The way lean starts - a different approach to introduce lean culture and changing process with people's involvement

R. F. Mascarenhas, Carina Pimentel, M. J. Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Traditionally, the lean manufacturing path starts with people's involvement in the application of some lean common tools, such as the Value Stream Mapping (VSM), 5S or visual management. But is this the only way to start a lean journey? And does it always work? In this paper we will resort to a case study to present the argument that both questions can have a 'no' answer. When people's involvement through the application of the VSM, 5S and visual management does not lead to the expected results and, consequently, the changing process is too slow or does not happen at all, a different approach must be followed. An organisations' culture, conditioned by its surrounding environment, is a major asset but it can also be an obstacle to change and progress. If an organisation faces a hostile environment and there is a total reluctance to change from its own employees, the first step to introduce a lean approach must be the search for employees' involvement, even if these do not include the application of the usual lean tools. In the case study presented in this paper, employees' involvement was achieved through an improvement action in the company's production planning and control process. Considering that one of the purposes in an industrial environment is to achieve a levelled production, the company successfully introduced lean manufacturing by developing an effective production planning and control mechanism and levelling the orders, after the failure of the usual lean implementation path. The strategy followed led to a waste reduction of 2.5%, while the number of units produced correctly first time increased from 95.14% to 97.66%. Furthermore, order levelling proved to be a solution to promote people's involvement, mainly due to the internal dissemination and sharing of the results obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-956
Number of pages9
JournalProcedia Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event29th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing, FAIM 2019 - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 24 Jun 201928 Jun 2019


  • Heijunka
  • Lean implementation frameworks
  • Lean manufacturing
  • People involvement


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