Authors: Paul Martin Gibbons
Addresses: Cummins Power Generation, Columbus Drive, Manston, Kent, CT12 5BF, UK
Abstract: One of the core principles informing the lean theoretical framework is the elimination of non-value-adding waste in product-based process-driven value streams. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) tools have been developed as static analysis tools for identifying and quantifying the seven wastes of lean as defined by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota. The paper argues that the extant lean theoretical framework can be further developed – overcoming the flexibility, responsiveness, dehumanising and contingency criticisms – by operationalising a more holistic and dynamic triangulated framework inclusive of qualitative waste analysis, complementory to the extant quantitative data from VSM. At the core of the complementory framework is the identification and elimination of an eighth waste. Counterintuitive to the normative product-based process-driven value stream focus, the conceptual framework argues that homogeneity across value streams, rather than heterogeneity between them, will deliver bundles of potential services to the overall firm business objectives, allowing for both economies of scale and scope to be realised and subsequent competitive advantage to be gained. A practical framework is introduced and a case study example presented. The outcomes of the operationalised conceptual framework show that the practical framework has been successful in identifying an eighth waste defined as polarisation – the disconnectivity and potentially wasted opportunities extant between people, plant, processes and products.
Keywords: lean; strategy; build-to-order; BTO; economies of scale; economies of scope; flexibility; mass customisation; resource-based view; RBV; value stream mapping; VSM; qualitative waste analysis.
International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 2008 Vol.4 No.4, pp.355 - 381
Published online: 04 Feb 2009 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article