An Evaluation of the Transferability of Manufacturing-Derived Lean Improvement Tools and Techniques to the Local Government Sector

Mitchell, Lisa (2011) An Evaluation of the Transferability of Manufacturing-Derived Lean Improvement Tools and Techniques to the Local Government Sector. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

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Abstract

The unsustainable increases in public spending have resulted in extreme pressure from the UK Government in the Local Government (LG) sector to improve performance, service and efficiency. The Lean philosophy, which is an approach to reduce waste, was developed within the Manufacturing sector and has been used in manufacturing organisations to improve operational performance for over 30 years.

This research investigated the transferability of the Lean philosophy from the Manufacturing sector to LG. The research was conducted in conjunction with North East Consultants (NEC) whose manufacturing derived lean model has been the vehicle for evaluating the issue of transferability to the LG sector.

Case study research was undertaken within three local authorities and nine detailed case studies have been completed, each covering a lean intervention within a different area of business within LG. Data collection for each case study involved extensive semi-structured interviews to collect rich qualitative data from (i) lean consultants, (ii) LG senior management and (iii) LG lean team members, in addition to quantitative data on intervention performance. Individual and cross case analysis has identified that the Lean philosophy is transferable into this particular setting and can deliver improvements of the range expected, but that the LG setting is very different from the Manufacturing sector in terms of the variation, nature and outputs of the processes contained within it. In addition, a number of significant model deficiencies have been identified. These deficiencies which can be considered to impede the success, adoption and sustainability of the Lean philosophy within LG cover both model content and delivery and can broadly be categorised as: (i) the inappropriate selection of tools and techniques, (ii) a diagnostic tool not sufficiently adapted for use in the LG sector, (iii) a training and delivery model whose timescales and content do not aid participant learning and buy-in, (iv) a lack of consideration regarding the sustainability of the lean approach post-consultation, relating to (a) the development of internal lean leaders and (b) how the Lean philosophy can be embedded as an ongoing element in helping to deliver department objectives.
To aid the success and sustainability of the lean approach to waste reduction in the LG sector a new framework has been suggested which will recognise the differences between the Manufacturing sector and LG and seek to overcome the deployment and sustainability deficiencies highlighted in the research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Business and Management > Management (general)
Divisions: Collections > Theses
Depositing User: Barry Hall
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2013 11:45
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2017 08:32
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/3316

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