The modern business environment presupposes the use and utilization of practices that guarantee the best possible outcomes and minimize the input. In other words, there is a high need for the optimization of all processes to generate a competitive advantage and ensure that a company can achieve all existing goals. At the same time, the continuous improvement of all aspects is needed to overcome the high level of rivalry and create the basis for further growth.
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Under these conditions, effective management is critical for the achievement of desired results and becoming a leading company. Modern organizations face multiple challenges related to the impact on individuals, society, and attainment of appropriate sustainability levels. That is why lean management, as one of the approaches to accomplish the goals mentioned above, becomes a tool to be applied along with the operations management to attain success. The given paper reviews the literature devoted to the issue to enhance the understanding of this field and provide possible recommendations.
Staring reviewing the topic, it is critical to determine the basic concepts associated with the idea of a lean company. First of all, it is operations management which is now one of the pillars of any successful firm’s work. It can be defined as the design, operation, and long-term enhancement of all systems that are needed to deliver and create products and services that are interesting for customers (Stevenson 22).
Operation management tends to utilize the most important and effective strategies that exist at the moment to optimize performance via a chain of strategies aimed at the gradual transformation of the company. In such a way, operation management might also presuppose the utilization of lean production to ensure that the firm can face all demands to the functioning of modern organizations. In this regard, the following review of the literature aims at the detailed analysis of the basics of the lean process and its correlation with operation management.
Lean systems thinking is one of the topical approaches nowadays that are investigated using numerous variables to outline the most critical peculiarities. There are multiple definitions of the given field. Pakdil and Leonard state that the lean process can be determined as the focus on the total elimination of waste by all members of the organization from all activities needed for its functioning (726). Regarding the main goals, it can be compared to the ideas of total quality management, just-in-time, and Six sigma approach because they also affect all elements of the functioning and it has a fundamental character. There are also some dualities related to the given process.
First, it should guarantee the continuous improvement needed for better functioning; second, there is a critical need for respecting people and employees affected by the transformation (Pakdil and Leonard 726). It also remains highly dependent on the organizational culture of the company as it impacts the success of the lean process’ implementation. Impacting individuals’ behavior, a set of values and approaches appreciated by the company precondition the level of their performance, and, at the same time, the degree to which all measures needed for the introduction of lean processes are utilized.
The existence of the given correlation also evidences that the lean process can be considered regarding operations management. Pakdil and Leonard emphasize the fact that the lean process is a broad concept that suggests multiple implications (728). These might also include group culture, individuals’ behavior, and their motivation to reduce waste and improve the work of companies. These domains are related to operations management which considers an increase of individuals’ awareness about operations a potent weapon to increase competitiveness (Pakdil and Leonard 728). In such a way, the lean process’s effectiveness can be achieved only if there are effective strategies implemented to enhance all operations within the company and promote improved results.
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Implementation of the lean process can also contribute to the generation of multiple benefits for various types of companies. Partida states that the adoption of the approach within supply chains and their main functions can help to achieve better results (78).
First, it will help to determine wasteful activities that deteriorate the functioning of the company and precondition the serious worsening of its outcomes (Partida 78). Second, the utilization of lean processes helps to completely eliminate them by providing new perspectives on critical processes and outlining methods of how performance can be improved.
At the same time, in the article, the authors offer statistics evidencing that companies devoting a particular part of funds to this sort of activity achieve higher results due to the improvement of procurement activities and reduction of non-value-added activities that demand much effort but do not generate income (Partida 79). In such a way, the utilization of this method can help to attain success while reconsidering the functioning of the company and creating a new approach to its managing.
Partida also emphasizes the fact that some companies support their lean strategies with continuous collaboration with their partners that are also focused on the achievement of higher sustainability levels, a decrease of waste, and the creation of the lean approaches (79). Regarding the modern business world, it becomes a potent approach that can help to eliminate unnecessary elements both in companies and their suppliers and improve supply chain management.
This idea is similar to some methods peculiar to operations management as they also presuppose the necessity to enhance various processes and employees’ work to achieve better performance levels. In such a way, there is another piece of evidence proving the existence of the direct correlation between the lean process and operation management that is used by companies to generate wealth.
Raschke et al. also support the idea of the increased importance of the lean process and its use in the modern world. The authors emphasize the fact that the majority of companies today feel a high level of pressure because of the need to operate more effectively and win the rivalry (Raschke et al. 2013). For this reason, companies have to use the most effective approaches which means the utilization of the loan process. It should start by examining the functioning of the company from the beginning to its end, without any barriers that might deteriorate outcomes or prevent from achieving the desired goals (Raschke et al. 2013).
As it has already been stated, the main purpose of the paradigm is to develop and implement processes that are both efficient as they reduce costs, and potent as they increase the quality and performance levels (Raschke et al. 2013). In such a way, the use of lean approaches might be useful for all companies presented in the modern business world as there is a critical task to improve results through the gradual elimination of unnecessary elements, options, and processes.
Through the prism of operation management, the given article also proves that this field is close to lean processes as they both precondition the continuous reconsideration of the firm’s functioning with the primary aim to achieve better performance levels and guarantee that new goals will be accomplished. Raschke et al. also emphasize the important role of risk assessment while implementing a lean approach into the company’s functioning (49).
It can be compared to the operation management strategies that presuppose the in-depth evaluation of all aspects of the company’s functioning with the primary aim to guarantee the successful optimization of all processes and achievement of success while transforming a company and trying to achieve needed goals. In such a way, both lean and operation management approaches can be used together while trying to attain better results, reduce waste, and guarantee the sustainable functioning of the company, its cooperation with communities, and the ability to compete with the closest rivals.
