lean foundations

Looking to begin a  solid  and  sustainable  lean journey? While others focus on teaching tools, we believe that lean journeys are only successful when they begin by establishing common thinking within an organizational culture. Our Lean Foundations course has been carefully designed to dispel many of the myths associated with lean and introduce the four rules and five principles that align thinking organization-wide to aid in daily decision making and actions taken.

This course is grounded in lean thinking. As such, this course is appropriate for any organization or individual, regardless of the industry, organization size, roles, responsibilities, challenges or goals. Participants will be provided with practical application opportunities throughout the workshop and receive customized coaching from our experienced consultants to prepare them to transfer concepts and tools from the classroom to the real world.

Program facilitated by the Lean Learning Center.


Day 1:  Introducing Common Thinking

Day One begins by tackling many of the stereotypes associated with the terms “lean”, “lean manufacturing”, and “continuous improvement.” Once we’ve addressed these barriers, learners will be immersed into a team activity that shares a common goal – to produce high quality ATV vehicles in our  Lean Quad  simulation. Because each member becomes consumed with their individual role and responsibilities, each individual ends up pursuing the same goal in very different ways, leading to a variety of undesirable results. The remainder of Day One will focus on why this happens and will introduce four lean rules that will help the team objectively evaluate the process design rather than rely on individual experiences and opinions. Participants will learn to establish a common and complete understanding of the process through mapping.

Day 2:  Identifying Wastes and Lean Tools

Day Two focuses on the seven wastes that often creep into processes. Teams will be provided with the opportunity to identify wastes embedded within the first round of the  Lean Quad  process and the impact that each waste had on the team. Learners will then be introduced to a few of the most common lean tools that can be used to improve process performance, such as 5S and visual management. Learners will have identified many opportunities present within their Lean Quad teams, but will need help in narrowing down their focus, so we will explore structured problem solving to ensure deliberate and aligned collaboration.

Day 3:  Taking Action

Day Three begins with teams using structured experimentation to improve their  Lean Quadperformance. Teams will then execute their improvement ideas using their redesigned  Lean Quad  processes. We will then compare their round one performance against their round two performance and show the opportunities addressed from their principles and rules analysis. Learners will explore a structured method to identify lessons learned from their simulation. Day Three will conclude with the development of individual action plans that define specific steps that learners are prepared to take to move the lean journey forward upon their return and identify potential implementation hurdles anticipated and receive customized coaching on techniques that can be used to prevent progress from being derailed.


Tuesday, July 9, Wednesday July 10, and Thursday, July 11, 2024 (in-person)


8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Lean Learning Center




MSU HR building, 1407 S. Harrison Road in East Lansing, Suite 10*


*MSU HR Organization and Professional Development follows all applicable state and public health guidance and university-wide directives. If deemed necessary or advisable, course locations and formats are subject to change. In the event of a change, notice will be communicated via email.