ERP systems in lean production: new insights from a review of lean and ERP literature

Daryl Powell (Department of Production and Quality Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Trondheim, Norway)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 11 November 2013



Faced with increasing global competition and growing customer expectations, manufacturers looking for significant performance improvements often look to one of the two choices: implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or applying the tools and techniques associated with lean production. In fact, many companies are today applying both approaches in an attempt to realise competitive advantage in the global marketplace. However, there seems to be an ongoing debate within the academic literature as to whether lean and ERP are complimentary or contradictory technologies. This paper aims to present a thorough and critical review of literature with the objective of bringing out pertinent factors and useful insights into the role and implications of ERP systems in lean production and to develop a research framework that can be used by researchers and practitioners for studying the value of integrating ERP with lean.


The research methodology employed is literature survey. Literature has been collected primarily through journals within the area of operations management. For rigorousness, textbooks, conference papers, white papers and dissertations have been excluded from the subsequent analysis. Though older literature has been considered to define the scope of this investigation, only literature published after the year 2000 has been considered in the analysis in order to be current in the research field.


The paper proposes a classification scheme for the current research on ERP and lean production, which identifies six major areas in the extant literature. The literature survey is used to find existing research gaps and provides a research framework for future research directions regarding applications and implications of ERP systems in lean production.


This paper fulfils an identified need to study the interactions between ERP systems and lean production.



The author would like to give thanks to the project SFI NORMAN (Norwegian Manufacturing Future) which has provided the funding to make this research possible (


Powell, D. (2013), "ERP systems in lean production: new insights from a review of lean and ERP literature", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 No. 11/12, pp. 1490-1510.

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