an effective lean manufacturing implementation

An effective lean manufacturing implementation, many companies are implementing lean manufacturing concept in order to remain competitive and sustainable, however, not many of them are successful in the process due to various reasons. Communication is an important aspect of lean process in order to successfully implement lean manufacturing. This paper determines the roles of communication process in ensuring a successful implementation of leanness in manufacturing companies. All the information of lean manufacturing practices and roles of communication in the implementation were compiled from related journals, books and websites. A study was conducted in an aerospace manufacturing in Malaysia. A five-point scale questionnaire is used as the study instrument. These questionnaires were distributed to 45 employees working in a kitting department and to 8 top management people. The results indicate that the degree of leanness were moderate.

Interest in the concept of lean production or lean manufacturing has grown and gained attention in the literature and in practice (Soriano-Meier et al., 2002 and Karlsson et al., 1996). Many organizations have employed lean manufacturing practices to improve competitiveness during the economic slowdown periods (Worley et al., 2006). According to Bhasin et al. (2006), less than 10 per cent of United Kingdom organizations have accomplished lean manufacturing implementation successfully. A number of variables may have impacts on lean implementation, and management support plays an important role in a lean manufacturing implementation (Worley et al., 2006). However, since lean implementation involves employees at all levels, there is a need for a good communication process to enable a smooth flow of the process. One of the main challenges of communication is to ensure that the changes are being readily accepted and implemented by everyone at all levels.

Karlsson et al. (1996) stated that lean should be seen as a direction and the focus lies on the change in the determinants. The determinants that are able to reflect changes in an effort to become lean had been identified by Karlsson et al. (1997). It is essential to note that lean productions viewed a complex organizational principle that requires major changes in a company (Mathaisel et al., 2000). Hence, there is a positive relationship between investments in the supporting manufacturing infrastructure and actual changes towards lean manufacturing (Soriano-Meier et al., 2002).

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