Critical success factors for lean implementation within SMEs

Pius Achanga (Department of Enterprise Integration, School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science, Centre for Decision Engineering, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
Esam Shehab (Department of Enterprise Integration, School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science, Centre for Decision Engineering, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
Rajkumar Roy (Department of Enterprise Integration, School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science, Centre for Decision Engineering, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
Geoff Nelder (Department of Enterprise Integration, School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science, Centre for Decision Engineering, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 1 June 2006

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this research paper is to present the critical factors that constitute a successful implementation of lean manufacturing within manufacturing SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

A combination of comprehensive literature review and visits to ten SMEs based in the East of the UK were employed in the study. The companies' practices were observed to highlight the degree of lean manufacturing utilisation within these companies. This was followed by interviewing of the relevant and key personnel involved in lean implementation. Results were analysed and validated through workshops, case studies and Delphi techniques.

Findings

Several critical factors that determine the success of implementing the concept of lean manufacturing within SMEs are identified. Leadership, management, finance organisational culture and skills and expertise, amongst other factors; are classified as the most pertinent issues critical for the successful adoption of lean manufacturing within SMEs environment.

Research limitations/implications

Continued scepticism within SMEs about the benefits of lean to their business is one of the fundamental limitations this research faces. SMEs are, therefore, not very willing to provide useful information and data, timely for further investigation.

Originality/value

The novelty of this research project stems from the realisation of critical factors determining a successful implementation of lean manufacturing within SMEs environment. The results would provide SMEs with indicators and guidelines for a successful implementation of lean principles.

Keywords

Citation

Achanga, P., Shehab, E., Roy, R. and Nelder, G. (2006), "Critical success factors for lean implementation within SMEs", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 460-471. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380610662889

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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