IIE Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference 2015
Join IIE


ELSS 2015 Program Committee

ELSS 2015 Conference Matrix

ELSS 2015 Session Descriptions

Build Your Must-Attend Itinerary

The IIE Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference will once again be held in collaboration with the Lean Educator Conference. To take best advantage of the opportunities for networking and peer learning presented by the joint conference, the tracks include industry topics (with a non-exclusive emphasis on practices in segments new to lean Six Sigma), academic topics (in both research and education), and a special call for joint academic/industry topics, including needs for new graduates, industry participation in learning in academia, and professional education and training.

Track Descriptions

The following track descriptions go into further detail about the topics and resources that attendees will be able to explore during the Engineering Lean & Six Sigma and Lean Educator Conference.

Lean Six Sigma Applications Track

These presentations share how Lean Six Sigma can be used to achieve world-class performance in a wide variety of applications and industries. However, new applications may require specialized process knowledge and careful selection and modification of Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques to be successful. Examples include:

  • Government – Governments at all levels are under intense pressure to use resources more efficiently. This track will present case studies and lessons learned that will allow for collaborative discussions and feedback from different perspectives among all practitioners.
  • Healthcare – Healthcare organizations are not new to quality and cost-control initiatives, but powerful lean Six Sigma tools are, in most organizations, only beginning to be applied. The purpose of this track is to share the fundamental challenges, success factors, and benefits in the implementation of lean Six Sigma tools and techniques in the context of healthcare.
  • Manufacturing – This session showcases how lean Six Sigma affects the manufacturing world to eliminate wastes of time, money, materials, energy, and other resources, as well as to eliminate waste due to variation and rework. It also includes how the challenges faced in the everyday application of lean and Six Sigma in manufacturing are identified, what was done to overcome those challenges, the business case for each challenge, and real world examples of implementations by those directly involved.
  • Retail – Retail is among the most competitive of businesses. Successful organizations need every advantage possible, including those provided by lean Six Sigma, to be profitable. Retail operates in a unique business environment where the customer has a direct influence on the retailers’ success. In this track case studies and lessons learned will benefit lean Six Sigma practitioners in the retail environment.
  • Logistics and Supply Chains – Today’s logistics & supply chain industry suffers from inefficiencies in freight movement, materials management, inventory control, quality sustainment, information management, and many other areas. Lean Six Sigma application in the supply chain sector has the potential to revolutionize this industry. This track will invite experts from various segments of the supply chain sector, who will share their successful lean Six Sigma implementation stories and know-hows’ with the conference participants.
  • Service Systems  Beyond healthcare and retail, there are numerous number service system environments, such as; food service, technical service, banking service, telecommunication service, repair services and other business services. This track is focused on the use and utilization of lean Six Sigma tools and methods for process and performance improvement. Since this has become a newly emerging application over the past several years, it will demonstrate how lean Six Sigma goes beyond manufacturing and production.
  • Case Studies – Case studies are stories with an educational message. A case is a description of an actual situation, commonly involving a decision, a challenge, an opportunity, a problem, or an issue faced by a person or persons in an organization. The decision-maker faced with the situation described in a case can choose between several alternative courses of action, and each of these alternatives may plausibly be supported by logical argument. In this track, lean practitioners will share real world cases of lean Six Sigma deployment and present in-depth analyses of the challenges faced and the results obtained.
  • Industry-Academia Collaborative Applications  This track presents an opportunity to discuss joint industry-academia application projects. Papers are invited to discuss findings, benefits and lessons learned through these collaborations.

Lean Six Sigma Research Track

Problem solving and process improvement research spans a wide array of techniques, concepts, and disciplines. There is increasing emphasis on cross-disciplinary approaches that address barriers to effective Lean Six Sigma implementation and long term sustainment through a culture of continuous improvement. This track will explore basic research with focus on clear and practical recommendations for improving the conceptualization, effective implementation, and sustainment of lean Six Sigma initiatives. Topics include:

