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International Journal of Production Research

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Production management model integrating the

principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability
supported by the cultural transformation of a company

Jos Roberto Xavier Alves & Joo Murta Alves

Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering Production, Technological Institute of

Aeronautics, So Jos dos Campos, Brazil
Published online: 21 Apr 2015.

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To cite this article: Jos Roberto Xavier Alves & Joo Murta Alves (2015): Production management model integrating the
principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability supported by the cultural transformation of a company, International
Journal of Production Research, DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2015.1033032
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International Journal of Production Research, 2015

Production management model integrating the principles of lean manufacturing and

sustainability supported by the cultural transformation of a company
Jos Roberto Xavier Alves*

and Joo Murta Alves

Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering Production, Technological Institute of Aeronautics, So Jos dos Campos, Brazil

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(Received 14 June 2014; accepted 1 March 2015)

The search for superior production performance has been used by companies to overcome competition in the current global economic scenario. Efcient manufacturing connected to environmental initiatives provides a company with favourable conditions for maintaining uniform and continuous improvement in its competitive performance, while providing
operational versatility to respond quickly to volatile markets. As production is one of the most expensive areas for a
company, many organisations have sought a new management model for their production system that provides substantial productivity gains, cost saving opportunities and higher customer satisfaction. This study proposes a model of production management and an implementation method integrating the principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability,
supported by cultural transformation at the company. Its objective was to achieve productivity gains and improvements
on customer satisfaction, as well as develop the ability to provide quick responses to market changes in a globalised
economy. The implementation of the proposed model should be gradual, initially addressing fundamental principles, and
should operate simultaneously with, and in the same environment as, workforce development and organisational
transformation initiatives, to create sustainable improvements.
Keywords: lean manufacturing; production management; cultural transformation; sustainability

1. Introduction
With the enlargement of markets in recent decades, through commercial agreements between economic trading blocks
and a large supply of products from so-called low-cost regions, nations have become part of a process of globalisation,
which has increased industry competition. Trade barriers have been reduced, facilitating the entry of new competitors in
the global scene that offers diversied products as well as price and quality differentials. This has forced companies to
rethink their strategies to survive in a market in which demanding consumers have greater bargaining power.
The search for greater operational efciency has become a vital requirement for companies that want to remain
involved in the global economic scene, and performance improvement in the production process has been one of the
most common strategies used by organisations trying to address competition in this increasingly globalised economy.
According to Silva, Santos, and Castro (2012), a sound manufacturing strategy is one that makes a company more
competitive and provides a differential that is perceived by its customers in the market. Alves (2001) emphasises that
for a manufacturing company to develop and maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly globalised market, it
should provide the production department with a strategic vision and continually seek to improve the management
model of the production process. Singh and Mahmood (2014) mention that a high-performance manufacturing process
can primarily be achieved through high-quality products, processing speed, cost, exibility and reliability, with an aim
to enabling the company to leverage its business performance, increasing market share and accelerating sales growth.
One of the ways to incorporate such characteristics in manufacturing is through the adoption of a strategy focused
on the companys production system. To this end, lean manufacturing is an alternative that has been widely adopted by
various segments of the industry (Ramesh and Kodali 2012). Lean manufacturing aims for productivity gains by combating waste generated in the production environment. Additionally, Moori, Pescarmona, and Kimura (2013) demonstrate that management systems based on the principles of lean manufacturing have a positive impact on business
Sustainability initiatives, which recommend a balance between operating results, respect for people and the preservation of the environment, are also important to, and valued by, the customers and should therefore be considered by the
company (Milne and Gray 2013). Furthermore, there is a positive correlation between lean manufacturing and

*Corresponding author. Email:

