Executive SummaryThis paper explored the conflicting views on the effectiveness of the Lean production system as applied in motor vehicle industry. It considered a case of Leagile Manufacturing Company, a company that had succeeded with the MRP system of production but faulted it for increasing inventory and being less efficient. The company’s C. E.O had directed her deputy to ascertain the feasibility of the Lean production system and employ it if proven workable. The company eventually adopted the new production system but within 6 months, an array of problems had faced its implementation.
This paper analyzed the reported problems, citing their root causes and observed symptoms. The analysis categorized the problems experienced into two broad classes of strategic and operational shortfalls. The strategic issue raised in the essay concerns insufficient strategic planning by the company’s management under the leadership of the vice – president, Scott Murphy. The paper observes that Scott failed to consider a fine analysis of the business environment. To start with, he appeared to have not considered, in his plan, the external Political Economic Social and Technological short term and long term implications of the proposed production system.
Equally, he appeared not to have effectively consulted the primary stakeholders including: company employees, suppliers, customers, and transporters. This is reflected in the high disapproval rate of the system by the mentioned stakeholders as observed in their complaints. The operational issues discussed include: the management of employees, the souring customer and supplier relations, and transportation constraints. The paper also observes that there exists ineffective leadership in the top management at Leagile Company characterized by low motivation of employees (low wages) that is seen as directly linked to the diminishing production.
Various theories and models on human management and operational management are used to support the symptomatic manifestation of the problems. IntroductionLean production system is a modern production technique mainly employed by automobile manufacturers in which production is aimed at reducing inventory and wastes while enhancing efficiency and performance vigour. The system is characterised by: waste elimination, inventory reduction, maximising flow of produce, production based on customer demands, meeting customers specific needs, improving efficiency, empowering workers, ensuring rapid changeover, and creating a culture of continuous improvement.
Lean production system focuses on limiting wastes associated with intermediary operations linked to production with its main concern being the end user or final customer (Shah & Ward, 2007). As such the end customers’ desire is what drives production. Goods are therefore, produced with customers in mind, meaning an alteration of the customer’s desires will inevitably alters the production process. Accumulation of waste materials is hence avoided as orders for such materials are only made in fixed quantities relative to the work anticipated. The case presented in this paper is of a company, whose vice-president, Scott Murphy, admires lean production system.
He was directed by the company’s C. E.O to investigate the feasibility of the production system and engage it in the industry in case of success. The vice-president got inspired by literary information regarding the success of lean production system elsewhere. He, however, lacks practical orientation or exposure with the production system and is, reportedly, apprehensive on applying it at Leagile Manufacturing Industry.