A Corporate Perspective on Global Management and Development of Lean Production Systems: A Case Study

A Corporate Perspective on Global Management and Development of Lean Production Systems: A Case Study

Monica Bellgran (Mälardalen University, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5039-8.ch013

Abstract

The challenge for every multinational manufacturing company with the ambition to implement the lean production concept is how to implement it worldwide within its global manufacturing footprint. There are many decisions that need to be taken from a company group perspective when planning and implementing a lean program. These concern the level of standardization on principles and tools, how to structure and organize additional resources, how to share experiences within the organization, and how to sustain the effort. These factors are elaborated in this chapter from a factory perspective based on the presentation of the lean journey of Gyproc AB, a process industry company within the Gypsum part of the large Saint Gobain group. The company has worked for about ten years with implementing world-class manufacturing and has extensive experience of the issues of starting-up and sustaining the lean-based concept.
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Background

Many researchers refer to the book “The machine that changed the world” by Womack et al. (1990) as a milestone for the early descriptions of lean production. This was made by translating the Toyota production system (TPS) into a generic model and was an early attempt to decode the DNA of TPS, as also made by Spear and Bowen in Harvard Business Review (1999). Liker’s book “The Toyota Way” from 2004 is another TPS translation emphasizing, among other things, the importance of the mindset, as also demonstrated in (Womack and Jones, 1996; Hino, 2006). The global production paradigm called Lean production grew out of the conceptualization of the TPS system and replaced the existing industrial production paradigm founded on the principles of the Ford Production System. Based on its extreme impact worldwide, the production system developed by Henry Ford (Lacey, 1989) could be considered the first production paradigm, and TPS/Lean production the following second production paradigm, see Figure 1.

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