A Look Inside the Pawley Lean Institute

Jordan Jewell, Staff Intern

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 The Pawley Lean Institute, located in Pawley Hall, works to provide students with a working knowledge of Lean—A strategy that eliminates waste from the production process and makes workers more efficient.

The program cites eight types of waste including defect, overproduction, waiting, unutilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion and extra processing. By eliminating these types of waste, production becomes more efficient. The Pawley Lean Institute gives students the tools they need to implement this style of thinking in whatever field they choose to pursue.

Dennis Wade is the director of the Pawley Lean Institute. He firmly believes that Lean gives students an advantage in the workforce. The process itself can be used in all forms of business from engineering and manufacturing to banks and hospitals. The Pawley Lean Institute operates with the sole purpose of benefiting its students.

“We focus on three strategies: Supporting academics, providing Lean programs on campus in the registrar’s office and human resources to improve student experiences, and student engagement by creating projects that take place outside of the classroom and finding internships for students,” he said. “Students are able to implement the Lean skills they’ve learned in many different aspects of employment.”

The program will being offering a graduate certificate in fall 2018 and students can also graduate with a Lean Leadership minor in the Human Resources Development program.

The Pawley Lean Institute goes above and beyond just helping college students. As a part of their community outreach, they put on programs for high school students as well. These programs, according to Wade, partner with the engineering program to teach these students about Lean.

“We bring students on campus and they are able to take part in three activities involving Lean principles, plant floor exercises and ergonomics,” Wade said. “We’re also able to cover some of the travel or dining costs because of grants we have received, so it’s really a win win for the high schools.”

Professor Robert Van Til of the engineering department is heavily involved in these programs, which give high school students the chance to learn about and experiment with Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“The K-12 Outreach Activities take place over 3 week periods,” Van Til said. “Students from local high schools visit the campus and take part in simulations, workshops, and presentations put on by faculty members and alumni.”

The Pawley Lean Institute is constantly working to improve the lives and outlooks of students here at Oakland University. They offer a minor program for students hoping to use Lean as a way to improve their work ethic and job prospects.

Students can visit the Pawley Lean Institute webpage for more information regarding the program and current training options.