Rojanette Coetzee, Karl Van der Merwe, Liezl Van Dyk


Lean manufacturing is widely considered to be a proven organisational improvement philosophy, yet the success rate of lean implementation in industry remains relatively low. Neglect of the human aspect of lean manufacturing is often cited as the leading reason for this, despite the emphasis so clearly placed upon this aspect by the creators of the lean philosophy. This article reviews the extent to which the human dimensions of the lean philosophy, as described in the Toyota Way management principles, have been incorporated in lean implementation strategies. It is found that few of the principles feature prominently in these strategies. Notably absent are those linked to the ‘respect for people’ pillar , which forms half of the T oyota Way’s foundation. This conclusion indicates that the adoption of the lean philosophy runs contrary to the oft-repeated message from its creators that no tenet of the philosophy should be favoured at the expense of another. This may provide valuable insight into the reasons for the high implementation failure rate. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7166/27-3-1641


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Copyright (c) 2016 Rojanette Coetzee, Karl Van der Merwe, Liezl Van Dyk

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