Understanding the linkages between lean practices and performance improvements in Indian process industries

Avinash Panwar (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Khaitan Polytechnic College, Jaipur, India)
Bimal Nepal (Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution, Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas, USA)
Rakesh Jain (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)
Ajay P.S. Rathore (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)
Andrew Lyons (Management School, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Publication date: 13 March 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of lean practices on performance improvement of process industries in India.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a survey of Indian process industries, this paper proposes two sets of hypothesis to examine if there is any statistically significant impact of lean practices on certain specific performance metrics. First, the sample is classified into two classes of process industries: the adopters of lean and those who have not yet adopted the lean practices in their manufacturing operations. Then statistical tests are conducted to measure the differences in the level of performance between the two classes of Indian process industries with respect to nine performance measures. The survey results are augmented by two in-depth case studies. Case studies include one from lean adopter firms (a refinery) and another from the firms that have not yet adopted the lean practices (a primary metal manufacturing unit).

Findings

A survey result of 121 Indian process industries shows that adoption of lean practices results in a positive impact on inventory control, waste elimination, cost reduction, productivity, and quality improvement in process industries. On the other hand, based on the sample data on Indian process industries, no statistically significant improvement could be found on the lot size or space utilization between lean adopters and their counterparts.

Practical implications

This research provides guidance to the managers on how adoption of lean practices results in better performance in process industries in several operational areas.

Originality/value

To the knowledge, this study is the first attempt to analyze the impact of lean practices on a set of specific performance metrics in Indian process industry. Although this study focuses on the Indian process industry, the authors believe that findings of the research can inform other practitioners and researchers who are considering implementing lean in process industry sector in other developing countries like India.

Keywords

Citation

Panwar, A., Nepal, B., Jain, R., Rathore, A.P.S. and Lyons, A. (2017), "Understanding the linkages between lean practices and performance improvements in Indian process industries", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 117 No. 2, pp. 346-364. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-01-2016-0035

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

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