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Title: Engagement and Lean Management. Engagement, the engine to Lean performance?!
Authors: Rongen, N
Keywords: Lean Management
Team empowerment
Continues improvement
Issue Date: 19-Apr-2017
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Lean Management (LM) is considered as the best production system of the 21st century. A recent literature review has resulted in 34 critical failure factors that have a negative impact on lean deployment. These factors are ranked by the number of studies written on the subject. Engagement is ranked number 14 with only 4 studies. This is remarkable, because engagement is seen as essential to all changes within organizations. Engagement is a positive work-related feelings and attitude, such as vigor and dedication. Earlier studies implicate that there is also a positive relation between engagement and financial performance, productivity, safety, relation with employer and customer. The fact that there has been limited research done with regards to the relationship between LM and engagement has led to the following research question: “What is the influence of engagement on Lean Management performance and what other factors influence this?” A literature review has led to this research model. Research method To investigate the research question and gain insight in the mechanisms and relations between the variables is chosen for a qualitative research. A case study has taken place at the engine factory of DAF Trucks in Eindhoven. DAF has implemented the Paccar Production System in 1995 which can be compared to TPS which is a representative for LM. Eleven employees have been interviewed in semi-structured interviews. Results The literature shows that value stream, JIT, continues improvement and team empowerment are the main characteristics of LM, but the case shows that teamwork and improving processes are the main characteristics. The main objective is the elimination of waste, although the literature also mentions the objectives improve quality and reduce lead time. According to earlier studies there are several factors influencing the engagement of employees such as task variation, autonomy, responsibility, teamwork, development and support. This case shows that the main factors at DAF are influence, involvement, feedback and teamwork. The criticism that standardization as part of LM has a negative influence on engagement is not confirmed in this case. The respondents mention that standardization has resulted in process that are calm, have rhythm and have regularity and that has a positive effect on engagement. However the criticism with respect to JIT is confirmed and also the negative effect on engagement when LM is seen as “extra work”. This case study shows that more engagement results in better LM performance by looking for teamwork, work more efficient, show more initiative and show more determination. In earlier studies also looking beyond the boundaries is a factor that improves LM performance. Recommendation for practice DAF needs to (continue to) increase engagement by stimulating the influence, involvement , feedback and teamwork of the employees. Engagement can be improved when the following points are clear to the employees; (1) the guidelines of the activity, (2) relevance of the activity for the individual, (3) how the individual has control over the results of the activity and (4) the general importance of the activity. Next to this DAF needs to ensure that the job demands don’t effect the engagement negatively. There is already of positive relation between standardization and engagement, but the negative impact of JIT and the feeling of extra work needs to be eliminated or minimalized. Recommendations for further research Only eleven respondents were interviewed, so the results can’t be generalized yet. Further research can focus on the LM characteristics value stream and JIT and their relationship with engagement. This can give a more complete perspective on the relationship between LM and engagement. Furthermore a quantitative research can statically test the relations that have come forward in this case study
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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