Lean Manufacturing

Bill Chamberlain, an Engineering Technology instructor in Saint John, innovatively engages his students in applied research technical projects with industry.

NBCC’s applied research and innovation office was contacted by a local fabrication shop, Bourque Industrial, regarding their need to explore ways to improve productivity and efficiency due to gradual growth and expansion over a number of years. After discussions with the company CEO, Rick MacMichael, Bill determined that there was an opportunity to turn the problems into applied research projects for Mechanical Engineering Technology students. Two projects were developed that fit in with the course competency requirements of Bill’s Lean Manufacturing course.

The first project was applying Lean Manufacturing Techniques in a custom fabrication shop to increase productivity and reduce space, overall improving productivity. This project was conducted by student Wade Murphy. The second project was applying Lean Manufacturing Techniques to the project management activities. This project was completed by student David Phillips.

Bill Chamberlain acts as technical advisor to the students on the projects while they work directly with the industry partner. Bill describes the added value for the students: “It allows them to get a hands-on experience applying Lean Manufacturing Techniques in a real life situation."

Rick MacMichael adds, “It becomes a win-win situation where the students get to apply their education to a real manufacturing situation and we receive the benefit of their Lean Manufacturing Techniques, improving overall productivity in the shop.”