Lean Enterprise Excellence Group

Centres And GroupsLean Enterprise Excellence Group

Lean Enterprise Excellence Group


The creation of a lean enterprise excellence ecosystem, combining education, research, practice, and knowledge-exchange, that enables a research-based and knowledge-led community of learning and practice deliver value to the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of Irish organisations.


The mission of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is to develop high quality and actionable research that advances the literature on lean thinking and practice, and that can be applied within public and private organisations and across all services and manufacturing sectors to enable and sustain lean enterprise excellence.

The ecosystem will be the catalyst for the creation of competence and capability in lean enterprise excellence that will assist in enabling and sustaining cultures of continuous improvement and industry employment in organisations across all sectors.


The Lean Enterprise Excellence Group seeks to develop research in lean; process, operational, and enterprise excellence; continuous improvement; supply/demand/value chain management; and related areas.


The Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is led by co-founders Darrin Taylor and Aidan Walsh, and involves a number of faculty who lecture and/or research in areas related to Lean.

The Group is part of the WIT Business School and the RIKON Centre. It is supported by Professor Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business WIT, and has as its senior advisor Professor Peter Hines, Visiting Professor at the WIT Business School.


We have developed an industry-academia community of learning and practice that encourages a collaborative approach to lean management, process thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and value creation. Through individual autonomy, industry engagement, and collegiality, each faculty member, researcher, and student is given the opportunity to develop themselves as practitioners and researchers, and to make contributions to lean enterprise excellence thinking and practice regionally, nationally, and internationally.


Passion & Commitment - We strive for enterprise excellence through creativity, professionalism, and leadership.
Collegiality - We assume collective and individual responsibility to sharing knowledge and expertise in the region and beyond.
Openness - We foster a pioneering spirit of enquiry and intellectual curiosity.
Achievement - We promote teamwork and creat an atmosphere of inclusion, support, empowerment, honesty, integrity, and continuous improvement.
Citizenship - We aim to optimise the impact of our work on Ireland’s economy and society.
Excellence - We strive to develop researchers and practitioners that are thought leaders.



The aim of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is to develop high quality and actionable research that advances the literature on lean thinking and practice, and that can be applied within public and private organisations, and across all services and manufacturing sectors, to enable and sustain Lean and CI, and enterprise, operational, and process excellence.

We seek to develop research in lean; continuous improvement; enterprise, operational, and process excellence; supply/demand/value chain management; employee engagement; lean leadership;  lean transformation; and related areas.

If you would like to discuss research opportunities with us please email Lean@wit.ie.

Lean Enterprise & Operational Excellence Programme Portfolio

The WIT Business School offers a portfolio of executive education programmes for Lean & OpEx practitioners that have been developed by the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group. These programmes are designed to meet identified industry needs for discrete knowledge, know-how, and skillsets in lean enterprise, operational, and process excellence in public and private organisations, and across all services and manufacturing sectors. They also cater for employees at different levels within organisations and at different stages in the employee lifecycle. Thus we have developed a Masters (Level 9); a Higher Diploma (Level 8); and a Diploma (Level 7). We also have PhD (Level 10) candidates researching in the area.

Given the applied nature of this area, and given the breadth and depth of experience within our programme participants, we place a particularly strong emphasis on peer learning and experiential learning. This is highly-valued and is facilitated through our class-contact approach and extensive student interactions, engagement, and collaboration. 

In addition to examining the "Hard" elements, including the requisite lean tools and techniques, operational and business analytics, process excellence methodologies, and project management, a key factor distinguishing our Lean programmes from those elsewhere is that our participants attain an appreciation for wider organisational contexts, cross-sectoral applications, services plus manufacturing orientations, plus the critical “Soft" elements of Lean. Our ethos and approach is aligned to the Shingo Model and Approach, as well as to the Toyota Production System and Toyota Way, and therein we explore and synthesise the principles, systems, culture, and behaviours integral to lean enterprise excellence. Our students examine lean philosophy and thinking; lean leadership; lean strategy and hoshin kanri; systems thinking and the learning organisation; employee engagement; lean organisational cultural transformation; and lean coaching and communications.

All of our programmes use an integrated learning approach that encompasses: traditional lectures; case studies; in-class discussions; ICT practicals; site visits; guest speakers from industry; Live Gemba projects; and all supported by WIT's virtual learning environment.

