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The transfer process of lean practices in multi-plant companies / Pamela Danese, Pietro Romano, Stefania Boscari

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Volume: 37, Issue: 4, Pages: 468 - 488

Swansea University Author: Stefania Boscari

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Abstract

A growing number of organisations have transferred lean practices within their international manufacturing network. Our paper contributes to the understanding of multi-plant lean programmes by analysing how certain influential contextual variables (i.e., lean standards development, lean transfer tea...

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Published in: International Journal of Operations & Production Management
ISSN: 0144-3577
Published: 2017
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa26776
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Abstract: A growing number of organisations have transferred lean practices within their international manufacturing network. Our paper contributes to the understanding of multi-plant lean programmes by analysing how certain influential contextual variables (i.e., lean standards development, lean transfer team composition, source characteristics, recipient national environment and corporate lean programme deployment) can affect stickiness in the different phases of the transfer process of lean practices.A multiple-case study method was used to investigate six projects at a dyadic level (i.e., between a source and a recipient unit). We considered European-based organisations with an attested experience in lean and that have successfully transferred lean practices to both US and Chinese plants.Our findings show how stickiness changes during the initiation, implementation/ramp-up and integration phases of the transfer process of lean practices. Three main approaches for transferring lean practices are identified: local, global, global and shared. Propositions explained how these approaches as well as sociocultural traits of recipient environment (China and US) influence the stickiness in each phase. This is particularly important because literature on stickiness in multi-plant lean programmes is at an early stage and very fragmented. Unlike previous studies, our paper provides an interpretation of the dynamics of stickiness in the transfer of lean practices at a micro-level (i.e., for each single phase). Moreover, it levers on a configuration view to deeply understand the influence of the context on the transfer of lean practices by analysing the joint effect of contextual variables on stickiness.
Keywords: Lean, Case study, Multi-plant improvement, Lean transfer
Issue: 4
Start Page: 468
End Page: 488