2015 Taylor & Francis

J.R.X. Alves and J.M. Alves

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environmental management practices, which may lead to maximise waste reduction benets through a combined and
cohesive approach of both initiatives (Chiarini 2014; Yang, Hong, and Modi 2011).
Having a strategy focused on manufacturing, encompassing the practices of continuous improvement and waste
reduction, is a key success factor in raising the level of a companys competitiveness within an industry, considering
todays globalised scenario (Lucato et al. 2012).
In the light of the above, it is pertinent to consider whether it is possible to develop a production management system incorporating the principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability. In this context, this study aimed to propose a
model of production management and its method of implementation that incorporate the principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability, supported by a cultural transformation at the organisation.
The research methodology adopted was qualitative, initially involving a literature review on lean manufacturing, production management, sustainability and organisational culture, conducted through a review of scholarly books, academic
theses, journal papers and various online sources, followed by exploratory research that opened up possibilities for
future research. This paper is structured into four sections, in addition to this introduction. In Section 2, a brief bibliographic review of organisational culture, sustainability and lean manufacturing is performed. In Section 3, the model for
managing production and its method of implementation is presented. Finally, in Section 4, the conclusions of this study
are presented.
2. Theoretical reference
Considering that concepts involving organisational culture, sustainability and lean manufacturing have been widely
exploited in the academic environment and that a wide range of material on these subjects is available in books, articles,
conference proceedings, theses, dissertations and on line sources, we have chosen to focus on proposing a management
model and its method of implementation, integrating these referenced concepts.
2.1 Organisational culture
Organisational culture comprises a set of values, norms, beliefs, habits and customs that are shared collectively. From
this perspective, organisations also differ from each other because of their culture. Diverse sectors and departments
experience the structure, authorities, technological use and communication processes of the organisation as well as the
spheres and atmosphere of the organisation (Schein 2010). Aydin and Ceylan (2011) add that understanding organisational culture is critical to predicting the outcome of decisions made and preventing and anticipating any consequences,
thereby being crucial in supporting a companys performance, competitive advantage, and quick adoption of new
According to Stahl and Bounds (1991), effective organisational transformations are actually cultural transformations,
since the change will only be effective if signicant organisational systems remain unchanged, even if the mentors and
strongest advocates of these projects and initiatives are no longer active in the company. As long as this occurs, the
transformation will then be incorporated into a new culture at the organisation.
Through symbolic management, leaders attempt to inuence deeply entrenched norms and values, modelling supercial cultural elements such as stories, rites and ceremonies, so that people can express and convey cultural agreement.
This implies a deliberate decision by the leaders to convey signals that symbolise and strengthen a desirable culture.
However, a key aspect of strategic change refers to the modication of the basic beliefs of key decision-makers, given
that the beliefs of senior management play a critical role as regards inhibiting or facilitating changes in the company
(Schein 2010).
Along with symbolic administration, management should apply organisational development initiatives to reinforce
cultural changes. This is a method of planned change among individuals in an organisation and its working relationships. It represents a collective long-term effort supported by senior management to promote the growth and development of employees potential by changing attitudes, values, behaviour and the organisational structure, so that the
company can best adapt to new situations.
Wood (2009) states that depending on the project or intended change, organisational development can be achieved
through (1) workshops and group sessions to improve aspects of leadership and interpersonal skills; (2) methods to manage conicts, measurement of attitude and organisational climate prole; and (3) methods for designing organisational
Efforts to change culture, motivated by strategic reasons, aim to transform the organisation from an undesired
condition to a promising and sustainable future state. For Vilppola (2014), it means improvement and alignment on attitudes, values, goals, principles and practices of all individuals in the company. Aydin and Ceylan (2011) highlight that

International Journal of Production Research

organisational culture should change as a consequence of the companys strategic efforts in placing primary focus on
the customer and sustaining this by developing the skills of employees and improving their motivation, accountability
and satisfaction.
Cultural change is fundamental to improving employees performance and competitiveness and helps achieve the
companys strategic goals. It is also linked to the development of leadership and staff skills by means of a planned
learning process, aiming to provide knowledge and to change attitudes, values and behaviours in such a way that the
company can adapt better to new circumstances (Zangiski, Lima, and Costa 2013).
Therefore, we conclude that managing the process of cultural transformation is essential to ensure the necessary
changes in the organisation, to achieve successful and sustainable project deployment in the long term.

