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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2020

Guilherme Tortorella, Rapinder Sawhney, Daniel Jurburg, Istefani Carisio de Paula, Diego Tlapa and Matthias Thurer

The objective of this research is twofold. First, we aim at identifying the pairwise relationships between Lean Production (LP) practices and Industry 4.0 (I4.0…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this research is twofold. First, we aim at identifying the pairwise relationships between Lean Production (LP) practices and Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies. Second, based on these results, we propose a framework for Lean Automation (LA) implementation, in which I4.0 technologies are integrated into LP practices.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve that, a cross-sector survey was performed with 147 manufacturers that are undergoing a LP implementation aided by novel information and communication technologies from I4.0. Multivariate data analysis was applied in order to underpin the proposed framework for LA.

Findings

Findings indicate that I4.0 technologies are positively correlated with LP practices, providing evidence to bear the proposition of a LA framework that can potentially overcome traditional barriers and challenges of a LP implementation.

Originality/value

As previous studies have approached LA implementation from a narrow perspective or including a limited set of LP practices and I4.0 technologies, the proposition of an integrated framework unfolds a wider range of synergistic implementations that may corroborate to a holistic approach for continuous improvement in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 December 2019

Léony Luis Lopes Negrão, Moacir Godinho Filho, Gilberto Miller Devós Ganga, Sunil Chopra, Matthias Thürer, Mário Sacomano Neto and Giuliano Almeida Marodin

The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption of lean practices by manufacturing companies in regions of low economic and technological development and to compare…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption of lean practices by manufacturing companies in regions of low economic and technological development and to compare findings with previous studies from more developed regions highlighting important contextual differences. The paper uses the contingency theory to explore how contextual variables and scarce resources influence the adoption of lean practices.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of 233 manufacturing firms was conducted in the State of Pará in the Amazon Region of Brazil.

Findings

The results demonstrate that six internal lean practices (single minute exchange of dies, human resource management, continuous flow, total productive maintenance, pull and statistical process control) and two external lean practices (supplier feedback and customer involvement) are implemented. However, the two external lean practices of just-in-time delivery by suppliers and supplier development were not implemented. Furthermore, from the 36 operating items comprised in eight lean practices that are being used, 13 were not implemented. As such, compared to developed regions, there is evidence for a more fragmented implementation in less developed regions. The results reveal empirical evidence explained by the contingency perspective, such as national, geographical, strategic context and culture.

Originality/value

There is broad evidence on lean implementation in developed and developing countries in the literature. However, little is known about lean implementation in poorer regions of developing counties. This is one of the first studies mapping lean implementation in a region with low economic and technological development. This has important implications for research and practice, especially to cross-country/cultural research on operation management.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 58 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2016

Roberto Sarmiento, Matthias Thurer and Garvan Whelan

The purpose of this paper is to further clarify the link between the theoretical and practical/real-life implications of a seminal topic in the strategic operations…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to further clarify the link between the theoretical and practical/real-life implications of a seminal topic in the strategic operations management field: Wickham Skinner’s strategic trade-offs model. This will help researchers, practitioners and students to realize the “everyday life” consequences of this highly influential model.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical analysis is made of previous research dealing with the strategic trade-offs model. Building on these investigations, a Popperian approach is used to logically develop the model, and the authors demonstrate how it can be empirically tested.

Findings

Previous investigations on Skinner’s model mainly focus on trade-offs between competitive capabilities (e.g. cost, quality, delivery) at the firm level. This paper demonstrates that the implications of this model necessarily should include consideration of the strategic trade-offs between the competitive characteristics of products/services that practitioners, students and the general public can observe.

Originality/value

While previous investigations have provided necessary clarifications, no paper has addressed the issue of the existence of strategic trade-offs between the competitive characteristics of products/services. This paper offers guidelines for researchers and practitioners on the way that the strategic trade-offs model can be conceptualized, understood and tested.

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Matthias Thürer, Mark Stevenson, Roberto Sarmiento and Peter Gianiodis

The purpose of this paper is to reaffirm the suggestion that there are at least two distinct types of laws of trade-off that affect all firms and, in doing so, to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reaffirm the suggestion that there are at least two distinct types of laws of trade-off that affect all firms and, in doing so, to contribute toward resolving the persistent trade-off debate in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

Conceptual study using implicit deductive reasoning.

