Affiliated Organization

University of Dallas, USA


A Lean Six Sigma and Supply Chain Management, MBA-level course, averaged 15 students per semester. A persistent issue was that, even with in-class exercises to develop theoretical understanding, students were often unable to analogize to real-world situations. By introducing problem-based learning (PBL) the instructor broadened the teaching methods by introducing a consulting project for a local food bank. The food bank’s warehouse had been open for six months but had already become unwieldy to manage. Course readings, lectures, and in-class Lego assembly exercises provided the scaffolding for building students’ mental frameworks. Then their frameworks were tested and reinforced through the consulting engagement enabling them to learn more than each alone could provide. In the course of the consulting commitment, students engaged in Gemba walks, performed several types of analyses (e.g., state, process, root cause, value chain, etc.), and, via PBL, identified problems and developed solutions to meet organizational goals, while applying theories and skills taught in the course.