How Lean principles can be applied to the development process of educational programs?

Ricardo Codinhoto, Mohan Siriwardena

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Lean is an approach to improving business processes such as production. The overall objective of lean principles is to reduce waste and increase value. These principles have been developed and successfully applied within Toyota’s product development and production processes since the 1950s. The benefits brought from the application of these principles have been investigated by academia and practitioners. Due to its successful results, the knowledge gathered is gradually being adapted and applied in different contexts such as construction, healthcare and education (Shingo, 1989).
Lean has been mainly associated with the improvement of production processes. However, Toyota has applied the Lean principles within the whole organisation. The results have been widely disseminated and Toyota is recognised as being the more profitable car maker company in the world. The substantial reduction of the production time is one of the recognised achievements of Toyota. Other achievement, for instance, relates to the reduction of the time to market, which is the result of the faster car making product development process. Through the use of lean managerial principles, Toyota has increased its competitiveness.
The lessons learnt from Toyota are now widely spread around the world. Lean is currently undergoing a process of generalisation, associated to the development of a theory‐based body of knowledge. The insight that the generic knowledge of lean principles has to be translated to match the requirements of the application context has grown in importance (Koskela, 2000).
The penetration of explicit lean knowledge into service‐based industries has been, until recently, very modest. Initial studies and pioneering implementation projects have shown that the utilisation of Lean principles can give manifest benefits in terms of cost, value, client satisfaction and work motivation (De Vries et al., 1999; Lillrank et al. 2004; Sobek II and Jimmerson, 2004).
Considering the underlying assumption of using lean principles for processes improvement, the aim of this research is to investigate how to apply lean principles to the development process of educational programs (theoretical contribution) and how the implementation of these principles can improve the development process of educational programs (practical contribution). Therefore, this research proposal is based on mapping the referred development process and identifying different types of waste, such as over‐production; waiting; transporting; inventory; movement, inappropriate processing; defects proposed by Ohno (1988).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Salford
Commissioning bodyUniversity of Salford
Number of pages48
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


  • Lean Construction
  • Education


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