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2.2 Sustainability
The concept of sustainable development has achieved great notoriety in recent decades, driven by environmental movements and concerns about climate change that is presumably caused by human interference in ecosystems that impact
life and society. In 1987, the Brundtland Commission dened sustainable development as development that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED 1987).
According to Zaman (2014), the global population has been increasing along with economic expansion and greater
consumption accompanied by rising demand for natural resources. Consequently, there has been a signicant depletion
of global, non-renewable natural resources over the last few decades, with an increase in waste generation causing an
environmental impact.
Ji, Gunasekaran, and Yang (2014) demonstrate that regulatory agencies in several countries are still implementing
new environmental policies addressing the production, distribution, use and disposal of products. The most important
aspect of these policies is a focus on the dual impacts on the environment (i.e. atmosphere and soil). As examples, these
authors cite two policies the end of life vehicles directive, enacted in the European Union (EU) in 2006, which
demands that manufacturers prevailing recycling rate of 85% of used raw material reach 95% by 2015, and the Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment policy, which is focused on recycling electronic products in the EU.
Another example cited is the European Union Emission Trade Scheme (EU ETS) launched in January 2005 by the
EU member countries to combat climate change by addressing the trade of carbon emissions. More than 11,000 companies from various sectors, regulated by the EU ETS, have their carbon emissions monitored and limited and, when the
set limit is reached, they can buy carbon credits or seek alternatives provided in the policy to compensate for surplus
emissions (Black et al. 2013; Falkner 2013).
Sustainability has been recognised by organisations as a competitive advantage. As a result, many actions or attitudes that had been innovative in the past have today become fashionable and now form the basis of government laws
and regulations that have made the market progressively more restrictive. Further, there is a growing concern in society
about the degradation of the environment and therefore, companies that are prepared to meet government policies and
comply with international trade and consumer expectations have a competitive advantage over those that do not meet
these requirements (Black et al. 2013).
As part of the sustainable development strategy, Elkington (2000) introduced the triple bottom line (TBL) concept,
also known as people, planet and prot. The TBL provides a balanced relationship among economic, social and environmental aspects of business management so that sustainability goals are included in business practices. It measures
the economic results of the company, taking the degree of social and environmental responsibility into account. Figure 1
illustrates the interactions among the three pillars of sustainability proposed by Elkington (2000).
The three pillars that support the concept include:
(1) Prot: focuses on the economic value generated by the company through viable enterprises to meet the expectations of shareholders or to provide economic benet to the surrounding community and society;
(2) People: focuses on the establishment of fair practices for employees, partners and the community in which the
company develops its activities;
(3) Planet: focuses on the use of sustainable environmental practices and reducing the environmental impact by
decreasing the generation of pollutants and waste in production processes.
The intersection between the pillars of society (social responsibility) and the environment (environmental responsibility) results in a possible or bearable relationship, with increasing environmental awareness and appropriate practices
in internal processes resulting in the lowest possible impact on the surrounding community and region. There is a feasible relationship between the environment and economic (generation of economic value) pillars, due to investments in
technologies aligned to the concepts of cleaner production and reduction of pollutants, recycling practices and

J.R.X. Alves and J.M. Alves

Generation of



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Figure 1. Pillars of sustainability (TBL).

Source: Adapted from Oliveira et al. (2012).

participation in the carbon credit programme. In terms of the social and economic pillars, the relationship is fair, where
there is prot sharing driven by a partnership with suppliers, dealers, employees, the community and others stakeholders, and the establishment of a structure to support other activities in the region where the company activities are
focused. The intersection of all three pillars results in a sustainability relationship (Oliveira et al. 2012; Savitz and
Weber 2013).
Santos (2010) states that the opening of markets in the last decades, with the intensication of trade agreements
between countries and the removal of economic barriers, has caused industry to seek production system development in
a sustainable manner through several measures. These measures include reducing the use of materials, thereby minimising waste generation, reusing scrap raw materials in sub-products or adapting them for use as main raw materials, and
recycling practices that aim to reuse the waste in the production cycle from which it arose. In addition, materials that
become waste, or that are discarded, can be separated, collected and processed for the use as raw material for the manufacturing of new products. These are vital measures for manufacturing companies to thrive in this new market environment. Silva and Quelhas (2006) add that corporations have sought a balance between what is economically feasible and
what is ecologically sustainable and socially desirable. In this context, organisations adopting internal policies related to
sustainability have developed a competitive advantage for operating in markets that are difcult to enter and where
sustainable manufacturing is a critical factor.
2.3 The system of lean manufacturing
Lean manufacturing system concepts, derived from the just-in-time production philosophy developed in the 1950s in
Japan, were conceived by the Toyota Motor Company under business conditions that were very different from those of
the Western car giants of that time, namely Ford and General Motors. The latter used mass production, economies of
scale and large equipment to produce the maximum possible number of parts at the lowest possible cost. After the war,
in Japan, Toyota had a reduced market, while also having to produce a variety of vehicles on the same assembly line to
satisfy its customers. Consequently, the key to its operations was exibility (Liker 2004).
According to Womack and Jones (2003), one of the major goals of lean manufacturing is to implement a philosophy
of continuous improvement that allows companies to reduce costs, improve processes and eliminate waste to increase
customer satisfaction and prot. Lean manufacturing provides companies with the tools to survive in a global market
that demands higher quality, faster delivery and lower prices, at the volumes required to sustain the business. Specically, its main objectives are to: (a) drastically reduce waste in the supply chain, (b) reduce inventory and space occupied on the production oor, (c) create stronger production systems, (d) create appropriate systems for the delivery of
materials and (e) improve the organisations production areas in order to increase exibility. These authors also state that
lean thinking, encompassing continuous improvement to achieve the above objectives and to ensure that products or services add value for customers, can be created through ve principles: (1) specify value from the point of view of the
end customer by product family; (2) identify all the steps in the process value stream for each product family,