Our portfolio of programmes includes the following:

Flyers for each of our programmes are available below.


Lean Practitioner Seminar Series

The Lean Practitioner Seminar Series brings together Lean and CI practitioners with the purpose of sharing experience, knowledge, expertise, and good practices. Such industry-academia and intra-industry collaboration has been hugely well-received as it enables those practicing lean in public and private organisations, and across all services and manufacturing sectors, to meet on a regular basis and exchange their applied knowledge and experiences with their industry peers.

Aidan Walsh, Co-Director of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, notes that "When we as educators engage with executives in facilitating their learning in lean principles and practice, we are most struck by their enthusiasm and passion for learning, and their willingness to share their knowledge with others. The Lean Practitioner Seminar Series has been designed to harness these attributes and provide a regular mechanism wherein Lean and CI practitioners can engage with each other to deepen their understanding of lean concepts and approaches, and through dialogue heighten their knowledge of lean enterprise, operational, and process excellence".

A number of the Seminar presenters include our Lean & OpEx alumni or current students, some of whom are the Lean & OpEx champions within their own organisations, including global exemplars like Lake Region Medical, TEVA Pharmaceuticals Ireland, and Genzyme - a Sanofi company.

The Lean Practitioner Seminar Series is hosted in WIT as a series of free monthly events during the academic year. See below individual Seminar flyers from this and previous years.

The 2016-2017 Lean Practitioner Seminar Series schedule, plus individual Seminar Flyers are available below.


Annual WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum

NOTE THE DATE - Thursday the 4th of May 2017

The 5th Annual WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum will be held in Waterford Institute of Technology on Thursday the 4th of May 2017.

For further information and booking details please see www.witleanforum.com

The Annual WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum has grown to become one of the leading Lean conferences in Europe.

This industry-academia event is a free all-day conference focused on cutting-edge developments in Lean management thinking and practice, continuous improvement, and organisational and service excellence. It provides a key knowledge-exchange and networking opportunity for Irish organisations of all sizes that are adopting, or seeking to adopt, Lean thinking and practice in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace.


Annual Lean Research Symposium

The Annual Lean Research Symposium is a forum for our Lean Masters students to deliver Poster Presentations detailing their research topics and findings to-date. This event is attended by the Head of School of Business, Head of Graduate Business Department, Lecturers and Research Supervisors, our Lean & OpEx students, other postgraduate students, and specially invited guests. The event is chaired by Professor Peter Hines who reviews each Poster with the students. It provides opportunities for students to showcase their Lean research as well as being a networking opportunity for students across the postgraduate business portfolio.

Aidan Walsh, Co-Director of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, notes that:

"Lean only works through collaboration, engagement, honest dialogue, trust, and respect. The Annual Lean Research Symposium affords our student community the opportunity to share their research and experiences of that research with their  lecturers, peers, and fellow students. By engaging in a collaborative dialogue about their research that not only validates their work to date but also enables them use the feedback received to enhance their research output and receive recognition for the valuable research they are undertaking".

Industry-Academia Collaboration

The Lean Enterprise Excellence Group has developed strong and extensive relationships with public and private organisations from across all manufacturing and services sectors throughout Ireland and abroad, as well as with industry representative bodies and State agencies. Such industry-academia engagement and collaboration is integral to the work of this Group and is hugely beneficial to our Faculty, our Students, to our Partner Organisations, and ultimately to Ireland Inc.

Such engagement and collaboration includes the following:

National Strategic Contributions: We play key and leading roles at national level. Darrin Taylor, co-founder and co-director of the Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, is a member of the Lean Business Ireland Leadership Group which includes representatives from Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, IBEC, various Captains of Industry, University of Limerick, and Consultants. Darrin is also a member of Lean Construction Ireland's Leadership Group and was inaugural Chair of Lean Construction Ireland's Education, Training, Developent Forum. Darrin is also an advisor to the Professional Association for lean and enterprise excellence trainers and consultants.

Live Gemba Assignments: students on our programmes are afforded opportunities to examine, analyse, and present findings on real-world problems in our partner organisations, and those organisations adopt and adapt the countermeasures presented to improve their operations.

Guest Speakers: experienced Lean & CI practitioners from exemplary organisations regularly deliver guest presentations throughout the academic year.

