Title

ASP, The Art and Science of Practice: Tales from the Front: Case Studies Indicate the Potential Pitfalls of Misapplication of Lean Improvement Programs

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2009

Publication Source

Interfaces

Abstract

In recent years, lean manufacturing concepts have become more popular as an ever-growing number of companies have implemented lean programs. Some companies tout huge savings and benefits; those that do not are evaluated on the factors that led to their failed attempts. We suggest that the failure to implement lean is often because of an excessive and errant focus on inventory reduction as the primary, or sole, form of waste reduction. We describe the academic and popular literature on this topic and explain some sources of confusion and consternation surrounding lean initiatives. We then discuss four case studies in which a company's primary focus was on inventory reduction, but it attained true economic performance enhancements through inventory increases. We provide insights on how managers can identify similar situations in which they can productively implement well-defined and planned business-improvement programs to eliminate other kinds of wastes.

Inclusive pages

540-548

ISBN/ISSN

0092-2102

Comments

Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher

INFORMS

Volume

39

Issue

6

Peer Reviewed

yes