Enhancing Lean Interventions through the use of Systems Thinking in the food production industry : a case in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria
Ufua, Daniel Ebakoleaneh
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2015 Daniel Ebakoleaneh Ufua. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
This research discusses how Lean Thinking (Lean), can be enhanced through the use of Systems Thinking (ST) tools and methodologies. While Lean has emerged as a process improvement philosophy aiming to enhance value by identifying and eradicating waste through the use of various tools, Systems Thinking seeks to recognise the impacts of different parts that function together in an operational process, paying attention to boundaries, interrelationships, perspectives and how systems function as whole.
However, the extant literature shows that Lean tends to focus on narrow stakeholder input, leaving out the impact of the operational process on other affected stakeholders who may be affected by the system but are not directly involved. Such a narrow view can have an impact on Lean implementation and adoption among practitioners in modern businesses, and on its success in improving processes and sustaining changes. There can be challenging impacts on stakeholders, such as ‘end to end’ effects, which pose an issue to the general acceptance of the approach by affected stakeholders.
To address this gap, the application of Systems Thinking alongside Lean was adopted, as Systems Thinking seeks to explore impacts on the affected. This led to the development of a Systemic Lean Intervention (SLI) methodology, involving the combination of Lean and Systems tools, to form an approach to identify and address the issues of waste and value development from the perspective of wider stakeholders.
The research looks at a case of a commercial live-stock farm in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Qualitative data was collected from the identified stakeholders who participated in the research process.
One of the findings was that SLI can assist in securing wider stakeholder acceptance of Lean and Systems improvements. However, the research also highlighted constraints on the SLI application, including the autocratic leadership style adopted on the farm and boundary rigidities in decision making, which hindered effective team play. Finally, among other limitations highlighted in the research, it was noted that the SLI approach would require significant time to be learned in the particular context of the Niger Delta Region, where the practice of both Lean and Systems were found to be relatively new.
- Business School, The University of Hull
- Papadopoulos, Thanos; Midgley, Gerald
- Qualification level
- Qualification name
- 3 MB