Key issues and strategies for implementing the Lean Methodology in organizations
|Thomas Djupsjö, Media Management MA student, Department of Culture and Media, Arcada UAS
Supervisor: Dr. Owen Kelly Examiner: Dr. Mats Nylund
My Master’s Thesis investigates lean principles, application strategies and what organizations are challenged with when implementing lean. An additional objective has been reviewing how lean may benefit teams within various organizations that function in different industries, cultures, and areas.
The media industry today is digital, and the landscape is extremely competitive. Consumers are expecting mobile experiences, preferably free of charge and on-demand, which can be consumed anytime, anywhere and anyhow. Due to this, companies are fighting for attention, optimizing their value chains and experimenting with new business models. Additionally, companies are reorganized in more flexible constellations and are expanding their services away from their core business.
These trends have forced companies to look for new ways to produce faster and innovate with less resources. Therefore, the lean methodology, originated from the Toyota Production System, has been identified as a potential solution to guide companies towards sustainable economic growth. Lean principles steer companies towards increased customer value and to serve at the speed of demand, through continuous incremental improvements. It is therefore crucial that managers have strategies to convince, motivate and involve employees when transforming into lean principles.
Previous studies show, that even though the philosophy is easy to grasp, implementation may be challenging due to a lack of understanding and measuring performance incorrectly. Despite these challenges, research indicate that lean, however, can benefit various companies and impact revenue positively.
To investigate these trends, quantitative data was collected through an online survey, strategically shared on a selection of social media communities on Facebook and LinkedIn. The research sample consists of experts in different industries and regions, of which most have personal experience of utilizing lean. The survey responses have tightly been tied together with a robust theoretical framework trying to answer the research questions: What is lean, what are the main issues when implementing lean and how have employees perceived lean in organizations?
Predictably, my study shows that lean has been used and implemented in different areas, industries and firms of different size. The involved companies are typically eager trying out new working methods, and a majority has seen a substantial business growth after successfully implementing lean. There are, however, proved challenges, especially in large enterprises.
During the writing process I have learned how to find relevant academia in various databases, how to examine it and utilize it accordingly. I have also learned to produce condensed academic material, construct an online survey and summarize quantitative data.
To support future research at Arcada, the study contributes towards understanding managerial aspects of lean principles. It has also explored media trends including business models and changes in customer behavior and needs.
Considering my professional development as a manager, working with the thesis has broadened my view on how lean can be used in different environments and what business opportunities lean provides. For the media industry, I believe this research has contributed to better understanding on implementation of lean, its positive business impact but, however, also addressing challenges.
de, C.F., Maria do Carmo, D.F., Glauco Gomes, d.M. & Odorczyk, R.S. 2018, “Lean Office contributions for organizational learning”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 1027-1039.
Håkansson, M., Holden, R.J., Eriksson, A. & Dellve, L. 2017, “Managerial Practices that Support Lean and Socially Sustainable Working Conditions”, Nordic Journal of Work-ing Life Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 63-84.
Karim, A. & Arif-Uz-Zaman, K. 2013, “A methodology for effective implementation of lean strategies and its performance evaluation in manufacturing organizations”, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 169-196.
Kropsu-Vehkapera, H. & Isoherranen, V. 2018, Lean approach in knowledge work, Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 429-444.
Mansoori, Y. 2017, “Enacting the lean startup methodology”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 812-838.
Ries, E., 2011, “The Lean Startup”, Penguin Books Ltd, London.
Stone, K.B. 2012, “Four decades of lean: a systematic literature review”, International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 112-132.
The full thesis may be downloaded from Theseus.fi (External link) from November 2019.
Are you looking for tools to manage the rapidly changing media industry? Or do you find yourself in the media industry struggling to see the bigger picture? Learn more about our MA in Media Management here: https://www.arcada.fi/en/master/media-management (External link)