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Towards a Lean Integration of Lean
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Innofacture)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1518-7958
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Integrating Lean in a process has become increasingly popular over the last decades. Lean as a concept has spread through industry into other sectors such as service, healthcare, and administration. The overwhelming experience from this spread is that Lean is difficult to integrate successfully. It takes a long time and requires large resources in the integration,

as it permeates all aspects of a process. Lean is a system depending on both tools and methods as well as human effort and behavior. There is therefore a need to understand the integration process itself. As many companies have worked with the integration of Lean, there should be a great deal of accumulated knowledge.

The overall intent of this research is therefore to examine how a current state of a Lean integration can be established, that takes into account the dualism of Lean regarding the technical components of Lean, as well as the humanistic components of Lean. Both issues must be addressed if the integration process of Lean is to be efficient. 

Through a literature review, eight views of Lean are established. Taking into consideration historical, foundational, and evolutionary tools and methods, systems, philosophical, cultural, and management views, a comprehensive model of Lean at a group level in a process is proposed. Through two multiple-case studies, the experiences of actual Lean integrations are compared with Lean theory to establish a current state of a Lean integration. There were large similarities in the experiences but also differences due to context and the complexity of Lean as a system. The current state is described in:

  • 9 instances of strongly positive findings. They are often simple tools and methods.
  • 11 instances of weakly positive findings. They are often of a system nature in the dependencies between the Lean methods.
  • 3 instances with vague findings. Seems to be due to lack of focus on the intent of integrating Lean.
  • 3 instances of mixed findings. Can often be connected to personal commitment and the creation of efficient islands.
  • 3 instances of conflicting findings. Seem to be connected to contextual factors.
  • 3 instances of insufficient data. The indications are too few to draw any conclusions. 

Accurately establishing the current state of the Lean integration process is seen as a necessary first step of a Lean integration of Lean.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University , 2015. , 155 p.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 205
Keyword [en]
Lean Integration Flexibility Management
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27897ISBN: 978-91-7485-208-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-27897DiVA: diva2:807862
Presentation
2015-06-09, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-04-27 Created: 2015-04-24 Last updated: 2015-05-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Examination of the flexibility paradox in a Lean system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Examination of the flexibility paradox in a Lean system
2014 (English)In: , 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores if Lean is to be considered flexible or not. A multiple case study in the automotive industry is conducted to find the dependencies between Lean and flexibility. Since many definitions of flexibility and Lean exists, a pragmatic approach is sought where each cases own definition of Lean is used to analyze if the factors that enable flexibility are to be considered Lean or not. The context of this paper is volume and product flexibility.

Lean and flexibility are found to be independent of each other in a direct sense. However, indirectly it is found that flexibility in a Lean context is achieved through decisions made when finding solution during problem solving. Also, the level of flexibility can also be seen as a decision. Therefore Lean in itself cannot be regarded as either flexible nor inflexible but flexibility can be achieved when choosing solutions to particular problems.

Keyword
Lean, Assembly systems, Flexibility, Variation, Efficiency, Mixed model lines
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27896 (URN)
Conference
58th EOQ conference, 10-13 June, 2014, Gothenburg, Sweden
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-04-24 Created: 2015-04-24 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved
2. Flexibility in Lean Mixed Model Assembly Lines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexibility in Lean Mixed Model Assembly Lines
2014 (English)In: IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 440, 2014, no PART 3, 224-231 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the research presented in this paper has been to characterize flexibility in lean mixed model assembly lines through exploring mechanisms used to achieve flexibility. The study combines a literature review and a multiple case study in two manufacturing companies. Scenarios of volume, mix and operation flexibility, as well as flexibility to introduce or remove products were studied. The results showed that to achieve flexibility related to these scenarios other kinds of flexibilities were used. Common mechanisms to achieve flexibility have been found in the two cases. A characterization of mixed model assembly lines regarding flexibility will be discussed. 

Keyword
flexibility, lean, Mixed model assembly lines
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-25978 (URN)10.1007/978-3-662-44733-8_28 (DOI)2-s2.0-84906923655 (Scopus ID)9783662447321 (ISBN)
Conference
IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference on Advances in Production Management Systems, APMS 2014; Ajaccio; France; 20 September 2014 through 24 September 2014
Available from: 2014-09-19 Created: 2014-09-19 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved
3. Exploring approaches how to measure a lean process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring approaches how to measure a lean process
2013 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose The purpose of the research is to explore a practical method of measuring the implementation of lean in a process. The method will be based on examining the abilities of a group. At this scale the ability to work standardized and solve problems is important. These two abilities are dependent of each other and are fundamental for the group’s ability to create a stable result. In this context the method of standardized work (SW) is define to be the methods used in a process to generate stable results. Problem solving (PS) is defined as the methods used to return a process to a condition where SW is possible. Methodology / approach The research is conducted in a multiple case study in four large global manufacturing companies. The order of the data collection is: Firstly, interviews with the individuals that are centrally responsible for overall implementation of lean in the organization. Secondly, observe the implementation of SW and PS at the group level. In total 7 groups have been studied and 19 respondents interviewed. Findings Results show that the central definition of the methods for standardized work does not by itself have a direct impact on success of implementation of SW at group level. The method of SW where similar on a general level in the different cases, but with varying levels of implementation at group level. Results also show that key factors for a successful implementation of standardized work on group level are: Ownership of the process, Direct connection to result of process, Correct workload and Leader demand. Methods of PS at group level where dissimilar despite a superficially similar approach. The evaluation method used was successful in providing comparable results between the cases. Research limitations A limitation of this research is within the scale of the measurement, as it only examines the group level. The research is further limited to four companies and seven groups. Originality/value of paper This paper aims to fill a gap in the established measurement methods of lean, as it examines the abilities of SW and PS at the group level of a process. These abilities are often referred to as essential in lean theory. However, there has been little scholarly work in defining the methods of SW and PS or the key factors affecting the methods at an operational level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Portorož, Slovenia: , 2013
Keyword
Lean, Performance measures, Problem solving, Standardized work, Stability
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23308 (URN)
Conference
16th QMOD-ICQSS, Quality Management and Organizational Development Conference, International Conference Quality and Service Sciences,4-6 September 2013, Portoroz, Slovenia
Projects
XPRESINNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2013-12-15 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved

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