A multisite field study of lean thinking in U.S. and German secondary wood products manufacturers

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A multisite field study of lean thinking in U.S. and German secondary wood products manufacturers Powered By Docstoc
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Description: Due to growing global competition, especially in the last decade, the U.S. and German wood and wood-based industries have suffered significant market share losses. To stay competitive in an increasingly global marketplace, many wood manufacturers are adopting new management approaches. Lean thinking is one management approach that has been widely accepted and adopted by other manufacturing and service industries. Lean thinking is a holistic management approach incorporating lean practices and principles. This study documents field studies of four cases of lean implementations in both U.S. and German secondary wood products companies. Two companies considered "lean leaders" from each country were studied to identify the challenges of implementation as well as the subsequent successes. An embedded, multiple-case study design method was used. Findings from the study suggest that lean thinking can help secondary wood products manufacturers be more profitable. In the organizations studied the implementation of lean manufacturing practices and principles resulted in more efficient and cost-effective operations. The study also found that the application of lean thinking to marketing processes can improve customer service, new product development processes, and customer satisfaction. The key challenges faced by the case sites during lean implementation were related to communication. All case companies found that it was critical to communicate the vision and values of lean thinking to all employees. Leaders felt that it was extremely important to have all employees understand and accept lean thinking and its benefits. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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