Lean manufacturing and business performance: testing the S-curve theory

Negrão, Léony Luis Lopes, Lopes de Sousa Jabbour, Ana Beatriz, Latan, Hengky , Godinho Filho, Moacir, Jabbour, Charbel Jose Chiappetta and Ganga, Gilberto Miller Devós (2020) Lean manufacturing and business performance: testing the S-curve theory. Production Planning & Control, 31 (10). pp. 771-785. ISSN 0953-7287

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09537287.2019.1683775

Production Planning & Control
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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


This article makes a case for the importance of exploring patterns in the relationship between the adoption of lean manufacturing practices and business performance. This relationship has been described as ambiguous, because it has variously appeared to be positive, insignificant, and negative. Accordingly, this article tests this relationship for non-linearity and shows that it follows the S-Curve theory. A survey of manufacturing companies in an industrial cluster in Brazil was undertaken. This region faces infrastructural challenges, such as geographic distance between purchasers and suppliers and a shortage of skilled Labour. Despite the conditions, these companies have significantly improved their operational, financial, and environmental performance through the adoption of lean practices. Thus, this article contributes to the literature on lean manufacturing by: (a) furthering the debate on the relationship between lean practices and business performance, and testing its adherence to the S-curve theory by means of survey research; and (b) simultaneously testing operational, financial and environmental performance as a result of the adoption of lean manufacturing practices. As a consequence of the S-shaped relationship demonstrated, managers need to be aware of the presence of inertial and saturation points in the adoption of lean manufacturing practices, so they can correctly allocate resources for improving the adoption of lean practices.

Keywords:Lean manufacturing, Firm performance, Operations management, Emerging economies, Non-linear relationships
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:40572
Deposited On:09 Apr 2020 10:28

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