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International Journal of Production Research

eliminating whenever possible those steps that do not add value; (3) make the value-creating steps occur in a tight
sequence to ensure that the product ows smoothly towards the customer; (4) as ow is established, let customers pull
value from the next upstream activity; (5) once value is specied, value streams are identied, wasteful steps are eliminated, and ow and pull are established (this process is performed iteratively until a state of perfection is reached, in
which perfect value is created with no waste).
Maskell and Baggaley (2006) warn that one of the most difcult changes to be made by the senior leadership of the
organisation when starting a lean transformation process is to cease viewing production improvements merely as a
means to obtain cost reduction in the short term. This is because such typical mass production thinking will limit the
progress that the company can make with lean initiatives.
According to Mann (2010), the typical conversion of a mass production system to a lean system, involving the usual
physical changes we see, such as layout changes to improve the ow, the implementation of lean tools, development of
ways to enable smooth production, inventory reduction and standardised methods does not represent more than 20% of
lean manufacturing system implementation measures in a company. The remaining 80% are less obvious and more difcult to implement and are linked to the cultural transformation of the organisation.
Lean manufacturing is a revolutionary set of techniques that are conceptually different from traditional production
systems. Its principles are simple and logical, focused on identifying and eliminating waste. However, it is based substantially on a new way of thinking and of executing daily work within a company, requiring a radical change in the
way people look at the manufacturing process. Therefore, it requires a cultural change to achieve the discipline necessary to apply these new concepts and principles, thereby increasing the chances of a successful implementation of the
lean manufacturing system (Alves 2010).
3. The proposed model and its implementation method
The pursuit of performance improvement in the production process is desirable in any organisation as it directly links to
operating results and protability within the business. The complexity of the business situation and the uncertainties that
the market presents has motivated an increasing number of companies to seek ways to improve the management of their
production processes (Singh and Mahmood 2014). Recently, solutions based on the principles of lean manufacturing
have been generally adopted by industries to obtain productivity gains and to reduce operational costs (Ramesh and
Kodali 2012).
Due to the focus mostly being placed on physical changes and the application of tools, many companies fail to
effectively implement the lean manufacturing system, resulting in the eventual degradation of improvements and regressing to previous practices (Mann 2010). For Pham and Thomas (2012), in most cases, there is very limited attention
given to different leadership styles and employees behaviour working within organisation and the need for cultivating a
culture and employee mindset that will welcome and develop lean behaviours, and suggest a holistic approach for a
management system implementation.
The purpose of this section was to present a proposal for a model of production management, integrating the principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability, supported by a cultural transformation at the organisation, to maintain
improvements on a long-term basis.
3.1 Criteria for the elaboration of the proposed model
The proposed model was prepared using the studies mentioned in this papers bibliographic review as reference sources,
introducing them gradually into the organisation while involving areas that support manufacturing, forming an integrated
and structured production management system based on the concepts of lean manufacturing, sustainability and organisational cultural transformation. The implementation methodology proposed for this model, its respective stages and steps,
as well as its proposed sequence and recommendations is based on more than 10 years of the authors practical experience in the deployment of lean manufacturing and management systems in the automotive industry, achieving relevant
and sustainable results leveraged by improvements in production processes.
3.2 Structuring the proposed model
This model was built by integrating the concepts of lean manufacturing, sustainable development and the cultural transformation of the organisation coupled with organisational development, to ensure long-term support for business
improvement. Henceforth, this model will be addressed in this work as integrated system of management (ISMA).

J.R.X. Alves and J.M. Alves

Changes in the Organizational

- Hierarchical Structure
- Communication Process
- Organizational Development

-Principles of
-Lean Thinking

Operational Strategy

-Tools to
-Eliminate Waste

Process of


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- Environment
- Workplace Health & Safety
- Social Responsibility

Figure 2. Basic structure of the proposed model.

Source: The Author.

Figure 2 illustrates the basic structure of the proposed model, and the main objective of which is to develop a highperformance production process aimed at improving a companys competitiveness. Although this studys concepts have
great relevance to business as a whole by being applicable to any area of the company, its focus is restricted to areas
related to the production sector. It promotes a comprehensive integration of such areas, generating sustainable results in
inventory reduction, production costs, product quality improvement, shorter production cycles, faster delivery to end
customers and improved worker safety.
In this model, the principles of lean manufacturing and the associated tools facilitate the elimination of waste in the
production environment, creating a mindset of continuous improvement. Sustainability introduces to the model the elements of environmental preservation, concern for the health and safety of workers, and social responsibility. A focus on
culture accelerates cultural transformation through a change in characteristics such as work routines, habits, values and
behaviours. Organisational development aims to reinforce cultural changes through identifying and solving critical problems within the organisational structure related to the roles and responsibilities of each organisations chart. It is a collective long-term effort supported by senior management to promote the growth and development of the potential of
people by changing attitudes, values, behaviour and the structure of the organisation, so that the company can best adapt
to new situations.
3.3 Operation of the proposed model
The proposed model integrates the concepts of lean manufacturing and sustainability, supported by a cultural transformation at the organisation. It thus becomes a structured approach for the development of performance improvement in the
production process, enabling positive results in both the short and long term through an implementation methodology
that establishes a direct connection between operational activities and the objectives of internal company performance.
Figure 3 shows the interactions among the pillars of the proposed model.
3.3.1 Interaction between lean manufacturing and sustainability
The principles of sustainable development comprise a balanced combination of operating results, respect for people and
environmental preservation and provide the company with healthy manufacturing resulting from the rational use of raw
materials and natural resources as well as low waste.
The lean manufacturing system is based on the elimination of waste generated in the production environment and all
activities that do not add value to the enterprise. The principles of sustainability inuence the lean manufacturing system
concept, creating environmental awareness, and resulting in reduced waste and a limited use of resources. In this context, from the manufacturing perspective, these two concepts are complementary, since greater efciency of production
processes would generate larger economic gains and lower consumption of natural resources and production inputs, as

