Continuous Improvement

Commerce & Business Administration
Course Code
BUSN 3390
Semester Length
15 weeks x 4hrs per week = 60hours
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To be determined


Course Description
This course is designed to improve the student’s ability to design, execute and control the operations of an organization by examining topics such as: process flow design and improvement; push and pull environments; the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) quality improvement framework; supplier relationships; and approaches to worker engagement. The focus is on gaining an understanding of the implementation of quality and waste minimization initiatives using industry accepted principles and techniques. Students will conduct a process improvement project, applying the principles and tools of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. This knowledge can be used to prepare for writing Lean and Six Sigma Green Belt exams.
Course Content
  1. Process and quality fundamentals, including: introduction to Total Quality Management (TQM); Just in Time (JIT); Lean; Six Sigma; ISO; and Plan-do-check-act (PDCA)
  2. Design principles and techniques, including: the choice of manufacturing environments, production processes, and layouts; batch versus flow process implications; and push versus pull principles
  3. Introduction to the DMAIC quality improvement framework
  4. Define phase tools: Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer (SIPOC) diagrams; voice of the customer; Quality Functional Deployment (QFD); and current state Value Stream Map (VSM)
  5. Measure phase tools: basic principles of measurement including  reliability and validity of data as well as overview of statistical methods; descriptive statistics, run charts; process capability analysis; and dashboards & balanced scorecards
  6. Analyze phase tools: the 7 Basic Quality Tools (cause-and-effect diagrams, check sheet, control charts, histogram, pareto charts, scatter diagram, stratification); A3 problem solving; and regression and correlation analysis of root causes
  7. Improve phase tools: creating flow through the use of Takt time, Line Balancing, Heijunka; implementing pull through the use of Kanbans and Standard Work; and Mistake Proofing through the use of Visual Management and 5S
  8. Control phase tools: Visual Management and Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA)
  9. Enabling a culture of continuous improvement
Learning Activities

Lectures, in class simulations, video observation exercises and case analyses requiring extensive interaction with other students and instructor.

Means of Assessment

Group Improvement Project(s)     20 - 35%
Assignments                                15 - 20%
Participation                                  0 - 10%
Midterm                                       15 - 25%
Final                                            25 - 35%

Students may conduct research as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans, which can require obtaining Informed Consent from participants and getting the approval of the Douglas College Research Ethics Board prior to conducting the research.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, successful students will be able to:
• analyze basic execution and control systems and techniques in the operations management field;
• examine the system wide implications of process flow and methods for achieving a smooth flow;
• defend the importance of data collection in measuring performance and perform statistical analysis to monitor processes and identify trends;
• design a project using process improvement principles to analyze a current situation, identify opportunities for improvement and recommend a well thought out implementation plan;
• use of Lean and Six Sigma tools and discuss the role culture, customers and employee involvement plays; and
• solve Lean and Six Sigma Green Belt exam questions.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students: Custom publication with relevant readings, cases and chapters taken from textbooks such as:

  • Gitlow, Howard, R.J. Melnyck, D.M. Levine, Guide to Six Sigma and Process Improvement for Practitioners and Students: Foundations, DMAIC, Tools, Cases, and Certification. Latest Edition (Pearson FT Press)
  • Cudney, Elizabeth, R. Kestle, Implementing Lean Six Sigma throughout the Supply Chain: The Comprehensive and Transparent Case Study. Latest Edition (Productivity Press)

or any alternative textbook/s approved by the Business Department



Minimum grade of C in BUSN 1210 and in either of BUSN 2429 or MATH 1160, or permission of the instructor


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for BUSN 3390
Athabasca University (AU) AU MGSC 3XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU BADM 301 (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN BADM 2XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR MGMT 3XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) No credit
Langara College (LANG) LANG BUSM 2XXX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC MGMT 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit
University Canada West (UCW) UCW BUSI 2XX (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC COMM 350 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV BUS 2XX (3)

Course Offerings

Winter 2023

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BUSN 3390 001 - This section is restricted to Business Management Diplomas, BBA Management, PBD International & PDD Supply Chain Management, PDD Hospitality Management, PDD Hospitality Marketing, PBD Advanced Human Resources Management, PBD Advanced Supply Chain Management, and PBD Computer and Information Systems - Data Analytics, Emerging Technology, & Cyber Security Streams until Friday, December 16, 2022, at 9 am.

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