Hands-On Lean Training with a Mobile Learning Lab

Hands-On Lean Training with a Mobile Learning Lab

Developed during the second half of the 20th century, the Toyota Production System (TPS) is one of the most celebrated methods for quickly identifying and correcting issues that could lead to faulty production. It has benefited from years of continuous improvement which allow for increased quality and efficiency while eliminating waste. Since its inception, TPS has been studied, adapted, and put to use worldwide—not just by manufacturers, but by all types of businesses who want to perform more effectively.

In coaching lean methodology, it’s been found that hands-on training works best for explaining the fundamentals of the Toyota Production System. Now our BA Science team has found the ideal method to offer this type of training directly. Their Mobile Learning Lab setup, which was debuted in a sold-out training session at the 2019 LCI Congress, allows a team of three expert facilitators to offer in-person training for 10-21 staff members right in their place of business or at a project site.

BA Science team member and former Toyota teammate Michael Oswald leads the group through the Mobile Learning Lab at the 2019 LCI Congress.

The Mobile Learning Lab is a unique training course that combines classroom instruction with experiential learning. The BA Science team’s method provides a deeply engaging opportunity to learn through cycles of team problem solving and improvement by building a widget on our mobile assembly line. Through this hands-on process, students learn lean concepts like balancing work, the Eight Wastes, Standard Work, and flow, and then put that learning into immediate practice.

Students working on the mobile assembly line as part of the training.

The training method relies on an instructional version of the Deming Cycle: each segment follows a PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) format. Students learn new lean concepts, divide into teams to plan for assembly, apply their plan on the assembly line, and reconvene to reflect on the experience.  Students then enter into further cycles of problem solving with additional opportunities to put their improvements in place on the line.

The full Lab experience takes place over a nine-hour day, including breaks and lunch. BA Science provides the assembly line rig (including the line, palettes, widget, and tools necessary for assembly), hard hats, safety glasses, training materials, and other needed office supplies.

All that’s required from participants is a space for instruction with seating for students and a projector and screen, and a separate 500-sq. ft. clear space with a minimum dimension of 20 ft. and three tables (minimum size: 3 ft. x 3 ft.),  for setting up the assembly line.

Click here for a video of students in action on the assembly line.

For more information, contact rnickerson@boulderassociates.com.