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Process of


Community Actions
Social Responsibility

Figure 3. The proposed ISMA model and its interactions.

Source: The Author.

well as lower waste generation. Consequently, there is also a reduction in the environmental impact arising from industrial activities.
The effectiveness of this interaction can be measured by specic performance indicators, such as electricity consumption per unit of output kW/unit (kilowatt per unit), water consumption per unit produced l/unit (litres per unit),
waste generated in the industrial process per unit produced kg/unit (kg per unit) and the number of accidents at work
per hour worked, among others.
3.3.2 Interaction between lean manufacturing and organisational culture
The implementation of a competitive strategy based on lean manufacturing requires organisational change to be successful. It is necessary to have employees effectively engaged, committed and motivated to support the implementation process and facilitate subsequent behavioural and cultural change in the organisation. Cultural change enables the support
of the lean manufacturing system, leveraging human capital to its fullest, with regard to not only physical work capacity
but also the capacity for innovation and creativity. This results in the development of a culture of continuous improvement, whereby all employees seek ways to improve their work, making the company increasingly competitive.
Organisational development involves using knowledge to develop employee potential with the goal of changing attitudes, values and behaviours so that the company can most effectively adapt to new situations.
This interaction can be measured periodically by specic performance indicators such as number of improvement
suggestions per employee, number of training hours per employee, internal surveys of employee satisfaction and internal
surveys on the organisations maturity regarding the concepts of lean manufacturing.
3.3.3 Interaction between organisational culture and sustainability
Organisational culture is comprised of a set of values, norms, beliefs, habits and customs that are shared collectively,
thereby dening a companys identity. Sustainability is concerned with sustainable development, seeking to meet the
needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; the principles of sustainability address the balance between operating result, respect for people and environment preservation. The
culture of the organisation is impacted by the policies and processes designed for sustainability, strengthening the beliefs
and values disseminated at all levels of the organisation. By doing so, the organisation conveys the message that its concern is not only the creation of economic value, but also creating a positive impact on the society and the environment
and on the future of its own businesses. An organisational culture based on the principles of sustainability assigns to

J.R.X. Alves and J.M. Alves

business a social function, through projects aimed at socially responsible management, investing in ethics, transparency
and quality in regard to all its relationships. Such a corporate culture also motivates employees to engage in social
actions and to provide services to society.
This interaction can be measured by specic indicators including the number of social action projects promoted by
the company, number of employees involved in volunteering and number of people impacted by social actions promoted
by the company.

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3.4 Requirements for the implementation of the proposed methodology

In order to successfully implement the ISMA, the engagement of employees at all levels of the organisation is essential,
especially leaders of production support areas, since everyone has a role to play in the model. The highest entity in the
hierarchy of the companys manufacturing department, often represented by the plant manager or operations manager, is
the person who is primarily responsible for leading the implementation process. It is this persons responsibility to
involve other functional leaders as well as to provide the necessary resources for the learning and structuring of work
teams and their functions. Having a specialist in programmes for continuous improvement and an organisational
development expert on the team is a vital prerequisite to support system training activities, assess gaps in leadership and
organisational structure, and provide a plan to address them, as well as to assume the role of change agents in the
organisational culture.
The implementation method presented in Section 3.5 describes specic actions in a logical sequence to bring
sustainable results as the implementation process progresses, developing employee skills through continuous and lifelong learning to promote the engagement of the whole team and bringing greater stability to the relevant processes.
This is mainly where the ISMA implementation method differs from the existing models, and it starts addressing
essential elements, building a solid foundation on Steps 1 and 2 and going forward through Steps 35 in a structured
manner fostering to keep working properly each one of the elements implemented. Another important difference to
mention is the level of details described in each step, which is useful to support the implementation by others lean

3.5 The implementation methodology

The implementation methodology of this model is divided into ve stages:

Structuring the implementation process,

Implementation planning,
Implementation of improvements,
Stabilisation of the processes and
Sharing knowledge and continuous improvement.