  • Modeling and Simulation – Deming defines management as prediction. Managers of increasingly complex sociotechnical systems require effective means of predicting outcomes of proposed changes. More importantly, change managers need effective means of communicating proposed changes. This session invites papers that explore innovative approaches to modeling and simulation of lean Six Sigma systems.
  • Product and Service Development – The principles of waste reduction, value specification and optimization, as well as flow optimization and continuous improvement, are increasingly applied in knowledge work environments such as new product development and service operations (e.g., healthcare, banking, and related processes). This session invites papers that increase understanding of process specification, dynamics, and strategies for waste identification and reduction in new product development, service operations, and related information and human centered processes.
  • Systems and Process Design – Designing for lean Six Sigma is an effective means of incorporating the voice of the customer (value maximization) into the design of a system or process. There are several industry or organization specific approaches to designing for lean Six Sigma. This session invites papers that explore innovative approaches to translating customer needs into measurable design parameters within systems and/or process oriented applications.
  • Green and Sustainable Systems – The drive for accurate value specification and maximization in the context of waste elimination is common to Lean and sustainability research and practice. Lean practices like “visual workplace” are effective at implementing and monitoring environmental and societal performance of processes. This session invites papers that explore, clarify, and improve on strategies for applying lean Six Sigma concepts to enhance sustainability performance of processes and systems.
  • Creating and Sustaining a Lean Six Sigma Culture – A 2007 IndustryWeek survey suggested that more than 70 percent of lean implementation attempts result in failure. This rate of failure is often attributed to sole focus on tool implementation at the expense of cultural change. This session invites papers that explore strategies for introducing and maintaining a culture of Lean and continuous improvement. Consideration includes, but is not limited to, the integration of cross-disciplinary strategies for change management, conceptualization and learning, behavioral and related theories for sociotechnical systems management.
  • Performance Evaluation – Benchmarking, measurement, and timely feedback, are integral to implementation and management of controlled and capable systems, effective management (prediction), and successful continuous improvement initiatives. This session invites papers that address lean Six Sigma implementation and success through the lens of effective performance measurement and evaluation. Topics include, but are not limited to, planning for lean Six Sigma implementation, employee preparedness for lean Six Sigma, metric selection and application, reward and incentive systems, etc.
  • Safety & Ergonomics – Ensuring a safe and comfortable work environment is paramount to ensuring team members can consistently follow standardized work to maintain planned performance. Organizations, can thus benefit from the drive to optimize human performance (value) and reduce injury (waste). This session invites papers that explore topics in worker safety, capability, performance measurement, and training and resource requirements.
  • Value Chain Management – Process improvement initiatives rely on fully integrated systems for communication, waste reduction and responsiveness, as well as effective inventory management. This track invites research that explores strategies for organizational management, supplier integration, management of virtual systems, and management of complex knowledge based value chains (e.g., in engineering design and service provision environments).
  • Emerging Topics in Lean Six Sigma – As Lean and Six Sigma research and practices mature, the use of models, simulations, and other analytical techniques that evaluate the effectiveness of Lean and Six Sigma tools across varied industrial sectors are needed. There is also a need to investigate methods to handle emergent issues, such as those presented as a result of increased risks and disruptions in the supply chain leading to inventory shortages. This session also invites research that investigate the integration of lean Six Sigma with other tools to address such emergent issues, as well as studies that introduces models for effective lean Six Sigma implementation.
  • Future of Lean Six Sigma – The future of continuous improvement methodologies has been questioned; current methodologies may be losing inertia within academia and industry. This trend could lead to an opportunity for promoting innovation within this field. Industrial engineering has been considered the main field of knowledge to embrace continuous improvement due to its technical capability, which in essence, is not being used fully by methodologies like lean and Six Sigma. This track is focused in creating a stage for new ideas both in academia and industry for the development of successful tools and methods in the area of lean and Six Sigma. Practitioners in academia and industry with an innovative approach for continuous improvement using lean, Six Sigma, or other methodologies are welcome.
  • Industry-Academia Collaborations – Industry-academia partnerships are a valuable source of relevant research questions and cutting edge knowledge and innovations. This session invites papers that detail findings from past, present, or future collaborations. Focus areas include but are not limited to, best practices in collaborative learning and teaching, research results, and student involvement.
  • Industry-Academia Collaborative Research – Industry-academia partnerships are a valuable source of relevant research questions and cutting edge knowledge and innovations. This track invites papers that detail research findings from past, present, or future collaborations.

Lean Six Sigma Education Track

Educators are being pressed to bring lean and six sigma into the classroom. In this track, we explore both the challenges and the innovations that academic and industry educators have developed to address those challenges. Papers or presentations that are data-based or advance pedagogy are encouraged. Specific topic areas include but are not limited to:

  • Education in Industry – In many ways, industry education professionals, must build a bridge between learning in the "gemba" (where the work takes place) and the classroom. The use of seminars, workshops, and continuing education are key elements for building a learning organization. In this topic area, we invite presenters to share their unique approach to supporting the learning that takes place on the shop floor.
  • Experiential Games and Simulations – One challenge faced by educators is the plain fact that learning lean six sigma tools and approaches on the job and in real-time, just takes too long. Our field has a rich history of using games and simulations to advance the training process. In this topic area, we invite presenters to share new games and simulations, learning objectives achieved, and new ways to get more out of old games.
  • New to Teaching Lean – More and more universities and training organizations are realizing that they need to add that "first lean course" to their curriculum. In this topic area, we ask the lean community to help us answer the question, "What should my first lean course look like?" Both old hands and new to lean instruction are invited to share experiences and the "do's and don'ts" of teaching lean.
  • Lean Six Sigma in the Classroom – It is good to see that our next generations of workers and managers are now being exposed to lean Six Sigma. This is occurring in companies, colleges, and K-12 classrooms.  These classroom environments present special challenges to the lean educator. In this topic area, we explore the current state of lean six sigma classroom education, the challenges and best practices and discover what the lean community learns from our experience.
  • Administrative Lean in Academia – Lean educators in schools and universities have a unique opportunity to apply what they teach to their own organizations, and many do. In this topic area, we look at the what, how and why of working with your school or local community on continuous improvement, especially involving students and student teams.
  • Using Lean to Teach Lean – Many academics are also lean practitioners. They use lean Six Sigma tools and concepts to reduce waste and improve the value of the education they deliver. In this topic area, we invite presenters to share what they have learned in applying lean to their own teaching processes.
  • Taking it Online – At the same time that we are taking lean Six Sigma into the classroom, the classroom is moving online. As educators, we need to deal with both the trends. In this topic area, we seek to find out how lean six sigma education can evolve with changing technology and virtual capabilities.
  • Going Big – We have now gotten to the point where lean Six Sigma curricula and degrees exist both in intent and in name. What can we learn from these large efforts in academia or industry? Can we identify prerequisites, best practices, or a common future state for lean Six Sigma education?