An initial assessment of Lean Management methods for Industry 4.0

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Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to present the results of an assessment into how well the Lean Management method will support continuous improvement in the world of Industry 4.0.

Design/methodology/approach
Using thematic analysis of literature, the Lean Management method and Industry 4.0 were deconstructed into its constituent elements. Semi-structured interviews were then carried out with five Quality Specialists in manufacturing to gather opinions on how well each Lean element supported each theme of Industry 4.0.

Findings
This initial research highlighted that the Lean method can integrate new technologies, to allow it to better support continuous improvement in the world of Industry 4.0. It found the supportive elements of Lean in the world of Industry 4.0 would include Continual Improvement, Engaging the Supply Chain, Pull Systems and having a Customer Focus.

Research limitations/implications
This was a scoping study as a pre-cursor to further research, and was based on the opinions of five Quality/Lean Specialists. However the results determine that Lean can be supported by Industry 4.0 technologies.

Practical implications
Those constituent elements of Lean which might be updated to better support quality improvement in the world of Industry 4.0 have been identified. A methodology by which expanded research may be undertaken has been demonstrated.

Originality/value
The findings contribute to knowledge by providing a focus on the key supporting elements of Lean implementation for industry 4.0 in the manufacturing sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalThe TQM Journal
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • quality
  • Industry 4.0
  • i4.0
  • lean
  • management
  • manufacturing

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