Findings

Two types of trade-offs are identified: “internal” can be understood following the dictates of the law of diminishing returns, while “external” can be modeled using the principle of energy conservation.

Research limitations/implications

New insights are provided by discussing the impact of both laws of trade-off on the resource-based view of the firm, on new capabilities such as sustainability and innovativeness and on key strategic choices.

Practical implications

The study explains why trade-offs occur and outlines contextual factors that determine the “strength” of the trade-offs.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no previous study has attempted to investigate the topic of strategic trade-offs on the basis of the principle of energy conservation.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 40 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2019

Yongli Tang, Xinyue Hu, Claudio Petti and Matthias Thürer

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Chinese firms’ innovation is related to their perceived incentives and pressures from the transitioning institutional environment.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Chinese firms’ innovation is related to their perceived incentives and pressures from the transitioning institutional environment.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 166 manufacturing firms located in Guangdong Province (China) is analyzed using binomial and moderated multiple regression models.

Findings

The results show that institutional incentives are more effective in promoting incremental innovations than radical ones, whereas institutional pressures are more pronounced in facilitating radical innovations than incremental ones. In addition, the interaction between the two divergent institutional forces is negatively related to innovation performance.

Practical implications

The findings inform managers and policy makers in institutional transition environments to consider and balance the effects of institutional forces. Firms should match the institutional incentives and pressures with their own innovation objectives in terms of incremental or radical goals, and take caution to deal with the divergent institutional directions, so as to avoid the negative interaction effects. Policy makers should take a systems approach when considering the incentive-based and/or command-and-control designs of innovation policies and regulations.

Originality/value

The study contributes to existing literature on institutions and innovation by disentangling incentive and pressure effects of institutions, regulation and innovation policies, as well as the combined and interaction effects intrinsic within institutional mixes.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 58 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 November 2018

Matthias Thürer, Thomas Maschek, Lawrence Fredendall, Peter Gianiodis, Mark Stevenson and Jochen Deuse

The purpose of this paper is to show that Hoshin Kanri has the potential to integrate the operations strategy literature into a coherent structure. Hoshin Kanri’s planning…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show that Hoshin Kanri has the potential to integrate the operations strategy literature into a coherent structure. Hoshin Kanri’s planning process is typically described as a top-down cascading of goals, starting with the senior management’s goals and moving to the lowest organizational level. The authors argue that this misrepresents a firm’s actual cognitive processes in practice because it implies reasoning from the effects to the cause, and assumes a direct causal relationship between what the customer wants and what is realizable by the system.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is conceptual, based on abductive reasoning and the literature.

Findings

The actual strategic thought process executed in an organization consists of three iterative processes: (i) a translation process that derives the desired customer attributes from customer/stakeholder data, (ii) a process of causal inference that predicts realizable customer attributes from a possible system design and (iii) an integrative process of strategic choices whereby (i) and (ii) are aligned. Each element relies on different cognitive processes (logical relation, causal relation and choice).

Research limitations/implications

By aligning the thought and planning processes, the competing concepts of manufacturing strategy are integrated into a coherent structure.

Practical implications

Different techniques have to be applied for each of the three elements. As each element relies on different cognitive processes (logical relation, causal relation and choice), the use of unifying tools (e.g. in the form of matrices, as often presented in the literature) is inappropriate.

Originality/value

This is the first study to focus on the thought processes underpinning manufacturing strategy.

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Cristóvão Silva, Mark Stevenson and Matthias Thurer

Workload control (WLC) is a Production Planning and Control concept of particular relevance to small and medium sized make-to-order companies. Despite the simplicity of…

Abstract

Purpose

Workload control (WLC) is a Production Planning and Control concept of particular relevance to small and medium sized make-to-order companies. Despite the simplicity of its core principles, few successful implementations have been reported, and both understanding and awareness of the concept amongst practitioners is limited. The authors describe a rare successful implementation of WLC in which elements of the concept were embedded in a company to support both customer enquiry management and order release. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the implementation process itself rather than the impact on performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A particularly novel aspect of the case is that the implementation was practitioner (rather than researcher) led. A manager chose to read up on and implement the concept, creating a strong in-house commitment to the initiative. The researchers played a facilitating role, e.g. intervening where necessary to answer questions and advise. A factory visit/tour and interview were also conducted post implementation to reflect on the process.

