MSc Operations, Project and Supply Chain Management

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Operational Excellence: The Lean Production System

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN73472
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Over the past three decades the Toyota Production System, also known as lean production, has transformed the operational performance of many organizations around the world. The central aim of lean is to eliminate waste and non-value adding activities within an organization and throughout its supply chain. Today, lean production is one of the most widely used management systems to improve how organizations design, produce and improve operational processes that add value. Although lean production originated in the Japanese automotive industry, it has been extensively applied to non-automotive industries, such as healthcare, logistics, electronics, aerospace, chemicals, NGOs and government services. Leading companies, including Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Boeing, Airbus, Rolls Royce, GSK, NHS, Zara, New Balance, Tesco, Apple and have all adopted lean production practices that have transformed their organization’s performance. A number of leading business consultancy firms, including McKinsey, Ernst and Young, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), also provide their clients with lean training and lean consultancy services. Moreover, a number of investors and financial institutions have begun to use lean practices to turn around failing companies and return them to profitability. In parallel with this trend, a growing number of entrepreneurs within Silicon Valley are using the lean startup methodology to improve the way they design software services. Consequently, individuals trained in lean production practices are in high demand by many employers that are seeking people who understand how to use lean practices to transform operational processes and improve financial performance.


BMAN73472 Programme Req: BMAN73472 is only available as an elective to students on MSc Operations, Project and Supply Chain Management


  • To provide an overview of the Toyota Way and the Toyota Production System (TPS) and how they improve organisational performance.
  • Identify how different lean production tools, principles and cultures integrate with each other to develop a sustainable competitive advantage.
  • To use a variety of practical examples to illustrate how to implement and sustain the use of lean thinking within an organisation.
  • Understand how to implement Value Stream Mapping (VSM) within an organisation.
  • Develop problem solving, team working, presentation and practical skills (e.g. A3 Reports, PDCA cycles, 5 Whys Analysis, 5S, Oobeya Rooms,).

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Contact Methods

Minimum Contact hours: 20 

Delivery format: Lecture and Workshops 

Assessment methods

Individual Coursework Report (100%) A Value Stream Mapping (VSM) Report (2,500 words)

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.

Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.

Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.

Recommended reading

The set text for the course unit is:

Liker, J. K. (2004) The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Reference will also be made to:

Monden, Y. (2012) Toyota Production System: An Integrated Approach, Springer, New York.

Ohno, T. (1988) Toyota Production System, Beyond large-scale production, Productivity Press, New York.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Antony Potter Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Methods

Office Hours

Drop in Surgeries (extra help sessions for students on material they may be struggling with)

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