This project explores the implementation of LEAN practices in engineering firms.
We started by exploring what methods firms actually use at the IMPLEMENTATION stage, and how effective those are. The work involved use of surveys to determine actual practices of manufacturers, and the perceptions of people involved with lean. We then applied statistical analyses to this data set to extract a model for the critical success factors. We were able to confirm the importance of manager commitment, and clarify its sub-factors. This work has been done as the PhD thesis of Dr Antony Pearce (http://hdl.handle.net/10092/9662). In the process we also developed a methodology to determine which lean tool was appropriate depending on the type of manufacturing and the temporal position in the lean journey (http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/790291). This used a risk-management approach compatible with ISO31000.
In parallel we are also looking at the implementation of lean in the print industry. This work is ongoing (see separate project). We have also completed work on integrating value stream mapping with environmental considerations with a particular focus on the remanufacture of jet engines.
Current strands of research, and we are open to suggestions from interested parties and postgraduate students, include: better understanding worker motivations that lead to resistance to change during lean implementations; integrating lean across the entire life cycle; lean practices in specific industries; lean railway freight.