The impact of lean production on operational performance: a case study

Ashkan Memari, Hamid Reza Panjehfouladgaran, Abd Rahman Abdul Rahim, Robiah Ahmad

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Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to investigate the impact of adopting lean manufacturing principles on operational efficiency by eliminating seven major lean wastes (or Muda) in a Malaysian stationery manufacturer. Much of the research on lean considers its application to larger organisations with stable demand patterns. This research examines a small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) with a volatile demand pattern.

Design/methodology/approach
A process activity mapping (PAM) methodology was utilized to identify the potential for waste elimination. PAM is a visual tool that considers every step in a production process. Value-added and non-value-added activities are therefore examined to understand hidden wastes and their sources.

Findings
The results revealed that the adopted lean principles significantly reduce the waiting times. This time reduction resulted in savings (reduction of cycle time) and to a certain extent, can be a crucial driver in continuous improvement sustainability in the production process.

Research limitations/implications
The study focuses on a single case study and provides a springboard for further research. Future studies examining the results across a broader sample of organisations would develop the findings further.

Practical implications
The extant literature cites mixed success for lean implementation programmes. The results demonstrate that lean is still recognised as a powerful approach to improving operations in SMEs.

Originality/value
This paper reflects on the application of lean in a real case study showing the impact of lean on operational performance of an SME.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2022

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