Site Visits: our students enjoy a number of site visits to SMEs and Irish-based Multinationals, from both the services and the manufacturing sectors, and which are at various stages in their respective lean journeys.

Lean Practitioner Seminar Series: contributors deliver tutorials and workshops to an audience of fellow industry practitioners on focused issues, themes, and sectors.

Annual Lean Enterprise Excellence Forum Presenters: keynote presentations and breakout sessions are delivered by experienced and expert practitioners, and subject matter experts, from Ireland and abroad.

World-Renowned Visiting Professor

The WIT Lean Enterprise Excellence Group is honoured to have Professor Peter Hines as Visiting Professor at the WIT Business School. Professor Hines is a world-renowned thought leader in Lean, academic, practitioner, global consultant, award-winning author, and Senior Certified Shingo Facilitator. In addition to contributing to the research strategy of the Group, Professor Hines further enhances our extensive and deep industry engagement and collaboration that forms a core part of the Group’s activities as we collectively endeavour to enable and sustain enterprise excellence throughout Irish business.

Further Information

See below some testimonials and feedback from industry as well from some of our graduates.


Noel Hennessy, Continuous Improvement Director, Lake Region Medical, New Ross, Co. Wexford.

The value that Lake Region Medical (LRM) places on WIT’s Master of Business in Lean Practice program is best reflected in the fact that since the program was first launched each class has included a representative from the company. In LRM, while we might be on our lean journey for over twelve years, the simple fact is that most of the work being carried out daily still does not in reality add any value. All our WIT lean students have one thing in common: they are incredibly passionate about identifying and eliminating non-value activities in order to increase customer value and ensure the long-term sustainability of the New Ross operation, and they apply their newly acquired learning to do just that. I’ve witnessed at firsthand how their knowledge of lean has increased and the perspective they bring to the lean journey conversation gained from their academic research has in fact helped to shape our company enterprise excellence strategy. On a personal note I have seen how our graduates’ confidence in their own abilities, the contribution they make to our company, and the career goals they set for themselves grow as the course progresses.

The Lean Program Directors Darrin Taylor and Aidan Walsh are also to be congratulated on extending the awareness and promotion of lean beyond the Lean graduate group with the creation of a community of learning and practice via the Annual WIT Lean Forum, and the ongoing Lean Practitioner Seminar Series. The opportunity for organizations to hear nationally and internationally recognized Lean organizations in WIT speak about their experiences is invaluable, as is getting to visit lean exemplars in the region. At Lake Region Medical we are very proud to be associated with WIT’s Lean Program. We believe it to be the embodiment of all that is best about industry-academia collaboration, and the knowledge exchange that occurs serves both organisations very well and contributes to the sustainability of excellence and economic growth in our region and nationally.” 

The Lean & Operational Excellence Team, at Boston Scientific Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

"The Higher Diploma in Business in Operational Excellence has proven very beneficial to both Boston Scientific Clonmel and our employees. The mix of Lean, Quality and Project Management fundamentals has skilled our employees to meet the dynamic and challenging needs of our business.

Of the Class of 2014, 54% of our students have been successful in acquiring new roles within the organisation at the supervisor and engineering levels. The project work of these students account for over US$676,000 in Value Improvement Projects (VIP) for 2015. The course itself relative to other degree programs provided an addition US$100,000k in savings on educational cost. With the remaining projects yet to be completed we are optimistic this course will provide a Return Of Investment (ROI) in the region of US$1m.

While the yearlong program has been challenging for our employees in relation to work, study and life balance, they have been enthusiastic and passionate about their learning and have grown both in knowledge and confidence.

Boston Scientific was delighted to be involved in the development and continued support of this program, as is represented by the significant number of employees enrolling for the 2015/16 program."


Donnacha O'Kane, (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Project Champion – Global Respiratory R & D, TEVA Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Waterford.

"The Master of Business in Lean Practice is a flexibly-delivered programme that very successfully integrates academic and practical delivery. A key benefit to this programme is the practical real-world engagement. I had a particular interest in implementing the lean philosophy and the implications for traditional management accounting information. The outcome provided enhanced levels of learning and strategic thinking with immediate organisational benefits in terms of knowledge, skills, and know-how.  But ultimately it was the opportunity to apply my existing skillset coupled with those skills learned on the MBS Lean Practice programme in my own workplace that has proved most rewarding. The course format was flexible enough to allow me to honour my work commitments while gaining the qualification. I would not hesitate in recommending the MBS Lean Practice programme at WIT Business School."

