Could “Lean Lite” be the cost effective solution to applying lean manufacturing in developing economies?

Lara Chaplin, John Heap, Simon T. J. O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to suggest a solution to the problem of implementing a full “Lean” methodology for small-/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a developing economy. Design/methodology/approach – This is a reflective paper that looks at an illustrative case study against the wider perspectives of the financial and resource costs of implementing a full lean programme in a developing country and suggests that using a “Lean Lite” approach may help the consultant/manager introduce lean concepts into a manufacturing organisation in a developing country. Findings – The paper concludes that “Lean Lite” as an approach that can be used to introduce lean initiatives in an SME in a developing economy by allowing a company with very limited resources to engage not only in business improvement but also in improving working conditions and education for employees. Research limitations/implications – The observations are limited to a single case study, although tempered by the authors’ wider experience. Further empirical research and critique of the original research is required to validate the observations and conclusions. Practical implications – The proposed “Lean Lite” initiative can help to introduce lean concepts to an organisation with limited financial and other resources. This helps organisations to increase productivity and assists the adoption of the lean philosophy and principles in a developing economy. The approach may also be used to engage in a wider corporate social responsibility strategy at ground level. Social implications – The social benefits as a result of implementing a Lean Lite approach include improving working conditions and educating employees. Originality/value – The paper proposes an approach that can be used to widen organisational involvement in lean initiatives in a developing economy by allowing a company with limited resources to engage not only in business improvement but also in improving working conditions and education for employees. As such the approach has both economic and social benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-136
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Pakistan
  • SME
  • Lean
  • Economic and social benefits
  • Developing economy
  • Lean Lite

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