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Integrating lean and visual management in facilities management using design science and action research

Audrey Lynn Schultz (Department of Construction Management and Facilities Management, Pratt Institute, New York, New York, USA)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 13 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to create a value-based facilities management (FM) workplace by integrating lean principles, lean concepts, and specifically visual management technologies to improve efficiency, transparency, and value in the built environment.


The original research methodology used design science research framework with an action research (AR) approach. The chosen qualitative research methods included questionnaires, unstructured and semi-structured interviews, and participatory observation in action.


The facilities asset management department needs to align itself more strategically with organization leadership by understanding core business values, mission, and vision. It is essential they become a partner in creating a value-based contribution to the organizations bottom line and strategic plan. This can be established by embracing lean principles, concepts, and visual technologies, strategically linking the FM and asset management department to the organization holistically. The research acknowledged that a lean visual workplace management system could be introduced in facilities asset management with success. The findings suggest that change management should form part of the lean journey.

Research limitations/implications

The original research was limited in scope to one UK university estates and property services department’s lean journey and their third party outsourced FM service provider.


By using the visual workplace management system to integrate lean and visual management technologies in FM asset management systems value-based FM services and recognition from the C-suite will be achieved. Additionally, a new design science framework with an AR approach was developed as a research method



Schultz, A.L. (2017), "Integrating lean and visual management in facilities management using design science and action research", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 300-312.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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