programme directors have constructed has been invaluable, assisting me in my academic achievement and career progression. The course lecturers maintained an approachable and collaborative atmosphere and were available to guide but not dictate the students' learning experience.  I would not hesitate to recommend the MBS in Lean Practice programme to those interested in their personal and professional development.”

Cathy Mullins (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Lean Coach, Sanofi, Waterford.

"The Masters in Lean Practice at WIT was a very challenging but beneficial experience for me. The programme itself was very rounded, and covered a wide range of relevant business topics - but all geared towards the dynamic of working in a Lean environment. The structure allowed me to participate in such a programme whilst also working full-time, and it was very flexible in this regard. It also presented many networking opportunities and invaluable opportunities to learn from class colleagues who had wide-ranging experience from other companies in the South East region and further afield. The qualification I obtained allowed me to advance my career in Lean, and I now work as a Lean Coach."

Ian Gourlay, (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Lean Programme Leader, RigneyDolphin & RelateCare, Waterford.

"The MBS in Lean Practice offers participants the opportunity to develop and broaden their knowledge and skills in the area of Lean philosophy and thinking via a wholly relevant, stimulating, and varied course syllabus. The course is structured to fit in with a busy executive timetable and is closely aligned and integrated with organisations already promoting 'best practice' Lean techniques, which creates a collaborative approach to learning. The programme facilitates networking both with peers and also the broader arena of industry professionals throughout the course, whilst also providing the opportunity to attend Lean enterprise workshops and forums throughout the year."

Pat Logan, (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Operational Excellence Site Leader, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Waterford.

“I found the Master of Business in Lean Practice to be a challenging but rewarding experience. There was a good balance between the exploration of Lean theories, models and frameworks, and the practical application of Lean tools and techniques. The course was delivered in a flexible format suitable for Industry by lecturers who were very supportive and passionate about the material which they delivered. In addition to developing critical thinking, the Masters program provided the skills and knowledge to successfully design, develop, and implement Lean practices in industry today. For many of the modules, group project work was used and this provided the opportunity for great learning, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities. A key strength of the course was the opportunity to collaborate with local companies in the area and witness first-hand their approach to Lean and continuous improvement. For me this was experiential learning at its best.”


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Lean Enterprise Excellence Group,

School of Business,

Waterford Institute of Technology,

Cork Road,



Darrin Taylor Aidan Walsh
051-834129 051-845631 
[email protected] [email protected]


[email protected]