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The World’s Leading Conference on Lean Six Sigma Methodologies


Lean Six Sigma in a Higher Education Institution: An Action Research Project

Industry: Services

Keywords: Lean Six Sigma, Higher Education Institution, LSS, HEI, Action Research, Service

Level: Basic


Lean Six Sigma, a well-established methodology, has made substantial contributions to various industries worldwide, primarily in the manufacturing sector, by enhancing performance and reducing costs. Although its adoption has been relatively sluggish in the service sector, notable progress has been witnessed recently.

This research project undertakes a comprehensive investigation into the application of Lean Six Sigma within a higher education institution (HEI), primarily categorized as a service industry. Employing the action research methodology, this study delves into the intricacies of Lean Six Sigma adoption.

The goal of the study is to increase customer satisfaction and reduce non-value-added activity performed by the Undergraduate Director for the Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department (IMSE). The IMSE department consists of 300 undergraduate students, 15 faculty and 2 staff members and is located in the college of engineering. The department resides in a public university in the southeastern United States with the R1 Carnegie classification, a doctoral granting institution with very high research activity. Our action research cycle will be guided by what the extant literature states as relevant critical success and failure factors for HEIs. The research team includes the Undergraduate Program Director, an outside faculty member and three IMSE undergraduate students.

The results of our research will contribute to what is known about the unique challenges of implementing lean six sigma in HEI and service industries more broadly.


Tres Bishop

Instructor, Florida Atlantic University, Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

Tres Bishop, Ph.D. is an operations management and data analytics faculty member in the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University. He is also a managing partner at Tres Bishop Consulting serving as an adviser and trainer to individuals, teams, and organizations. He earned a bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Florida, a master in Engineering Management. an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Doctorate of Business (DBA) from the University of South Florida.

His research and teaching interests are in continuous improvement, quality management, operations and supply chain management, project management, and data analytics. He has earned five professional certifications including a Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, Project Management Professional, and Certified Manager of Quality. Prior to joining academia, Bishop spent 20 years working as a leader in the aerospace/defense and healthcare industries. He is an IISE member.


Kingsley A. Reeves

Kingsley A. Reeves Jr., Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of South Florida in the Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department. His research interests focus on the Lean Six Sigma philosophy and applications of traditional industrial engineering methods to solve problems in the education service sector. He is also active in engineering education research. Prior to entering academia, Kingsley worked as a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, and as a practicing engineer at Ford Motor Co. His work has been funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 


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