To implement lean production, the literature identifies two approaches; 1. Implement lean systems top-down to develop local improvement routines later on, or 2. Develop local improvement routines in order to implement lean systems. This dissertation studies this issue through three different perspectives. The findings show that for manufacturing SMEs that want to implement lean production, it seems desirable to first develop local improvement routines in order to implement lean systems. This helps team leaders and employees create a shared understanding of the reasons for and specifics of the lean systems. At the same time, this approach embeds the platform required to continue to improve on these lean systems. Managers and consultants are advised to focus their efforts on facilitating improvement projects rather than implementing lean systems themselves.
Wilfred Knol (1986) works as a researcher and teacher at the research group World Class Performance/Lean at HAN University of Applied Science, the Netherlands. In 2011 he received his Master of Science in Technology Management with distinction (cum laude) from University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He previously worked as consultant at KPN (Dutch telco).