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Practical Implementation of Lean at Small and Young Companies

Hasselgren, Fredrik LU (2018) MMTM01 20181
Production and Materials Engineering
Abstract
Introduction: This thesis aims to investigate how a small and young company can implement the management philosophy Lean. The thesis is designed as a literature study with two objectives. The first objective is to identify what Lean is and what its underlying tools, methods and principles are. The first objective is accomplished in the results chapter. The second objective is to investigate how these tools, methods and principles can be implemented at small and young companies. The second objective is completed in the analysis chapter.

Method: The database LUBsearch has been used to search for relevant scientific articles. Peer Review were used to verify the quality of the articles. Two books and a lecture from Lund University were also... (More)
Introduction: This thesis aims to investigate how a small and young company can implement the management philosophy Lean. The thesis is designed as a literature study with two objectives. The first objective is to identify what Lean is and what its underlying tools, methods and principles are. The first objective is accomplished in the results chapter. The second objective is to investigate how these tools, methods and principles can be implemented at small and young companies. The second objective is completed in the analysis chapter.

Method: The database LUBsearch has been used to search for relevant scientific articles. Peer Review were used to verify the quality of the articles. Two books and a lecture from Lund University were also used.

Results: The results display several methods, tools and principles that can be used when implementing the Lean philosophy e.g. Just-in-Time, Autonomation and Kaizen.

Analysis: The analysis evaluates the tools from the results. An investigation on how Lean can be implemented at small companies and at young companies is conducted. Lastly, the tools, methods and principles that are well suited to be implement at young and small companies are implemented at a real company.

Conclusion: The conclusion discusses the evaluations of the Lean tools and the practical Lean implementation at the real company. The majority of the evaluated tools and methods are proved to be applicable at small and young companies. The truly difficult aspect of implementing Lean at a young and small company turned out to be making people use the Lean tools, methods and principles. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The well-renowned business management philosophy Lean is usually implemented at large companies, but can smaller companies utilise the philosophy as well? This thesis investigates how applicable Lean is at small and young companies.

The Lean philosophy, which originates from the Toyota Motor Corporation, has for decades proved successful when implemented at companies all around the globe. The philosophy revolves around standardisation of process, continuous improvements, precise timing and waste minimisation and has proved very fruitful for companies seeking to increase quality and productivity. Even though many would argue that Lean is a state of mind, one could say that the philosophy can be summarised with a number of tools, methods... (More)
The well-renowned business management philosophy Lean is usually implemented at large companies, but can smaller companies utilise the philosophy as well? This thesis investigates how applicable Lean is at small and young companies.

The Lean philosophy, which originates from the Toyota Motor Corporation, has for decades proved successful when implemented at companies all around the globe. The philosophy revolves around standardisation of process, continuous improvements, precise timing and waste minimisation and has proved very fruitful for companies seeking to increase quality and productivity. Even though many would argue that Lean is a state of mind, one could say that the philosophy can be summarised with a number of tools, methods and principles. Examples of such tools and methods are Just-in-Time, Kaizen, Poka-Yoke and One-Piece Flow. In the thesis, the Lean tools that are most frequently mentioned in scientific literature are compiled and described. The described Lean tools and methods are usually adjusted for, and implemented at, large companies. However, there have not been any large-scale research on whether these tools can be implemented at small and especially young companies with the same success. For this reason, I decided to evaluate which tools are more suitable to be implemented at small and young companies and which tools are less suitable. My evaluation showed that the following tools are well suited for small and young companies.

Well suited: The Toyota Way, Toyota’s 14 principles, Lean Leadership, JIT, Autonomation, Kaizen, DFMA, QFD, FMEA, TPM, Suggestion system, The Five S’s, The Five Whys, Pareto diagram, Ishikawa diagram, RCA, QC-circles, TQC, Poka-Yoke, SMED, Andon, OPF, VSM, KPIs, The Seven Wastes, Gemba Walk, MO-CO-MOO, Decouplers, Make-to-final inventory, Process sheet, PSM and the Production Cost Model.

Less suited: Six Sigma, Small stock, Zero Inventory, Statistical follow-up on productivity and quality and SPC.

Interestingly, the majority of the tools evaluated by me are just as applicable at small companies as at large companies. The exceptions are mainly an effect of overwhelming complexity, uncertain customer demand and company expansion.

I also wanted to investigate what aspects to consider when implementing Lean at small and young companies. Looking at previous research on the subject made it clear the following are the most important aspects to consider when implementing Lean at a small company:

• Management needs to be fully committed to the implementation project.
• The implementation project needs to get proper funding.
• The employees need to be involved in the implementation process.
• KPIs should be established so that progress can be registered.

Using the results from my evaluation and my research I wanted to try and apply my conclusions and implement some of the tools at a start-up company in Sweden. The implementation project displayed similar results as the research had pointed towards. Most of the Lean tools, methods and principles were applicable at the company. Involvement from management and the employees proved to be the biggest challenge of the implementation project. In the end I concluded that to implement Lean tools is one thing, to make people use them is another. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Hasselgren, Fredrik LU
supervisor
organization
course
MMTM01 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
“Lean SME”, “Lean Small Company”, “Lean Manufacturing”, “Practical Lean Implementation”, “Lean Young Company”
language
English
id
8948478
date added to LUP
2018-06-15 13:38:21
date last changed
2018-06-15 13:38:21
@misc{8948478,
  abstract     = {Introduction: This thesis aims to investigate how a small and young company can implement the management philosophy Lean. The thesis is designed as a literature study with two objectives. The first objective is to identify what Lean is and what its underlying tools, methods and principles are. The first objective is accomplished in the results chapter. The second objective is to investigate how these tools, methods and principles can be implemented at small and young companies. The second objective is completed in the analysis chapter.

Method: The database LUBsearch has been used to search for relevant scientific articles. Peer Review were used to verify the quality of the articles. Two books and a lecture from Lund University were also used.

Results: The results display several methods, tools and principles that can be used when implementing the Lean philosophy e.g. Just-in-Time, Autonomation and Kaizen. 

Analysis: The analysis evaluates the tools from the results. An investigation on how Lean can be implemented at small companies and at young companies is conducted. Lastly, the tools, methods and principles that are well suited to be implement at young and small companies are implemented at a real company. 

Conclusion: The conclusion discusses the evaluations of the Lean tools and the practical Lean implementation at the real company. The majority of the evaluated tools and methods are proved to be applicable at small and young companies. The truly difficult aspect of implementing Lean at a young and small company turned out to be making people use the Lean tools, methods and principles.},
  author       = {Hasselgren, Fredrik},
  keyword      = {“Lean SME”,“Lean Small Company”,“Lean Manufacturing”,“Practical Lean Implementation”,“Lean Young Company”},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Practical Implementation of Lean at Small and Young Companies},
  year         = {2018},
}