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Continuous Improvement

Course Code: BUSN 3390
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Business
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks x 4hrs per week = 60hours
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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

Methods of Instruction

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%

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.

course prerequisites

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

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.