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Journal cover: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X
Previously published as: Integrated Manufacturing Systems

Online from: 2004

Subject Area: Operations and Logistics Management

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Leanness: experiences from the journey to date


Document Information:
Title:Leanness: experiences from the journey to date
Author(s):T.C. Papadopoulou, (Department of Systems Engineering, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK), M. Özbayrak, (Department of Systems Engineering, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK)
Citation:T.C. Papadopoulou, M. Özbayrak, (2005) "Leanness: experiences from the journey to date", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 16 Iss: 7, pp.784 - 807
Keywords:Just in time, Lean production, Manufacturing systems
Article type:General review
DOI:10.1108/17410380510626196 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – Although leanness is certainly not a new concept it is doubtless still relevant. Interestingly, newly developed manufacturing paradigms and systems are always examined in relation to leanness. In other words, leanness serves in most cases as the landmark paradigm with which comparisons are being drawn between the latter and recently pioneered approaches. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the evolutional orbit that leanness has followed over the years and serve as a herald of the current state of this evolution, which will be discussed further, in a separate paper.

Design/methodology/approach – A great part of this paper is devoted to highlighting the misconceptions surrounding issues such as what leanness really constitutes and what are the key concepts and practices that leanness encompasses. Two successful lean transition stories are presented showing how these lean tools and techniques were implemented in the cases of two UK-based manufacturing companies.

Findings – Because of its inherently dynamic nature, leanness has undergone and still is undergoing a process of continuous and never-ending evolution, the current state of which is expressed in the form of the lean enterprise model. Nevertheless, despite the undiminished attention and interest for leanness, the literature has failed to keep track of this evolution. For this reason a significant proportion of the literature relies on a rather antiquated vision of leanness.

Originality/value – The paper reviews two major waves of literature criticising leanness with the first focusing on its social aspects and the second questioning its universality mainly with respect to its limited applicability in high variety-low volume production systems.



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