Better decisions when Lean is combined with simulation and optimization

Is it possible to combine Lean with simulation to give a better basis for decision-making when working with systems design and improvements? Ainhoa Goienetxea, who is a doctoral student in automation technology at the University of Skövde, has in her research found a way to combine them. This means a win-win situation for those who work with Lean or simulation. The results will be able to support organizations to increase their performance.

Lean management philosophy consists of various principles, methods and tools and it is used, among other things, in industry, the construction industry and health care. Lean is about reducing unnecessary wastefulness and focuses on people’s participation to improve it and maximize the use for the customer. Simulation is a technique where software builds actual systems in which it is possible to test various situations before they are tested in real life. It can entail anything from evaluation of tactical improvements to the formation of new systems on a strategic level.

Ainhoa Goienetexa, doctoral student in automation technology at the Univesity of Skövde has, in her research, found a way to combine Lean with simulation-based optimization.

”Previously, researchers have just looked at how simulation can be part of the Lean-toolbox, but I see that the combination can work both ways. This means a win-win situation” says Ainhoa Goienetexa.

Will support decision-makers

The results are now available in a framework which comprises various types of components that can guide organizations working with Lean to work more with simulation. As a result, organizations an overcome the limits that Lean’s methods and tools constitute when it comes to dealing with system variation and dynamics. It introduces simulation as an advanced tool within Lean and shows how Lean-principles and methods can be used when working with simulation projects. The aim is to support decision-makers to make quality decisions when working with systems design or improvements even in complex set-ups.

Would like to put emphasis on health care

The next step for Ainhoa is, if all goes well, to celebrate her disputation with her family. Then, hopefully, there will be a focus on health care.

”I think it is extremely important to support industry, but being able to work and improve health care inspires me. It would be so rewarding if I could use the knowledge and experience I have acquired in this adventure to reduce waiting times and queues for patients. To support health care professionals to identify and work more efficiently with improvements, and also to support decision-makers to make quality decisions that have an impact on patients, health care professionals and finances are all things I would really like to work with” says Ainhoa Goienetxea.

Contact Ainhoa
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