Table 1 shows in detail the stages and their respective steps.

3.5.1 First stage: structuring the implementation process
This stage sets the basic conditions and preparatory activities to initiate the change process in a structured manner.
Step 1: Conduct a preliminary diagnosis of the company
This preliminary assessment aims at evaluating the structure of the company, the production process and its stability,
and performance indicators, while highlighting priority areas for the beginning of the project.
Step 2: Establish a leader for the implementation process
A full-time dedicated agent of change with extensive knowledge in lean manufacturing should be appointed to lead the
implementation process. This leader will, among other duties, be responsible for forming and integrating the work
teams, planning and detailing the stages of the project and periodically reporting the results.
Step 3: Create a team to lead the implementation process
A team composed of the leaders of the functional departments, usually managers, must be created to plan and monitor
the work progress and remove barriers. This team should meet once a week and be led by the person with the highest
position in the company, having the project leader, dened in Step 2, as the main supporter.

International Journal of Production Research

Table 1. Stages and steps of the implementation of the ISMA.

Sequence for the implementation of the ISMA

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First stage structuring the implementation process

Step 1
Conduct a preliminary diagnosis of the company
Step 2
Establish a leader for the implementation process
Step 3
Create a team to lead the implementation process
Step 4
Select a representative pilot area to begin the process
Second stage implementation planning
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8

Dene and standardise performance indicators and visual controls

Develop a pilot area for a map of the value stream of the current and future state
Assess the organisational gaps and create development plans
Set a plan for certifying the standards ISO 14001/OHSAS 18001/SA8000

Third stage implementation of the improvements

Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12


Fourth stage stabilisation of the processes

Step 13
Step 14
Step 15

Attain the accreditation of the standards ISO 14001/OHSAS 18001/SA8000

Establish the verication audit of the elements implemented in the pilot area
Establish a methodology for a quick solution of problems

a continuous improvement programme

5S, TPM and SMED by means of kaizen events
poka-yokes by means of kaizen events
the system of pull production/production levelling/kanban

Fifth stage sharing knowledge and continuous improvement

Step 16
Evaluate results of the pilot area and take corrective actions if necessary
Step 17
Update the value stream map of the pilot area (current and future state)
Step 18
Reassess the organisational gaps and create development plans
Step 19
Dene the next steps and plans to expand to other areas
Step 20
Incorporate the lessons learnt into the integrated system
Notes: TPM, total productive maintenance; SMED, single minute to exchange of die (quick set-up); 5S, housekeeping method represented by Siri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke; ISO 14001, environmental management norms; OHSAS 18001, Occupational
Health and Safety Assessment Services norms; SA8000, Social Accountability norms.
Source: The Author.

Step 4: Select a representative pilot area to begin the process

Depending on the size of the company, a representative area of production diagnosed in Step 1 must be selected to go
through the initial transformation process. This area will serve to test the model, make adjustments to maximise the
results, collect the lessons learnt and understand its functionalities using practical experience.
3.5.2 Second stage: implementation planning
In this stage, opportunities for improving the pilot area are identied and prioritised by the implementation team. The
work teams are trained and prepared to assimilate new knowledge and become involved more actively in the change
Step 5: Dene and standardise performance indicators and visual controls
The key process indicators need to be reviewed or validated to represent the performance measurements comparable
with the other production sectors; these may include indicators of productivity, efciency, effectiveness, quality (rework/
scrap) and cost. These indicators need to be translated into visual controls, with a clear denition of the target, in order
to allow monitoring in the shortest period of time possible. The implementation team, taking as reference the guidance
of The Global Report Indicators (GRI), determined the most suitable indicators to clearly demonstrate information about
the economic, environmental and social performance of the organisation. Thus, the performance indicators represent
qualitative or quantitative information about the results associated with the organisation that are comparable and able to
demonstrate improvements over time (GRI 2011). Aligned with this statement and with the objectives of the proposed
project, four indicators are determined:


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(1) Lead time of the process: comprises the time between the input of a product into the rst processing step and
the output of the nished product at the last step. This is a macro-indicator of the production system, which
represents the interaction among the three pillars of the proposed model.
(2) Generation of waste per unit produced: in a given period, this is a measure of the relative environmental
effectiveness by comparing the amount of items produced with the generation of industrial waste. This indicator
is expressed in kilogrammes per unit (kg/unit).
(3) Organisational culture: expressed in percentage (%), this is the result of the simple average of three sub-indicators, which are obtained by means of internal and external research: (i) internal knowledge of the ISMA, (ii)
internal customer satisfaction and (iii) external customer satisfaction. These surveys are conducted periodically
by means of specic questionnaires and tabulated from 0 to 100% for each of their questions.
(4) Social responsibility: this concerns the number of people from the surrounding community who are affected by
social actions initiated by the company.
Step 6: Develop a pilot area for a map of the value stream of the current and future state
The value stream map (VSM) enables a complete understanding of the current condition of the process and exposes
opportunities for improvement at all stages. The VSM is an important tool for continuous improvement. Once the future
condition has been implemented, it becomes the current condition, allowing the elaboration of a new map for a future
condition, and so on.
The working team appointed for the creation of the maps of the current and future conditions, previously dened by
the implementation team, must be multifunctional and have the authority to implement the proposed improvements.
Step 7: Assess the organisational gaps and create development plans
A change in strategy requires the development of new abilities, knowledge and skills for employees to position themselves as agents of continuous transformation, optimising processes, and creating a culture of improvement that innovates and adapts to new situations and new environments. Organisational development, focused on expanding the skills,
knowledge and behaviour of people, must keep up with the transformation of the company in order to support manufacturing strategy and operational effectiveness.
To succeed with the implementation of lean manufacturing, leaders directly involved in the project need to be on the
same level in terms of their knowledge of the system, to facilitate fruitful discussions and a quick understanding of the
problems for a suitable referral of solutions. Therefore, an effective training programme based on organisational
development initiatives should be developed to meet the new training needs of the leadership team and the whole team
impacted by the change.
Step 8: Set a plan for certifying the standards ISO 14001/OHSAS 18001/SA8000
The implementation of the ISMA envisages the incorporation of the following standards: ISO 14001 for environmental
management, the reduction of waste and the consumption of natural resources; OHSAS 18001 to motivate the
elimination of production process interruptions caused by work accidents and the costs related to the loss of employees;
and SA8000 to enable productivity gains driven by respect for employees, avoiding excessive hours or employee abuse
that causes fatigue. A plan to attain these certications must be created in parallel with the activities of model

3.5.3 Third stage: implementation of the improvements

The planning performed in the previous stage enables the identication of opportunities for the improvement, the creation of a training plan and the preparation of the leadership and work teams. In this stage, the changes begin to be
implemented along with the key supporting elements. New learning is acquired through practice and the rst results start
to emerge.
Step 9: Implement a continuous improvement programme
Developing a culture of continuous improvement in a company is the central point of the ISMA model. Having people
that are motivated to use their innovation capacity and creativity to nd ways to improve their daily jobs is among the
challenges to be addressed through cultural change. A programme for continuous improvement, based on the suggestion
of ideas, must be implemented to enable the individual and collective participation of employees at all levels of the
organisation. The programme should be structured to collect suggestions, analyse them quickly and implement and
transform the suggestions into a new standard.

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A plan for conducting monthly kaizen events, typically lasting one week, must be designed to reinforce the concepts
of the model, focusing on improvements regarding 5S, safety, ergonomics, productivity and waste reduction in a predetermined area. The one-week kaizen event is structured as follows: Day 1: team training concerning the concepts and
objectives of the event, Day 2: diagnosis of the current condition, Day 3: proposal for improvement, Day 4: implementation of improvements, and Day 5: standardisation and measurement of the results.
Step 10: Implement 5S, TPM and SMED by means of kaizen events
In order to create a clean, organised and safe working area, 5S is an important tool. It helps to identify waste and provides a basic foundation for the development of other elements of lean manufacturing.
TPM focuses on reducing waste associated with low equipment availability, resulting from unplanned interruptions
due to breakdowns or malfunctions; the goal is achieved through the involvement of the operators in maintaining their
own equipment.
The time elapsed between the last item of a batch produced and the rst good item of the next batch is called equipment changeover time or set-up time. This time does not add value; therefore, it is wasteful and needs to be minimised
in order to provide exibility to the production system.
The implementation team must establish a working group to put these elements into practice in the pilot area by
means of a kaizen event, as mentioned in Step 9, with the direct involvement of the operators of the pilot area.
To ensure the proper functioning of these elements, a plan for periodic monitoring must be established through
audits, with any possible deviation being corrected immediately.
Step 11: Implement poka-yokes by means of kaizen events
Delivering high-quality products is one of the essential requirements for the growth of businesses and for maintaining
long-term relationships with customers. The use of mistake proong systems (poka-yokes) to prevent unintentional
errors on the production lines makes the task of system inspection independent of the operator and strengthens the quality of the system process. This element should be implemented by means of a kaizen event, as mentioned in Step 9.
In order to ensure the proper operation of the mistake proong systems, a plan for periodic monitoring must be
established through a checklist that records the result of the system functionality tests.
Step 12: Implement the system of pull production/production levelling/kanban
The system for replenishment of materials within a lean thinking organisation aims to have at the place of production:
(i) the correct parts, (ii) at the time, they are needed and (iii) only in the required amounts. This system is supposed to
control total inventory levels within a cell of production and among the workstations, triggering refuelling only when
the amount of inventory is below established limits. The function of materials planning of the company must implement
a system of material replenishment that conforms to these assumptions, aiming to stabilise the ow of materials within
the cells and production lines, avoiding deciency or excess and controlling the amount produced.
3.5.4 Fourth stage: stabilisation of the processes
The changes performed must be stabilised in order to avoid deterioration. The elements of this stage aim mainly at the
standardisation of improvements and establishment of the methodologies of supervision and problem solving.
Step 13: Attain the accreditation of the standards ISO 14001/OHSAS 18001/SA8000
The implementation team has to identify a working team linked to the area of HSE (health, safety and environment) in
order to proceed with the implementation of the ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and SA8000 standards.
Step 14: Establish a verication audit of the elements implemented in the pilot area
The involvement and commitment of employees in the implementation of the ISMA is one of the key success factors.
Thus, in order to monitor and assess the evolution and maturity of the elements implemented in the third stage, implementation of the improvements, a method of auditing should be established, aiming to assess the behaviour, knowledge
and correct application of the tools of lean manufacturing.
The implementation team has to establish a working team in order to develop an audit methodology that serves this
Step 15: Establish a methodology for a quick solution to problems
The occurrence of problems in the production areas, caused by deviations from the established pattern or instability
in the processes, impacts the ow of materials and causes undesirable effects if they are not quickly solved.


