Despite its potentialities, Lean Automation (LA) has not attracted attention for over two decades. However, due to the new opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 technologies, LA revives expectations and enthusiasm. This paper aims to test empirically the association of LA, in the form of integration of Lean practices and Industry 4.0 technologies, and operational performance. The paper used a rigorous, multi-stage empirical method and data from a set of more than 200 manufacturing firms; one representative from each of the studied companies filled in a survey on Lean practices and Industry 4.0 technology bundles, with productivity, delivery, inventory, quality as performance indicators. The extensive survey results helped in identifying underlying components of LA: one focuses on operational stability and includes practices and technologies supporting efficiency along the supply chain; the other focuses on streamlining the flow, on fastening the process to reach the customer. Moreover, it demonstrates the positive correlation between LA and operational performance. Besides its contribution to the body of knowledge on LA, this research paves the base of improving academics and practitioners understanding of the integration of new technologies with Lean Production systems.

Lean Production and Industry 4.0 integration: how Lean Automation is emerging in manufacturing industry

Rossini M.;Costa F.;Valvo A.;Portioli Staudacher A.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Despite its potentialities, Lean Automation (LA) has not attracted attention for over two decades. However, due to the new opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 technologies, LA revives expectations and enthusiasm. This paper aims to test empirically the association of LA, in the form of integration of Lean practices and Industry 4.0 technologies, and operational performance. The paper used a rigorous, multi-stage empirical method and data from a set of more than 200 manufacturing firms; one representative from each of the studied companies filled in a survey on Lean practices and Industry 4.0 technology bundles, with productivity, delivery, inventory, quality as performance indicators. The extensive survey results helped in identifying underlying components of LA: one focuses on operational stability and includes practices and technologies supporting efficiency along the supply chain; the other focuses on streamlining the flow, on fastening the process to reach the customer. Moreover, it demonstrates the positive correlation between LA and operational performance. Besides its contribution to the body of knowledge on LA, this research paves the base of improving academics and practitioners understanding of the integration of new technologies with Lean Production systems.
2021
digitalisation
Industry 4.0
Lean Automation
Lean Production
operational performance
survey
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1204255
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