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Internal lean practices and operational performance: The contingency perspective of industry clockspeed

Roberto Chavez (Business Network Dynamics (BuNeD), ESADE School of Business, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain)
Cristina Gimenez (Operations and Innovation Management, ESADE School of Business, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain)
Brian Fynes (Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Frank Wiengarten (Operations and Innovation Management, ESADE School of Business, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain)
Wantao Yu (Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, London, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 19 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to examine the effect of internal lean practices on multiple operational performance dimensions, and assess the contingency perspective of these relationships with respect to industry clockspeed.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on empirical data gathered from 228 manufacturing companies in the Republic of Ireland. The relationships between the constructs are analyzed through regression analysis.

Findings

The results indicate that the relationships between internal lean practices and quality, delivery, flexibility and cost were found to be positive and significant. Further, industry clockspeed was found to moderate the relationship between internal lean practices and quality, delivery and flexibility, but not cost.

Practical implications

While internal lean practices can improve operational performance, managers should be aware that internal lean practices are not universally applicable, and the rate of change within an industry should be considered at the time of implementing lean principles.

Originality/value

Much of the lean literature tends to be biased towards its effectiveness. However, empirical evidence shows that not all lean implementation have led to positive results, which has been attributed to the general complexity in the relationship between internal lean practices and performance. We propose to investigate further this relationship by disaggregating operational performance into four of its dimensions, namely quality, delivery, flexibility and cost, and by investigating the possible contingency effect of industry clockspeed.

Keywords

Citation

Chavez, R., Gimenez, C., Fynes, B., Wiengarten, F. and Yu, W. (2013), "Internal lean practices and operational performance: The contingency perspective of industry clockspeed", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 562-588. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571311322724

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited