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An assessment of managerial commitment to lean production

Kenneth K. Boyer (DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 September 1996



Research on just‐in‐time (JIT) production and total quality management (TQM) has taken a variety of approaches. Focuses on the degree to which these elements of lean production are aided by investments in the supporting manufacturing infrastructure of the firm. The literature generally supports the hypothesis that manufacturers must support lean production with concurrent investments focusing on the training and development of the workforce in order to be successful. Uses data from a mail survey of 202 plants in the metalworking industries to examine this hypothesis. Examines four types of investment in the manufacturing infrastructure: quality leadership on the part of management, the use of small groups or teams for problem solving, training, and worker empowerment. Each of these types of infrastructural investment is shown to be highly correlated with the degree of managerial commitment to both JIT and TQM. Indicates that lean producers do invest in the development of the workforce and the supporting manufacturing infrastructure. Manufacturers in the metalworking industries appear to be making strong efforts to provide the necessary support to JIT and TQM programmes, rather than just paying lip service to the concept without following the underlying, core principles.



Boyer, K.K. (1996), "An assessment of managerial commitment to lean production", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 16 No. 9, pp. 48-59.




Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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