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About Us

Vision: Build an enduring community of lean practice on the Central Coast.


  1. Facilitate networking and learning for Central Coast lean leaders and practitioners.

  2. Extend lean principles from manufacturing to services, education, healthcare, government, and non-profits.

  3. Simplify learning about lean for process and organizational improvement.

Working Definition of Lean

Lean is a principled and practical approach that maintains or increases customer value while improving processes and operational effectiveness by engaging teams in problem solving.

Announcing: Purpose Central Coast Lean

We're launching Purpose Central Coast Lean (Purpose-CCL) to enhance our community-building efforts. While Central Coast Lean is Cal Poly-sponsored and not-for-profit, Purpose-CCL adds flexibility for efficient transactions, such as organizing cost-effective events outside Cal Poly. As a California Public Benefit Corporation, Purpose-CCL operates separately but shares the same mission and support staff as Central Coast Lean, aiming to better serve our community-building mission.

Eric Olsen by flipchart facilitating.


  • Action research involving local organizations.

  • Benchmarking and surveys of lean practice.

  • Lean Forums:  Meetings open to the public. Forums typically include networking, a presentation on a lean topic or organization, a discussion, and a round robin of other issues of concern to the participants.

  • Lean Coffee:  Open meeting where participants propose topics to discuss and then vote on which topics are selected.  Topic discussions are time controlled and democratically facilitated.

  • Kaizen Events:  Targeted at improving specific processes or problems brought forward by organizations inside and outside Cal Poly.

  • Strategic Planning and Strategy Deployment Workshops:  These are partial, single, or multi day bounded workshops that help organizations develop and deploy effective strategies. A paradigm of “hoshin kanri” or lean strategy deployment is applied.

  • Central Coast Lean Workshops:  These are half to multi day events that can supplement or replace internal lean training for an organization.

  • Central Coast Lean Summit:  This is an annual conference held in support of lean implementation on the Central Coast. Local and outside experts present and lead workshops. It is usually 1.5 days long.

  • Other Activities:  in line with the goals of Central Coast Lean.


Check out our Lean Leadership Workshop Series featuring hands-on experiences to help you master the fundamentals of lean methodology. 

Free events

Purpose CCL is proud to offer various free lean learning events. Click below to see our upcoming free events. 

lean Six Sigma

Build professional capabilities in our Lean Six Sigma course series. Green Belt and Black Belt training and certifications are available year-round.


Stay up to date with our 2023 calendar of events.

Meet The Team

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Eric Olsen

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Dr. Eric Olsen, founder of Central Coast Lean, brings over 20 years of industry experience from companies like Caterpillar, Litton, and Hewlett Packard. He initiated his lean journey in 1990 and holds a PhD in Management and Operations from The Ohio State University. With 18+ years as a Professor in Industrial Technology at Cal Poly SLO, he teaches lean thinking, six sigma, and operations management. He is also a founding member of the Lean Education Academic Network and the creator of Hobnob-SLO, a local community-building initiative.

Eric focuses on operational excellence, specializing in research with real companies. He has expertise in lean performance improvement, strategy deployment, and six sigma. Eric has published, consulted, and conducted improvement events at Cal Poly and in the local community.


Bruno Klass

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Will Clark

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Frances Radovan

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Molly Madden 

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