Terence Bates (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Production Support Supervisor, Lake Region Medical, New Ross, Co. Wexford.

The only way I can describe my experience of the Masters in Lean Practice Programme is that it has been life changing. As a person without a primary degree I entered the programme with a high level of trepidation as to my ability to complete the course. However I was soon put at ease by a helpful and highly engaged team of lecturers who have helped me not alone to broaden and change my thinking, but also to increase my confidence in my own ability. The structure and content of the course is highly applicable for any individual seeking to understand not just the tools and systems of lean, but also its underpinning philosophy.  As the course progressed I began to adopt a more systemic style of thinking, viewing problems as opportunities for improvement and then deploying the right tool as required to solve point of occurrence problems. The content of this course is highly applicable in today’s rapidly changing market place, giving graduates the ability to recognise value, engage, and listen to the true voice of the customer in order to grow the business.

John O’Mahoney (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), QC Training Specialist, TEVA Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Waterford.

In the course of a career in sales, training and HR consultancy I came to realise that the majority of organisational difficulties I encountered could be attributed to inadequate or absent systems of management. I decided to act on this and sought out a suitable Masters programme, investigating the offerings available from a range of third level institutions.  

I was aware of the excellent reputation of the WIT Business School, and on researching the content and structure of the MBS in Lean Practice programme I decided it was the Masters programme most likely to further my career. The MBS in Lean Practice did not disappoint, with the course design well-balanced between academic content and industry-based experiential learning. The group dynamic that allowed students to learn from each other’s experience was expertly facilitated by the programme directors. The network of industry contacts the programme directors have constructed has been invaluable, assisting me in my academic achievement and career progression. The course lecturers maintained an approachable and collaborative atmosphere and were available to guide but not dictate the students' learning experience.  I would not hesitate to recommend the MBS in Lean Practice programme to those interested in their personal and professional development.

Cathy Mullins (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Lean Coach, Genzyme - a Sanofi company, Waterford.

"The Masters in Lean Practice at WIT was a very challenging but beneficial experience for me. The programme itself was very rounded, and covered a wide range of relevant business topics - but all geared towards the dynamic of working in a Lean environment. The structure allowed me to participate in such a programme whilst also working full-time, and it was very flexible in this regard. It also presented many networking opportunities and invaluable opportunities to learn from class colleagues who had wide-ranging experience from other companies in the South East region and further afield. The qualification I obtained allowed me to advance my career in Lean, and I now work as a Lean Coach."

Ian Gourlay, (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Lean SixSigma Consultant, RigneyDolphin & RelateCare, Waterford.

"The MBS in Lean Practice offers participants the opportunity to develop and broaden their knowledge and skills in the area of Lean philosophy and thinking via a wholly relevant, stimulating, and varied course syllabus. The course is structured to fit in with a busy executive timetable and is closely aligned and integrated with organisations already promoting 'best practice' Lean techniques, which creates a collaborative approach to learning. The programme facilitates networking both with peers and also the broader arena of industry professionals throughout the course, whilst also providing the opportunity to attend Lean enterprise workshops and forums throughout the year."

Pat Logan, (Master of Business in Lean Practice graduate 2014), Operational Excellence Site Leader, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Waterford.

I found the Master of Business in Lean Practice to be a challenging but rewarding experience. There was a good balance between the exploration of Lean theories, models and frameworks, and the practical application of Lean tools and techniques. The course was delivered in a flexible format suitable for Industry by lecturers who were very supportive and passionate about the material which they delivered. In addition to developing critical thinking, the Masters program provided the skills and knowledge to successfully design, develop, and implement Lean practices in industry today. For many of the modules, group project work was used and this provided the opportunity for great learning, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities. A key strength of the course was the opportunity to collaborate with local companies in the area and witness first-hand their approach to Lean and continuous improvement. For me this was experiential learning at its best.


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Lean Enterprise Excellence Group,

School of Business,

Waterford Institute of Technology,

Cork Road,



Darrin Taylor Aidan Walsh
051-834129 051-845631 
dtaylor@wit.ie awalsh@wit.ie