Lean Manufacturing, Mass Customization and their relationships - empirical findings

Thomas Bøhm Christiansen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The concepts of lean manufacturing and mass customization both depart from the paradigm of mass production and are suggested as new paradigms of manufacturing, however they differ conceptually and practically. Conceptually, it is debatable whether the concepts are mutually exclusive or supportive and from a practical point of view their maturity differs, i.e., lean manufacturing has a toolbox inherited from the JIT-age, a mapping tool “Value stream mapping” and a set of guiding principles, while mass customization is not developed to the same extent, and is still more a business concept than a manufacturing concept. A number of conceptual articles have discussed similarities and differences between the concepts of lean manufacturing and mass customization, however very few have investigated this quantitatively. This article describes the results of a survey conducted amongst some 75 Danish manufacturing companies in 2001-02. This study fills a void in existing research by exploring relationships between bundles of lean manufacturing practices and bundles of mass customization practices. This study is based on a questionnaire that is developed from two existing questionnaires each investigating bundles of lean manufacturing practices and bundles of mass customization practices separately. Here, these bundles of practices are related. The results indicate that there are no direct relationships between the lean manufacturing and the mass customization practices, but that the combination of some sets of practices can explain differences in performance on important dimensions. The general conclusion, however, is that there are only weak relationships between the two concepts, hence this study suggests that the concepts of lean manufacturing and mass customization at present are more mutually exclusive than supportive. At least when the constructs used in this study is applied.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOperations Management as a change agent
    EditorsVan Wassenhove, et.al
    Number of pages727
    PublisherINSEAD
    Publication date2004
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    Event11th International Conference European Operations Management Association : Operation Management as a Change Agent - Fontainebleau, France
    Duration: 27 Jun 200429 Jun 2004
    Conference number: 11

    Conference

    Conference11th International Conference European Operations Management Association
    Number11
    CountryFrance
    CityFontainebleau
    Period27/06/200429/06/2004

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