Trajectories for successful lean transformations: Case studies of four Swedish SMEs
Paper in proceedings, 2013
This paper describes four lean transformation journeys in Swedish small and medium sized companies (SME). All the companies have had successful lean transformation processes. Three of the four companies has been a part of a national program, “The Production Leap” and one of the companies has mainly been working internally with the lean transformation process. The paper shows that the point of departure is important, meaning if the company has implemented parts of the lean concept prior to the lean transformation process, e.g. tools like 5s. Furthermore, the context of each company is important when designing the lean transformation process, e.g. the market situation, the maturity of the branch (suppliers and customers), readiness for change in the own company, the support from the board in the company, etc. The conclusions of this paper are that it is not possible to copy an optimal given journey to lean transformation success, instead, it is necessary to develop the company and the lean transformation process depending on companies own situation, both internally and externally. However, characteristic for all companies, are strong focus on the lean transformation with large involvement of management and employees.