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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2015

Hans J.T. Doevendans, Nigel Peter Grigg and Jane Goodyer

This paper aims to present findings from a research project that investigated the suitability of Lean in a seasonal horticultural setting, specifically the New Zealand…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present findings from a research project that investigated the suitability of Lean in a seasonal horticultural setting, specifically the New Zealand (NZ) apple and pear (pipfruit) industry. The paper focusses on improvements made while deploying Lean elements in several apple pack-houses.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature review discusses how common theoretical Lean themes are not industry or contextually bound and may be transferable to other industries. An industry-wide survey assesses the current state of knowledge and Lean deployment within the industry using a unique “single-question-per-day” approach. Two case studies and one action research study are used to obtain rich data from organisations that have implemented Lean in recent times. Reliability and validity is achieved by selecting representative samples, using a case study protocol, a single researcher for consistency, participant verification, multiple sources of evidence within cases and replication logic.

Findings

The industry survey shows a low level of knowledge and applied Lean within the industry. Data demonstrate that significant progress is made, using different implementation approaches that lead to a measurable increase of Lean, supported by some positive financial indicators.

Research limitations/implications

This research is restricted to NZ apple pack-houses, but indicates that Lean can contribute significantly to general horticultural pack house performance.

Originality/value

Literature research shows that little research has been done to study Lean in the horticultural field generally and in the NZ pipfruit industry specifically. This paper contributes to filling that knowledge gap.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

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