Findings

The authors identify the elements of WLC implemented by the practitioner and how they were refined to meet company requirements, with implications for improving the alignment between theory and practice. The paper also informs the implementation process, for example, by highlighting the importance of managerial championing for implementation success and how WLC can be implemented based on a reasonably simple Excel© spreadsheet.

Research limitations/implications

More empirical evidence is required to assess the generality of some of the adaptations made by the practitioner; and to collect longitudinal quantitative evidence on the performance of WLC over time. Simulations could also be conducted to confirm the effectiveness of adaptations observed in the study.

Practical implications

The case has implications for the process of implementing WLC and may provoke a rethink in terms of the range of companies for which the concept is thought to be appropriate – the case described is of a larger, higher volume company than most previous WLC implementations.

Originality/value

A rare case of a successful implementation of WLC at both the customer enquiry management and order release levels; the only practitioner-led implementation of WLC reported in the literature to date.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2013

Matthias Thürer, Moacir Godinho Filho, Mark Stevenson and Lawrence D. Fredendall

The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of small manufacturing companies in Brazil. The paper seeks to identify their competitive priorities based on their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of small manufacturing companies in Brazil. The paper seeks to identify their competitive priorities based on their recent developments and their anticipated opportunities and challenges.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an exploratory study based on semi‐structured telephone interviews. The interview guide contained around 30, mainly open‐ended questions.

Findings

The research both confirms and refutes previous research. It refutes the “traditional view” that small firms are driven by cost, quality, flexibility and delivery only; it supports recent research which has argued that there has been a shift in terms of what competitive priorities are being pursued. More specifically, innovativeness was identified as an important new competitive priority, but there was little evidence in support of other recently proposed priorities like security and sustainability.

Research limitations/implications

This study is restricted to one area of Brazil (São Carlos). Further research is therefore necessary to confirm the relevance of the findings to other small firms in other regions, e.g. through a large‐scale survey.

Originality/value

Much of the available literature focuses on large firms in developed economies, and it assumes operations strategy is built on four “traditional” broad competitive priorities. This study provides insight into the state of small manufacturers in an emerging economy. It identifies innovativeness as a fifth key priority and argues that firms must compete on a blend of outcomes; this adds to the complexity of managerial tasks.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 113 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 23 March 2021

Harry Boer, Henrike E.E. Boer and Atanu Chaudhuri

Abstract

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2019

Rodrigo E. Peimbert-García, Timothy Matis, Jaime H. Beltran-Godoy, Claudia L. Garay-Rondero, Julio C. Vicencio-Ortiz and Diana López-Soto

The purpose of this study is to assess the state at which lean and six sigma (LSS) are used as a management system to improve the national health system national health…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess the state at which lean and six sigma (LSS) are used as a management system to improve the national health system national health system of Mexico.

Design/methodology/approach

Cross-sectional survey-research. The survey was administered at 30 different hospitals across six states in Mexico. These were selected using convenience sampling and participants (N = 258) were selected through random/snowball sampling procedures, including from top managers down to front-line staff.

Findings

Only 16 per cent of respondents reported participation in LSS projects. Still, these implementations are limited to using isolated tools, mainly 5s, failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) and Fishbone diagram, with the lack of training/knowledge and financial resources as the top disabling factors. Overall, LSS has not become systematic in daily management and operations.

Research limitations/implications

The sampling procedure was by convenience; however, every attempt was made to ensure a lack of bias in the individual responses. If still there was a bias, it is conjectured that this would likely be in overestimating the penetration of LSS.

Practical implications

The penetration of LSS management practices into the Mexican health system is in its infancy, and the sustainability of current projects is jeopardized given the lack of systematic integration. Hence, LSS should be better spread and communicated across healthcare organizations in Mexico.

Originality/value

This is the first research work that evaluates the use of LSS management practices in a Latin American country, and the first journal paper that focuses on LSS in healthcare in Mexico.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

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