Implementing Information Technologies and Operational Excellence

Planning, emergence and randomness in the survival of adaptive manufacturing systems

António Sartal, Xosé H. Vázquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


We explore the why and how of synergies and dysfunctions between Information Technologies (IT) and Operational Excellence (OE). Moving away from the type of analyses that focus on the starting-point and the final stage, we address the evolution of the complex factors involved in the joint deployment of IT and OE that try to transform manufacturing systems. Evidence stems from a longitudinal case study over a period of 11 years (2003–2014) in one of the world's largest canning factories. Combining quasi-experiments at the systems level with time series data, we compare the evolution of IT implementation in a Lean environment with 17 different assembly lines and 1,100 workers. Thus, building on an evolutionary framework, the paper highlights the simultaneity of planned, random and emergent components in mutations; the influence of the rhythm and sequence of reforms in the construction of capabilities; and the effect of environmental evolution on the type of mutations passed on over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017



  • Evolutionary Theory of the Firm
  • Information Technologies
  • Lean routines
  • Operational Excellence
  • Operational performance

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