Open Access Article

Title: Value stream mapping for sustainable change at a Swedish dairy farm

Authors: Martin Melin; Henrik Barth

Addresses: Department of Work Sciences, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden ' Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning, Halmstad University, Sweden

Abstract: This case study increases our understanding of Lean implementation in which value stream mapping (VSM) is used to create an action plan at a small dairy and cattle farm in southwest Sweden. The researchers, the farmer-owner, and farm employees followed a step-by-step approach that resulted in ideas for operational improvements for the dairy activity. Data were collected in interviews with the farmer/owner, researcher participation in workshops, and researcher observations. The results reveal that VSM is an effective way to create a culture of collaboration among the farm staff and to better define their roles and responsibilities as well as improve routines, communications, and task completion. In the two-to-three year period following the VSM project, specific improvements were observed in milk production/quality and animal health. The results also reveal that while Lean principles are relevant given the repetitive nature of agriculture routines and tasks, the VSM element of lead-time reduction is less relevant owing to the unique value adding biological processes in the agriculture sector.

Keywords: lean; value stream mapping; agricultural production; productivity; farmers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2020.104367

International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, 2020 Vol.25 No.1, pp.130 - 140

Received: 25 Dec 2018
Accepted: 04 Jun 2019

Published online: 02 Jan 2020 *