Developing a Strategy to Enact Lean

Nicola Morrey1, Christine Pasquire2 & Andrew Dainty3

1Research Engineer, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, N.Morrey@lboro.ac.uk
2Professor, Nottingham Trent University, Christine.Pasquire@ntu.ac.uk
3Professor, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, Phone 01509 228742 A.R.J.Dainty@lboro.ac.uk

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explain how the case study company developed a strategy to implement lean across the business, and to reflect on the success of this approach so other companies may consider this learning and how it might be useful to them. The case study company developed a strategy to create a number of standard tools/ways of working. These tools can be considered to be standardised work for key aspects of the construction process that the company undertakes. The aim of the tools was to ensure that critical tasks would be carried out to the correct standard (quality, time, cost, health & safety) every time, across the business. Achievement of this is expected to lead to improved performance and elimination of variation (waste.) The paper will firstly explain, with reference to the relevant literature, how and why the researcher developed a strategy to engage people from within the business in the development of the tools. Working with numerous groups within the business, the researcher then put this strategy into action, with the outcome being the completed tools. The findings of the paper show that whilst the completed tools delivered business benefits, the development of the tools did not follow the planned strategy. The paper discusses how the strategy had to be continuously adapted to cope with the current business environment and path dependencies, evidencing that lean implementations need to be tailored to suit the needs of the individual firm, rather than there being a one size fits all solution. Further, the conclusions will be set in the context of what lean has become to mean to the case study organisation, and how this sits in the wider debate of whether lean is an all encompassing philosophy or a set of prescriptive tools and techniques.

Keywords

lean, standardised work, waste, strategy, change

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Reference

Morrey, N. , Pasquire, C. & Dainty, A. 2011, 'Developing a Strategy to Enact Lean' In:, Rooke, J. & Dave, B., 19th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lima, Peru, 13-15 Jul 2011.

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