The purpose of this paper is to examine whether there are different configurations of lean bundles leading to successful (bad) financial performance and to explore how the complementarities and substitutions between lean bundles shape these configurations.
A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) was performed on 19 manufacturing firms. Data on financial performance (return-on-asset and growth rate) were retrieved from the AIDA database and data on the lean bundles of just-in-time, total quality management, total preventive maintenance and human resource management were collected via surveys conducted in all the plants belonging to the sampled firms.
None of the lean bundles is able to explain alone the firm’s successful financial performance. Lean bundles always have to be complemented by other lean bundles. There are different, equifinal configurations of lean bundles leading to successful (bad) financial performance. Configurations characterized by low implementation of lean bundles are related to bad financial performance.
By finding different configurations of lean bundles associated with successful and bad financial performance, this study informs operations managers on the most effective investments concerning the implementation of lean manufacturing.
This study extends literature on complementarities in lean manufacturing literature. It also bridges together apparently contradictory research on the relationship between lean manufacturing and financial performance. Finally, the study demonstrates that lean bundles have different roles in reaching successful and bad financial performance.
Galeazzo, A. and Furlan, A. (2018), "Lean bundles and configurations: a fsQCA approach", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 513-533. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-11-2016-0657
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