Ainhoa ​​Goienetxea defends her thesis


Time: 8/16/2019 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Insikten, Portalen, Högskolan i Skövde

Ainhoa ​​Goienetxea defends her thesis ”Bringing together Lean, Simulation and Optimization – Defining a framework to support decision-making in system design and improvement”.


The rapid changes in the market including globalization, the requirement for personalized products and services by the customers, shorter product life-cycles, the exponential growth of technological advances, and the demographical changes, will demand organizations to effectively improve and design their systems in order to survive. This is the actual paradigm characterizing the industrial and service sectors. This scenario presents a considerable challenge to decision makers who will need to decide about how to design and improve a more than ever complex system without compromising the quality of the decision taken.

Lean, being a widely applied management philosophy with very powerful principles, its methods and tools are static in nature and have some limitations when it comes to the design and improvement of complex and dynamic systems. Some authors have proposed the combined use of simulation with Lean in order to overcome these limitations. Furthermore, optimization and post-optimization tools coupled to simulation, provide knowledge about optimal or nearly optimal system configurations to choose from.

However, even if Lean principles, methods and tools, as well as simulation and optimization, pursue the objective of supporting organizations regarding system design and improvement, a bilateral approach for their combination and its benefits have barely been addressed in the literature. Many studies focus only on how specific Lean tools and simulation can be combined, treating Lean purely as a toolbox and not considering how Lean can support the simulation process.

The aim of this research is to address this knowledge gap by analyzing the mutual benefits and presenting a framework for combining Lean, simulation and optimization to better support decision makers in system design and improvement where the limitations of Lean tools and simulation are overcome by their combination. This framework includes a conceptual framework explaining the relationships between the Lean philosophy, methods and tools with simulation and optimization; the purposes for this combination and step by step processes to achieve these purposes; the identification of the roles involved in each process; a maturity model providing guidelines on how to implement the framework; existing barriers for the implementation; and ethical considerations to take into account. An industrial handbook has also been written which explains how to deploy the framework.

The research has been conducted in three main stages including an analysis of the literature and the real-world needs, the definition and formulation of the framework, and finally, its evaluation in real-world projects and with subject matter experts. The main contribution of this research is the reflection provided on the bilateral benefits of the combination, as well as the defined and evaluated framework, which will support decision makers take quality decisions in system design and improvement even in complex scenarios.


Amos H.C. Ng, Professor of Production and Automation Engineering, University of Skövde
Matías Urenda Moris, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in Industrial Engineering and Management, Uppsala University


Stewart Robinson
Dean School of Business and Economics, Professor of Management Science, Loughborough University, UK


Jessica Bruch, Professor in Production Systems, Mälardalen University
Leo De Vin, Professor in Manufacturing Engineering, Karlstad University
Sandor Ujvari, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in Logistics, University of Skövd

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Ainhoa Goienetxea.

Ainhoa Goienetxea