University of Tennessee

Global Supply Chain

Executive Education Courses

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Courses can be conducted onsite at your organization or modified to suit your organization’s needs. We offer custom solutions in aerospace and defense, global supply chain management, healthcare and strategic leadership. Contact our industry representatives for more information.

Course Offerings

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Lean Applied to Business Processes

Course Description


This program is designed for leaders and process improvement practitioners at any level—in short, anyone who is interested in bottom-line improvements. It applies to those supporting operations in a manufacturing or MRO environment, but is also a foundational course for leaders in administrative or knowledge-based businesses of all kinds, including professional services, education, healthcare, and government.


Lean Applied to Business Processes is designed to help you achieve a significant increase in capacity by identifying and eliminating waste in your business processes.

Long, bureaucratic administrative processes are frequently the main constraint to the revenue or mission of most organizations. Even though the lean methodology has made a tremendous difference for manufacturing operations in the last few decades, it is often applied only to the shop floor. Without addressing the same issues in the administrative functions that support the shop, gains will ultimately be limited or unsustainable.

But by adapting the tools traditionally used to identify and eliminate waste in manufacturing and applying them to administrative functions (management, customer service, sales and marketing, engineering, invoicing/accounts receivable, purchasing/acquisition, product development, IT, human resources, etc.), you can substantially reduce waste and improve productivity in your organization. These gains are achievable in a broad range of industries outside manufacturing, because they can be used anywhere knowledge or information is being transferred.

This five-day program, taught by lean practitioner Bill Peterson, will teach you to reduce the time and effort needed to execute business processes by 30% to 80%, increasing throughput and making your organization more effective and more competitive in the global marketplace.

You’ll learn concepts through lectures, see them demonstrated in simulations and business cases, and absorb them by participating in hands-on class exercises. As you move through the course, you’ll create an action plan that will help you apply all concepts taught to your own organization.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to visualize your process so that you can streamline it (you’ll learn about strategic alignment, SIPOC, value stream mapping, the Theory of Constraints, and other key visualization tools)

  • How to analyze the root cause of waste in your process (the 8 Wastes, the 5 Whys)

  • How to apply lean countermeasures (visual management, standard work, the 5 S’s, eliminating multitasking)

  • How to implement an action plan and create a feedback loop for positive change

You’ll return to your organization with your action plan, enabling you to begin your custom improvement process immediately; once you’ve completed a specified project as part of that plan, you’ll earn a Lean Green Belt at no additional charge.

Available Industries: Global Supply Chain

Duration & Dates

One week (4.5 days)
September 19-23, 2022

Joe Buckely, Director for Executive Education


This course is offered as an open enrollment course on the UT campus or as a custom course at your preferred location.


William (Bill) Peterson is a lean best practices teacher and consultant with more than 30 years of hands-on experience using lean, Six Sigma, BPR, and other continuous improvement tools to enhance process efficiency, job satisfaction, and organizational performance.

Bill began developing his approach to lean methodology during his 26-year career with Delta’s
Technical Operations Division. At Delta, he saw firsthand that the productivity and job satisfaction of frontline workers was often constrained by the impact of business processes in other areas.

Realizing this—and realizing that no great lean achievements could be made without removing these additional constraints—set Bill on a life’s journey to develop a proven, repeatable methodology for business process improvement. Combining the ideas of great process thinkers with his own experiences and insights, Bill teaches this methodology to professionals in diverse industries.

Bill is a faculty member in the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business and a lecturer in UT’s Aerospace & Defense MBA program. He has worked extensively with the U.S. Air Force to improve acquisition and aircraft MRO processes, and has consulted for clients such as Asurion, TeamHealth, Hinckley Yachts, CenturyLink, Southwest Airlines, and Fokker Services. A certified Six Sigma Black Belt, he holds a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, an MBA in Aerospace & Defense from the University of Tennessee, and FAA Airframe and Powerplant Licenses.



Tuition includes most meals, single-room hotel lodging, on-campus transportation, materials/simulations and professional education credits, where applicable.