Towards a theory for lean implementation in supply networks

Thomas Bortolotti, Pietro Romano, José Moyano Fuentes, Pedro José Martínez Jurado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to investigate the supply network (SN) characteristics affecting the extension of lean programmes to SN and the interactions between lean practices and these characteristics to understand how to create more favourable conditions for lean extension programmes. A multiple case study methodology is implemented to analyze different lean programmes in SNs and different contextual conditions in which they are implemented. Three different SNs have been analyzed to provide insights on the whole value stream of the Andalusian aeronautics SN. This study finds that there is a recursive influence between SN characteristics and lean practices, and explains how this interaction takes place. The choice of lean practices to adopt, their aim and implementation mode are influenced by the state of SN characteristics companies face at the beginning of the programme and the SN distance (i.e. number of SN echelons) between lean knowledge owners and recipients. This study explains also how lean practices can modify the state of SN characteristics and suggests managers a sequence of phases and sets of actions to use depending on the initial state of SN characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-196
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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