Moving on - beyond lean thinking

Koskela, LJ 2004, 'Moving on - beyond lean thinking' , Lean Construction Journal, 1 (1) , pp. 24-37.

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Lean Thinking is currently often positioned as the underlying theory of lean production among practitioners and academics, although its originators, Womack and Jones, seem not to have presented it as a theory. This paper endeavors to analyze whether Lean Thinking can be viewed as a theory of lean production. For this purpose, a critical assessment of Lean Thinking is carried out. Lean Thinking is argued to lack an adequate conceptualization of production, which has led to imprecise concepts, such as the term “value”. The five principles of Lean Thinking do not orderly cover value generation, and they do not always encapsulate the core topics in their respective areas. The failure to trace the origin of lean concepts and principles reduces the opportunity to justify and explain them. Despite claims for generality, the application area of the five lean principles is limited to the transformation of mass production, with, for instance, one-of-a-kind production and construction being largely out of scope. It is concluded that it is opportune to move on beyond Lean Thinking, towards a generic theory of production, for acquiring a solid foundation for designing, operating and improving production systems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lean production theory; Lean Thinking.
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS155-194 Production management. Operations management
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Built Environment Sustainability and Transformation (BEST)
Journal or Publication Title: Lean Construction Journal
Publisher: Lean Construction Institute
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1555-1369
Depositing User: LJ Koskela
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2010 10:34
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 11:39
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