A systematic approach for selecting lean strategies and assessing leanness in manufacturing organizations

Amin, Md Al (2013) A systematic approach for selecting lean strategies and assessing leanness in manufacturing organizations. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Lean strategies have been developed to eliminate or reduce manufacturing waste and thus improve operational efficiency in manufacturing processes. However, implementing lean strategies requires a large amount of resources and, in practice, manufacturers encounter difficulties in selecting appropriate lean strategies within their resource constraints. There is currently no systematic methodology available for selecting appropriate lean strategies within a manufacturer's resource constraints. In the lean transformation process, it is also critical to measure the current and desired leanness levels in order to clearly evaluate lean implementation efforts. Despite the fact that many lean strategies are utilized to reduce or eliminate manufacturing waste, little effort has been directed towards properly assessing the leanness of manufacturing organizations. In practice, a single or specific group of metrics (either qualitative or quantitative) will only partially measure the overall leanness. Existing leanness assessment methodologies do not offer a comprehensive evaluation method, integrating both quantitative and qualitative lean measures into a single quantitative value for measuring the overall leanness of an organization.

This research aims to develop mathematical models and a systematic methodology for selecting appropriate lean strategies and evaluating the leanness levels in manufacturing organizations. Mathematical models were formulated and a methodology was developed for selecting appropriate lean strategies within manufacturers' limited amount of available resources to reduce their identified wastes. A leanness assessment model was developed by using the fuzzy concept to assess the leanness level and to recommend an optimum leanness value for a manufacturing organization. In the proposed leanness assessment model, both quantitative and qualitative input factors have been taken into account.

Based on program developed in MATLAB and C#, a decision support tool (DST) was developed for decision makers to select lean strategies and evaluate the leanness value based on the proposed models and methodology hence sustain the lean implementation efforts. A case study was conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of these proposed models and methodology. Case study results suggested that out of 10 wastes identified, the case organization (ABC Limited) is able to improve a maximum of six wastes from the selected workstation within their resource limitations. The selected wastes are: unnecessary motion, setup time, unnecessary transportation, inappropriate processing, work in process and raw material inventory and suggested lean strategies are: 5S, Just-In-Time, Kanban System, the Visual Management System (VMS), Cellular Manufacturing, Standard Work Process using method-time measurement (MTM), and Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED).

From the suggested lean strategies, the impact of 5S was demonstrated by measuring the leanness level of two different situations in ABC. After that, MTM was suggested as a standard work process for further improvement of the current leanness value. The initial status of the organization showed a leanness value of 0.12. By applying 5S, the leanness level significantly improved to reach 0.19 and the simulation of MTM as a standard work method shows the leanness value could be improved to 0.31. The optimum leanness value of ABC was calculated to be 0.64. These leanness values provided a quantitative indication of the impacts of improvement initiatives in terms of the overall leanness level to the case organization. Sensitivity analsysis and a t-test were also performed to validate the model proposed.

This research advances the current knowledge base by developing mathematical models and methodologies to overcome lean strategy selection and leanness assessment problems. By selecting appropriate lean strategies, a manufacturer can better prioritize implementation efforts and resources to maximize the benefits of implementing lean strategies in their organization. The leanness index is used to evaluate an organization's current (before lean implementation) leanness state against the state after lean implementation and to establish benchmarking (the optimum leanness state). Hence, this research provides a continuous improvement tool for a lean manufacturing organization.

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ID Code: 63276
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Karim, Azharul & Nayak, Richi
Keywords: lean strategy selection, leanness assessment, optimisation
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Oct 2013 05:46
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 07:02

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