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Lean implementation and a process approach – an exploratory study

Anna Rymaszewska (University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper proposes, that without acknowledging that lean adoption needs to reach beyond the shop floor, it cannot be sustained, and neither is the transformation into a truly lean enterprise possible. The purpose of this paper is to address the gap in the scientific knowledge regarding the challenges of lean adoption in manufacturing organizations. The underlying assumption is that successful and sustainable adoption of lean should be approached from the perspective of business process change (BPC). By applying the logic of BPC to manufacturing environments, and by exploring the opportunities for lean implementation that reach far beyond manufacturing, the study is expected to contribute to the development of the existing knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

The research objectives were achieved by conducting the qualitative case study. Two case companies were chosen based on their differing approaches to the introduction and implementation of lean initiatives. Data were collected through in depth, semi-structured interviews supported by shop-floor observations.

Findings

The paper provides insights into how can lean implementation be facilitated while a systematic, BPC is utilized. By contrasting the two cases, meaningful conclusions were drawn and certain managerial implications outlined.

Originality/value

This paper presents a new approach to lean implementation and aims to bridge both the theoretical and empirical gaps between the concepts of lean implementation and business process management.

Keywords

Citation

Rymaszewska, A. (2017), "Lean implementation and a process approach – an exploratory study", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 1122-1137. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-02-2016-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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