Lost in transition: the transfer of lean manufacturing to construction

Lost in transition: the transfer of lean manufacturing to construction Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the transfer of lean manufacturing/production from the Japanese manufacturing industry to the construction sector in the west. Design/methodology/approach – Research literature from the fields of lean manufacturing/production and lean construction was reviewed. This revealed a number of characteristics that are specific to lean construction, most notably the recognition that critical research findings have been slow to emerge but appear to be gaining momentum. Findings – In the transition from manufacturing to construction the process losses appear to be related to critical aspects and the challenges surrounding practical application to a different context. Lean is highly interpretive and there is no shared definition or understanding of what is meant by lean, lean production, and lean construction. The focus has been mainly on production system design, planning and management, and implementation. This narrow focus has meant that some important issues concerning the wider aspects of lean have been overlooked. There is a need for a “back to basics” discussion on many other aspects of the approach, such as whole‐life value and waste identification. Research limitations/implications – The work is limited to an extensive literature review. Originality/value – The extensive literature review makes an original contribution to the lean construction field and provides a valuable resource for researchers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management Emerald Publishing

Lost in transition: the transfer of lean manufacturing to construction

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0969-9988
DOI
10.1108/09699980810886874
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the transfer of lean manufacturing/production from the Japanese manufacturing industry to the construction sector in the west. Design/methodology/approach – Research literature from the fields of lean manufacturing/production and lean construction was reviewed. This revealed a number of characteristics that are specific to lean construction, most notably the recognition that critical research findings have been slow to emerge but appear to be gaining momentum. Findings – In the transition from manufacturing to construction the process losses appear to be related to critical aspects and the challenges surrounding practical application to a different context. Lean is highly interpretive and there is no shared definition or understanding of what is meant by lean, lean production, and lean construction. The focus has been mainly on production system design, planning and management, and implementation. This narrow focus has meant that some important issues concerning the wider aspects of lean have been overlooked. There is a need for a “back to basics” discussion on many other aspects of the approach, such as whole‐life value and waste identification. Research limitations/implications – The work is limited to an extensive literature review. Originality/value – The extensive literature review makes an original contribution to the lean construction field and provides a valuable resource for researchers.

Journal

Engineering, Construction and Architectural ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 4, 2008

Keywords: Construction industry; Lean production; Manufacturing systems; Transfer processes

References

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