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An experimental investigation of lean management in aviation: Avoiding unforced errors for better supply chain

Raghu Kumar BR (Indian Armed Forces, Bangalore, India)
Milind Kumar Sharma (Department of Production and Industrial Engineering, J.N.V. University, Jodhpur, India)
Ashish Agarwal (Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, India)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to identify important factors those which constrain implementation and sustenance of lean strategies in aviation sector and ways to avoid slow attrition within annals of lean.


This research is exploratory in nature and survey methodology is used for assessing the post lean management implementation environment. The focus of study is cross-sectional, within aircraft industry based on the information collected through survey and a case study.


The reasons for the weak sustenance of lean initiative have been identified. The measures as undertaken in the case study implied a successful turnaround of specific department. Comparison with automobile industry indicates suggestions and pitfalls to be avoided with suitable illustration.

Research limitations/implications

The target of the study is the aircraft manufacturer and hence it has the limitation in terms of the scope. However, overall results are encouraging with the survey generating expected inputs and underline the need for similar research in the aerospace sector. The study has implications for managers in all types of industrial environment, especially in aviation, in the era of globalized lean supply chain establishment.

Practical implications

Inputs obtained are from both industrial research in a live environment and a case study which impacts lean management in industries.


This paper presents novel inputs regarding post lean implementation scenario in aviation sector, which has complicated internal processes. It also tries to establish factors relevant for any organization in assessing lean initiatives.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for their valuable comments without which the paper would not have taken the present shape. The authors would also like to thank the precious contribution of the people in the industry where the study was carried out, who remain unnamed due to obvious reasons. However their contribution has been instrumental in generating inputs and the case study which may prove to be highly beneficial to the organizations.


Kumar BR, R., Sharma , M.K. and Agarwal, A. (2015), "An experimental investigation of lean management in aviation: Avoiding unforced errors for better supply chain", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 231-260.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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