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Towards addressing respect for people during lean implementation

Rojanette Coetzee (School of Industrial Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)
Liezl van Dyk (School of Industrial Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)
Karl Robert van der Merwe (Department of Industrial Engineering, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 16 October 2018

Issue publication date: 14 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate, report and interpret the true, original meaning of the Toyota Way Respect for People (RFP) principles as intended by their creators.

Design/methodology/approach

The investigation was conducted by means of a systematic literature review, and findings are reported in an RFP framework and interpreted by proposing a conceptual RFP lean implementation framework.

Findings

It was found that the literature on the subject is fragmented, though consistent, among various sources. No single framework was found that explained the RFP principles. The difference between and necessity for two value streams were discovered – a traditional product value stream that highlights problems and an additional people value stream that delivers people that can solve these problems. Furthermore, key emerging themes of RFP were found to be teamwork, develop and challenge people, motivation, develop people as problem-solvers, safety, remove waste and display people’s capabilities.

Research/limitations implications

The conceptual RFP lean implementation framework remains untested. Future research should, therefore, focus on gathering empirical data concerning the applicability and validity of the proposed conceptual RFP lean implementation framework in different contexts.

Practical implications

The explanation of the two different value streams allows organisations to shift their focus towards developing employees’ career paths, which will subsequently contribute towards improved organisational performance. The conceptual framework can also assist managers in providing the necessary psychological support during the change process of lean implementation. Thus, the proposed implementation framework suggests how to show RFP during lean implementation by assisting organisations to have a more balanced focus between the lean tools and techniques and the human side of lean management.

Originality/value

A contribution is made to the prevailing lean implementation literature by reporting the true, original meaning of the RFP principles as a single recapitulated framework. Furthermore, a conceptual RFP lean implementation framework is proposed that incorporates these RFP principles, according them the significance they are due. This review offers an understanding of the people aspect of lean implementation and proposes a practical means of addressing this often-neglected factor. The RFP framework and the RFP lean implementation framework could, therefore, possibly assist organisations in achieving more successful lean implementations.

Keywords

Citation

Coetzee, R., van Dyk, L. and van der Merwe, K.R. (2019), "Towards addressing respect for people during lean implementation", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 830-854. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLSS-07-2017-0081

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited