Lean Lego Simulation with Siemens

Marc Fouldes and Joanne Mellor from Siemens in Congleton recently spent the day with the Year 5s and 6s of Rode Heath Primary, teaching them the Lean principles of Manufacturing. This session is one of a series of activities planned by the company to help the school with its engineering project.

The task was to build as many Lego carts as possible in a specified time frame. Each session comprised a team of 12 children working together. Initially, the participants were faced with several constraints: they were not sitting in the natural order of production; they had to wait for designated children to feed them with new parts and they were not allowed to pass their completed pieces to the next stage in the production line – this was done by other children, acting as line feeders.

After 4 minutes, the activity was stopped and the children could make changes to improve the efficiency of production. All the teams decided to rearrange the work areas to improve the flow and move the required components directly in front of them to speed up the manufacturing process.

 With these changes the children were able to produce twice as many cars in the same amount of time – something they didn’t originally believe could be done. The day was a resounding success, with the winning team, “Lego Busters”, from Year 5, receiving an impressive trophy from Siemens. The children are already thinking about how they can apply what they have learned in their day to day practice in the classroom.

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The children have written about their experiences:

Siemens visit to Rode Heath

 On Friday 10th February Siemens visited Y5 and Y6. For the second time, they have managed to impress us all. They came with lots of Lego, designed to create a cart once put together. The competition was based on teamwork. Each team had a total of 12 members in it.

There were 7 operators, who each had a part in making the car. Their job was to make as many cars as they could before the time ran out. There were 2 quality checkers: one who looked at how well the vehicle functioned and the other on how it looked. Finally, there were the store workers and the line servers. Because the operators only had a few of what they needed, the store workers got any extra supplies that they needed and the line severs took them to the person who needed them.   

After the first run, we were allowed to make some changes to try and improve our performance. Surprisingly, we then managed to make more in 4 minutes than we had made in 8 minutes.

We are now in suspense to find out which team won!

Isobelle Jenkins
Year 5



What you used to do:

  • When you get up to get some colouring pencils you probably used to get them 1 or 2 at a time and then went up again to get some more. This is wasting time and effort.
  • When you were doing a test you probably found a question where you were struggling and spent ages on it. This is not good as it wastes time and you might not get all the questions done.
  • When at home and making a hot chocolate, you usually get your water and put it in the kettle and then you turn the kettle on. Then you wait for it to finish. Next you probably go and get your cup and then pour the water into the cup and go back to the cupboard and get out you hot chocolate and then walk back and so on. This is wasting your energy and wasting your time.

What you need to do:

  • When you get up to get the colouring pencils, make sure to get all the pencils you need at one time. This is saving time and energy.
  • When you are doing a test, if you get stuck on a question, go on to the next one. You are saving time.
  • While the kettle is boiling, go and get the things that you need so that you don’t waste time afterwards.

By Claris and Megan



So, what did the Siemens representatives think about the children’s efforts?

Jo and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and everyone worked brilliantly.
All the teams made pretty much the same changes to improve the process:

  • Work areas rearranged to improve the flow of production
  • Material moved line side to remove lost time waiting around.

With these changes the children produced more in half of the time that they had previously been allocated.  Something that they didn’t believe could be done at first !

The winning team was……  LEGO BUSTERS! 

Lego Busters – 43 cars
Popcorn Panda – 41 cars
Lego Masters – 38 cars
Pompom1101 – 36 cars
Master Builders – 36 cars

We are already looking forward to running this again in 2018!













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