Lean Manufacturing

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JMTM 17,4

Critical success factors for lean implementation within SMEs
Pius Achanga, Esam Shehab, Rajkumar Roy and Geoff Nelder
Department of Enterprise Integration, School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science, Centre for Decision Engineering, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK
Purpose – The aim of this research paper is to present the critical factors that constitute a successful implementation of lean manufacturing within manufacturing SMEs. Design/methodology/approach – A combination of comprehensive literature review and visits to ten SMEs based in the East of the UK were employed in the study. The
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Several authors have reiterated the importance of cost factors and their reduction strategies in the current production process (Kulmala et al., 2001; Roy et al., 2001; Roy, 2003; Shehab and Abdalla, 2002). They assert that, cost factors are crucial, therefore, fundamental to the survivability of most organisations. Unfortunately, the idea of applying lean manufacturing has not been adopted by meaningful numbers of SMEs with any conviction. These companies require that the implementation costs and the subsequent benefits of lean manufacturing adoption, be projected upfront before they are able to commit. Therefore, this research paper aims to outline some of the factors that are perceived to be critical in the successful application of lean manufacturing within SMEs community. The main objectives of the research were to:

JMTM 17,4

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explore the operational activities of SMEs in order to identify their cost drivers; investigate the dimensions of lean manufacturing applications within SMEs; and outline critical factors that determine its successful application within SMEs.


Literature review The implementation of lean manufacturing like any other productivity improvement initiative is believed to harbour enormous difficulties (Denton and Hodgson,

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