From Successful to Sustainable Lean Production: The Case of a Lean Prize Award Winner
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of mechanisms that turn an initially successful implementation of Lean production into a sustainable improvement program.
Design/methodology/approach – We performed an in-depth case study of a company that had succeeded in turning their initially successful implementation of Lean production into a sustainable improvement program. The main data collection approach included semi-structured interviews, observations and document studies. As a theoretical foundation we synthesized theories on sustainable improvement and the view of an organization as a system of interrelated, mutually adjusting components.
Findings – Many improvement programs do not persist because organizations focus on introducing new technology, processes, and practices, but fail to develop the ability to sustain the results (first-order sustainability) and the improvement program (second-order sustainability). Initial success of an improvement program can be achieved without achieving either first- or second-order sustainability. The key factor for achieving first-order sustainability is making the changes congruent with employees’ values and attitudes. For the second-order sustainability it is necessary that the improvement program itself develops over time.
Originality/value –By analyzing the case company as a system of interrelated and mutually adjusting components and looking at the sequence of changes over time, we were able to propose a set of factors that specifically contribute to the sustainability of an improvement program.
Lean production, Improvement program, sustainability
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-100163OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-100163DiVA: diva2:660559