Business in Lean Practice

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Master of Business in Lean Practice is a 2 year part time course in Waterford Institute Technology.

The Master of Business in Lean Practice is a flexibly-delivered programme aimed at providing participants with the requisite knowledge, skills, and know-how in lean enterprise excellence so that they can add value within a modern competitive manufacturing or services environment. The first year focuses on lean philosophy and a lean strategic approach, and the programme explores mechanisms for improving the operations of a business through lean initiatives and continuous improvement projects, with key emphasis on the employees, the customer, and on quality.

In parallel to a thorough examination of lean tools and techniques and lean business analytics, our approach crucially, and distinctively, focuses on the critical role of people in designing and delivering lean initiatives. This is consistent with the lean pillar of respect for people, and we pay particular attention throughout to the critical ‘soft side’, employee engagement, and organisational culture issues of lean.

Another key programme feature is the practical real-world engagement with industry via guest speakers, plant visits, and applied live-laboratory assignments. In the latter, student teams examine live problems being experienced by particular companies and apply lean tools and techniques to analyse and understand those problems, and present recommendations to improve processes, reduce waste, and bring real gains to those companies.

The second year involves students undertaking a single module in research methods and techniques during the first semester. Students go on to engage in self-directed learning, supported by their assigned faculty supervisor, to research and write-up their dissertations on their chosen area of interest. The WIT School of Business Annual Lean Research Symposium provides Masters students with an opportunity to present their research in a scholastic and collegial environment.

This symposium provides a platform wherein differing perspectives on lean thinking and research can be discussed and openly reflected on. This proves invaluable to the Masters cohort as they refine and progress their research activities. The symposium is open to all Lean Practice students, research supervisors, and specially invited guests.

If a student does not wish to complete the Masters by undertaking the research components in the second year, and instead wishes to exit after the first year, they may do so by choosing to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Lean Practice. The latter programme being 60 Credits at Level 9. (Note that the decision to exit with this Postgraduate Diploma is irreversible, and thus one could not return at a later date to complete the Master of Business in Lean Practice.)


Programme Objectives

In essence it is intended to provide students with knowledge, skills, and insight in lean philosophy and practice so that they can play a significant role in any organisation pursuing, or planning to pursue, a Lean Strategy. The objectives listed here reflect an identified skills gap:

  • To immerse students in lean thinking and its application in a wide range of business contexts.
  • To give students a broad base of business skills and knowledge that can be used to advance their ability with respect to the application of lean principles.
  • To inculcate systems thinking, as well as creative thinking and innovative ability, to engender cross-functional and silo-free perspectives.
  • To develop the leadership and communications skills of individuals that combine to add value to organisations pursuing the adoption of lean strategies.
  • To evaluate the essential role and importance of people, and soft skills, in lean.
  • To provide critical insight into operational excellence in production and service provision across a range of industrial contexts.
  • To apply knowledge of lean tools and techniques that will enable the student’s ability to design, deliver, and evaluate lean initiatives.
  • To provide a mechanism for the professional development of individuals in an organisational change context.


The WIT School of Business Annual Lean Forum attracts in excess of 250 delegates from a multitude of organisations throughout the region and nationally to see presentations by industry and academic experts, participate in applied breakout and workshop sessions, and generally network with peers and colleagues about lean enterprise excellence and continuous improvement. This industry and academia forum is critical to enable the sharing and transfer of knowledge as it relates to contemporary theory and practice on lean enterprise excellence, and provides all parties with an invaluable networking opportunity.

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Business in Lean Practice
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Business in Lean Practice
  • By Aisling Cusack
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