Manufacturing is the key economic activity for creating high added value by transforming materials and energy into products. Although Lean Manufacturing was established as a more effective way of organizing mass production, the need for applications of Lean is no longer limited to high-volume production. Lean is becoming increasingly more common in low-volume, high-variety production environments (LV/HV) (e.g., for customized product manufacturing).

 

 
Some alternative approaches for “Customized Lean” do exist, but these are far less known for two reasons. First, they are often applied ad-hoc according to a specific local situation, and second, the existing body of knowledge on Customized Lean is fragmented and scattered across academic and management literature and/or contained by individual practitioners and researchers and therefor, often not included in educational programs and teaching materials.

To unify this body of knowledge a transnational approach is required. Addressing these issues contributes to EU priorities of improving the relevance of higher education eventually resulting in higher attainment levels to provide the graduates Europe needs. These graduates will be better suited for today’s and future labor market which is important in the Europe 2020 strategy.

mission euroleanplus2 01

EuroLEAN+ builds on the success of the EU project “European Regions of Innovative Productivity” (ERIP), which was a €3.3M Interreg funded project (2008-2012) that set out to create a transnational lean implementation framework, capable of increasing the competitiveness of manufacturing SMEs in the North Sea Region (NSR) by tackling the 'productivity gap' and supporting the long-term retention of high-value manufacturing employment.


EuroLEAN+ project partners from Norway, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany all worked together successfully in ERIP. This international and fruitful collaboration led to the development of a new Lean Change Methodology for SMEs that was introduced successfully in 26 SMEs throughout Europe. Among the results of the study was the identification of the need for a more flexible organization within SMEs that traditional Lean management tools do not provide, as well as the need for an update of HE curricula in the field of Lean Production Management in order to address the unique characteristics of European LV/HV production environments.

In order to increase the knowledge on customized lean, EuroLEAN+ objectives are:

  1. Create a living learning community by gathering otherwise scattered knowledge that
  2. Creates and maintains a central knowledge base that contains methods and cases that
  3. Creates elements of a master program and simultaneously
  4. Creates innovative teaching methods to effectively disseminate new knowledge

 

These objectives will be met by enhancing the prioritized areas of quality and relevance of higher education in customized lean through:

  • International cooperation through the mobility of staff from higher education institutions, research centers and industry. (Establishing academic cooperation and educational relevance. This shall also reflect diversity related to language, geographic area and culture).
  • Highlighting best practice examples of innovative and creative solutions from practice, that shall be used to support theory, knowledge transfer and building the knowledge community. Students will be involved in industry through industry projects, again ensuring relevance of the course content (research-based education).
  • Remodelling of the curricula (educational relevance) through development of joint ventures between student, staff and industrial workforce. This might lead to an Erasmus Mundus joint master's programme under Erasmus + degree mobility.
  • Additionally the HEIs participating will define and develop innovative teaching and learning strategies through the use of the latest educational methods and didactics - through students, staff and industrial workforce exchange to ensure academic quality and relevance of teaching from the practice.