Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lean Lego Simulation - It's back!

Last year I posted about a Lean Lego simulation at the Aberdeen Lean forums. Sadly, the website closed up shop shortly after and the information disappeared into the ether.

But all was not lost!

I was recently contacted by the game creator, Michael Thelen, who sent me two files to re-post for him. I've posted the game instructions and accompanying presentation in all their glory on

You can view the files below.
Michael Thelen can be found on twitter and linkedin, if you have any questions about this Lego simulation.

LEGO Simulation Overview

LEGO Simulation Instructions

Direct links to the files on scribd:
Lean Lego Simulation Instructions
Lego Simulation Overview

Many more Lean games are on my list!


  1. These simulations are a great way to demonstrate some very key principles. We did a similar exercise using "signature cards". In this instance mastering the "task" is less of a concern and the focus is on flow and net inventory.

    I also like the dice / token game that simulates production demand based on the roll of a die. It demonstrates the flaw in "average" demand assumptions and so much more.

    Glad to see this posted. Nice work.

  2. Thanks for the kind comments. I definitely like the games that show the difference between batch and pull. In fact, mastering the task is good in some cases, since the fast learner will stack up a ton of inventory at their station. Good teaching tool.

    The MIT dice game uses dice to introduce variability into each process.

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for posting this.

    Do you happen to have the resultstemplates.xls that is referenced in the overview file? :)

    you can email me at

  4. Hello,
    First of all, thanks for sharing this simulation. It looks pretty good!
    I have a doubt, what does the changeover consist in? and, could you please send me the excel files?
    Once again, thanks a lot.

    1. Thanks for the comment. This is a general overview of the game. I don't have the exact details for the changeover, but I expect it has to deal with organizing the bricks by colour. Perhaps there's a timer as the operator switches colours.
      It's best to contact the game creator if you're interested in the files. His contact information is in the post above.

  5. From my experience from playing different game I always tell operators, that every time we have a different color they need to raise their hands up and count 10 SMED, next round you can reduce it to 5 SMED. I do the same for breakdowns, rolling a dice to pick a station, where the breakdown will occur. Operators needs to count 15 TPM and of course frequency of breakdowns is reduced every round.

    1. Thanks for the comment on how to do changeovers. If you have enough people, you can have someone "police" the changeover time with a stopwatch or just by doing the counting.