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About Us

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


  • Create opportunities for lean leaders and practitioners in the Central Coast region of California to network and learn from each other.

  • Spread lean thinking in and beyond the bounds of manufacturing to services, education, healthcare, government and non-profits.

  • Create easy and effective ways for people to learn about lean and its potential to improve processes and organizations.

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

In order to better “build a community of lean practice on the Central Coast,” we are introducing Purpose Central Coast Lean or Purpose-CCL.  Purpose-CCL is the not for profit side of our organization.  Although Central Coast Lean as a Cal Poly sponsored project under the Orfalea College of Business has always been “not for profit,” it has become desirable to add additional flexibility in how we transact business.  For example, it might be the case that running an event outside of Cal Poly may be more cost effective in some situations.  Purpose-CCL is a California Public Benefit Corporation with a parallel mission to Central Coast Lean.  The accounting, funds, and identity is maintained separate from Central Coast Lean, but shares the same mission and much of the support staff.  It is our hope and belief that the addition of Purpose-CCL will help better serve our Central Coast Lean 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 2020 calendar of events.

Meet The Team

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Eric Olsen

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Dr. Eric Olsen is the founder and director of Central Coast Lean.  He has over 20 years of industry experience in engineering and manufacturing management at Caterpillar, Litton, and Hewlett Packard. Eric began his lean journey in 1990 and earned his his PhD in Management and Operations at The Ohio State University.  As a Professor in Industrial Technology in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly SLO for over 18 years, Eric teaches undergraduate and master’s courses in lean thinking, six sigma, and operations management. His other roles include being a founding member of the Lean Education Academic Network and the creator of Hobnob-SLO a local community building community.


Eric continues his professional development with a focus on creating new knowledge in operational excellence, biasing his research towards working with real companies and organizations. He has published, consulted, and trained in lean performance improvement, strategy deployment, and six sigma. He has ran numerous improvement events at Cal Poly and in the local community.


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Molly Madden 

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Carly Carroll

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Oliver Kensinger

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