MSc Pharmaceutical Industrial Advanced Training (PIAT) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Lean Processes (PIAT 8)

Unit code PHAR71080
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Offered by Pharmacy
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit will help you to develop a practical understanding of the lean processes that can help a business be more efficient – known as business improvement statistical sciences. It will raise your awareness, knowledge and capability in statistical techniques and frameworks so that business leaders, managers and experts are able to champion, support and engage in the effective use of these tools in their business process improvement initiatives and day to day activities. 


The unit aims to:

  • Acquire and develop a sound awareness and understanding of the lean thinking and principles
  • Acquire and develop a broad range of problem solving and continuous improvement (CI) skills to make effective contributions to the organisation goals
  • Develop the ability to create concise and prioritised improvement goals from which they can apply the appropriate problem solving and CI methods and tools
  • Develop key skills required to monitor, control and improve processes
  • Identify their own learning needs, develop themselves as critically reflective practitioners and advance their own learning to sustain continuing professional development
  • Critically evaluate literature, theories and methodologies and apply appropriate approaches in the execution of improvement initiatives.


Teaching and learning methods

This module is delivered entirely through distance learning. A printed manual consisting of eleven chapters is issued to the student on registration and receipt of payment. Each chapter is designed to amount to one hundred hours of assessed learning.

Additional learning activities are directed which, together with the assessment, require 50 hours of self directed learning and assessment.


Knowledge and understanding

Self-directed learning


Intellectual skills

Self-directed learning


Practical skills

Group work

Work based development

Self-directed learning


Transferable skills and personal qualities

Group work

Work based development

Self-directed learning


Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to: 

Demonstrate knowledge and sound understanding of the:

Lean thinking and principles

Understand Problem Solving, Continuous Improvement and Process Robustness

Different approaches to Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement

Importance of mindset and behaviours in delivery of sustained improvements

Importance of the components and sources of variation

Use of structured and systematic approaches to Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement

The key role of leadership in creating a Continuous Improvement environment

Intellectual skills

  • Application of lean and statistical methods to identify and prioritise improvements
  • Use of analysis techniques to assess and manage risk
  • Understand how the lean methodologies and statistical techniques align to some key industry guidelines such as Continuous Process Verification, Validation and Quality by Design
  • Leveraging of statistics techniques to understand and evaluate process performance.

Practical skills

  • Ability to lead and facilitate teams through problem solving and decision making
  • Use of statistical software to manipulate data, analyse data, draw conclusions and perform effective decision making
  • Complete practical exercises to demonstrate an understanding of the application of knowledge derived from the course material
  • Use of structured techniques to solve problems and drive continuous improvement 
  • Network with key stakeholders in own organisation to influence the use of learning gained through the course participation
  • Engage in critically reflective practice as a process of continuous personal development.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • The ability to critique information from a range of sources to formulate opinions and tailor approaches
  • Management of improvements in accordance with organisational requirements, demonstrating high level knowledge on process driven approaches
  • The ability to review current working practices and identify improvement opportunities based on knowledge and experience gained
  • Prioritised process management to deliver effective and sustained business processes
  • Effective presentation of data.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)



3000 words

Marks and feedback sent within 15 working days



2 hours

Marks sent after exam board



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 148

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Matthew Shaw Unit coordinator

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