The importance of the lean transformation of companies is also supported by Testani and Ramakrishnan. In their work, the researchers outline the fact that the given model has already become a business imperative for multiple organizations in various spheres globally (1). At the same time, there are still many problems emerging during the transformation stage as many firms still fail to implement lean processes into their functioning and achieve higher sustainability levels (Testani and Ramakrishnan 1).
It means that there is a particular problem related to the understanding of the nature of the mentioned reconsideration and its successful utilization. The main causes for the achievement of desired goals are the lack of leadership support of all incentives introduced to transform companies and the lack of focus on organizational culture (Testani and Ramakrishnan 3). Both these elements remain critical for functioning as they guarantee an improved understanding of existing tasks, better collaboration between employees, and higher levels of their performance. In such a way, the concept of lean leadership as the idea of promoting change and minimizing waste acquires the top priority in modern organizations.
The development of a lean culture can be associated with operations management as there are several common efforts. For instance, Testani and Ramakrishnan state that promoting a lean change effort, leaders plan a specific set of actions that will foster the alteration of the organizational culture to achieve desired goals and attain success (5). This idea is similar to the paradigm cultivated by the operations management as it also emphasizes the necessity of the introduction of a scheduled change that will affect all departments and operations to optimize the process and minimize effort.
In such a way, both these concepts become interdependent because of their focus on basic elements of companies’ functioning and the demand for the radical alteration of the process. Finally, the success of the transformation is preconditioned by the degree to which a leader and employees are ready for new environments and methods as the lack of support will result in poor outcomes and deteriorate the planned results.
There is also another problem related to the implementation of lean approaches into the practice and reconsideration of the companies’ functioning. Rathi and Farris state that the adoption of the given parading is slower than it is expected and faces some barriers that prevent organizations from reducing waste and maximizing performance (1). One of the main reasons for the emergence of this tendency can be the lack of theoretical investigations and framework of how various peculiarities of the process sector can impact lean techniques and their applicability (Rathi and Farris 1).
In such a way, vital tasks managers might face today is the creation of the model that includes potent tools to implement lean practices into the functioning of the company. Moreover, the successful transformation of the company might demand an enhanced understanding of its current needs and wastes to guarantee that lean practices affect the needed domains and result in the attainment of planned results.
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Ideas outlined in the paper emphasize the importance of the lean process to operations management. Being the paradigm that promotes the improvement of every operation performed by a company, it demands an in-depth understanding of all current needs and priorities to remain effective. In such a way, the introduction of lean approaches can support and operation management’s incentives by reviewing all existing activities to find the most wasteful or ineffective ones and eliminate them by suggesting improvement practices or methods (Rathi and Farris 3).
It can become one of the most potent tools to reconsider the work of various companies with the primary aim to achieve success and guarantee their further development. Operation management, as the most important approach to the organization of firms’ work, becomes a critical element of the corporations functioning as it helps to reduce spending and achieve higher efficiency levels which are also one of the main ideas of the lean process and approach.
Reflection and Recommendation
The majority of sources mentioned above evidence the increased importance of the lean process and its direct correlation with the operation management. From the literature review, it becomes obvious that the use of this paradigm should become the main way of the company’s development in the modern age. It promotes better companies’ functioning by improving all operations and minimizes waste by eliminating potentially undesired activities or states. At the same time, there is a focus on sustainability and respect for employees which is critical for the modern firm that is focused on the improvement of its work and image.
Debating about the role of lean incentives in the modern business world, it is critical to say that the advantageous position of lean incentives can be proven by multiple examples. For instance, the focus on lean manufacturing helped Toyota to achieve global success by eliminating all wasteful practices, solving the problem with overproduction, and creating an atmosphere beneficial for people’s functioning (“Toyota Production System”).
It helped to achieve success and form the basis for the company’s growth. In such a way, it can be recommended to implement lean practices into the functioning of firms to transform them. One more recommendation is to shift focus to human resources as employees are the core of any brand and they precondition the success of a particular strategy. For this reason, it is essential to create the needed environment for them.
Altogether, the lean process is the popular paradigm today that affects the functioning of companies and result in the emergence of positive shifts in them. Promoting waste reduction and improvement of various practices, it creates the basis for the successful transformation of companies and their stable growth. At the same time, it can be associated with operation management as this paradigm also preconditions the fundamental reorganization of firms and all processes needed for their development. Implementation of both these approaches can help to create the basis for the effective functioning of employees and the company’s further rise.
Pakdil, Fatma and Karen Moustafa Leonard. “The Effect of Organizational Culture on Implementing and Sustaining Lean Process.” Journal of Manufacturing Process and Management, vol. 26, no. 5, 2015, pp. 725-743.
Partida, Becky. “Adopting Lean Process in Procurement Can Lead to Efficiency and Lower Costs.” Supply Chain Management Review, 2014, pp. 78-80.
Raschke, Robyn, et al. “Lean Process without Compromising Controls.” Government Finance Review, vol. 29, no. 3, 2013, pp. 44-50.
Rathi, Naveen, and Jenifer Farris. “A Framework for the Implementation of Lean Techniques in Process Industries.” Proceedings of the 2009 Industrial Engineering Research Conference, 2009, pp. 1-7.
Stevenson, William. Operations Management. 13th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, London.
Testani, Michael, and Sreekanth Ramakrishnan. “Lean Leadership Readiness for Change: A Methodology for Lean Change Readiness and Continuous Improvement.” Proceedings of the 2012 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference, 2012, pp. 1-11.
“Toyota Production System.” Toyota-Global. Web.