J.R.X. Alves and J.M. Alves

A methodology for fast troubleshooting must be developed to provide both a structured approach to the problems as
well as quick solutions that allow the processes to return to normal conditions.
The method adopted for rapid problem solving should be easy to understand and capable of generic application in
problems of varying natures in the production environment, allowing the solving of quality deviations, equipment breakdowns, accidents at work, abnormally long processing times, lack of supply and any other type of wastes. Its basic
structure should focus on: (i) understanding the facts, (ii) nding the failure mode, (iii) nding the root cause, (iv)
implementing corrective actions, (v) evaluating the corrective actions and (vi) standardising with the update of all
relevant documents.
3.5.5 Fifth stage: sharing knowledge and continuous improvement

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Upon reaching this stage, the implementation of the ISMA in the pilot area has been completed with substantial
improvements in the productive system and in the skills and knowledge of the leaders and members of the working
teams. The basis of continuous improvement has been set. This stage incorporates the lessons learnt into the model and
denes the next steps for the expansion of the project to other areas of the company.
Step 16: Evaluate results of the pilot area and take corrective actions if necessary
After the complete implementation of the ISMA elements in the pilot area and a complete stabilisation of the processes,
demonstrated by improvements in the performance indicators dened in Step 5, the implementation team should conduct
a critical analysis of these results, together with the results of the audits implemented in Step 14, and assess further
opportunities for improvement. Corrections should be made for later reapplication of the critical analysis and so on, until
it reaches a satisfactory condition.
As an auxiliary action to assess the obtained results, the diagnosis performed in Step 1 can be repeated in order to
compare the conditions before and after the implementation.
Step 17: Update the VSM of the pilot area (current and future state)
The VSM of the future state, elaborated in Step 6 and now fully implemented, becomes the present condition. Therefore, the execution of a new round is recommended to update the VSM of the present condition and to create a new
map of the future condition, thus applying the philosophy of continuous improvement in the pilot area.
Step 18: Reassess the organisational gaps and refresh the development plans
A review of the organisational development plan, prepared in Step 7, has to be conducted by the human resources
department with the support of the leadership, to analyse the skills and knowledge obtained by the employees. The gaps
identied have to be lled by new organisational development actions.
Step 19: Dene next steps and plans to expand to other areas
Once the implementation cycle in the pilot area has been completed, with the evidence of substantial improvements and
process stability achieved through the application of the ISMA and demonstrated through the performance indicators, it
is necessary to share best practices and learning acquired in other areas in the company. Therefore, a new focus area
should be established for one more cycle of the practical application of the model.
Step 20: Incorporate the lessons learnt into the ISMA
For the sake of continuous improvement, the lessons learnt throughout the implementation of the ISMA in the pilot area
must be incorporated into the model. The implementation team should conduct a critical analysis of any difculties or
doubts regarding the implementation or interpretation of the steps as reported by the work teams and provide the necessary improvements and clarications, turning these into a new standard.
4. Conclusion
Finding a way to improve the performance of the production process has been a challenge for many manufacturing
organisations that aim to address competition in an increasingly globalised economy. Incorporating environmental considerations into manufacturing provides the company with favourable conditions for maintaining the continuous
improvement of its processes and its image in society. In response to the research question, this study proposes a model
of production management and its implementation methodology, integrating the principles of lean manufacturing and
sustainability, supported by a cultural transformation in the organisation. The model utilises the tools of lean manufacturing to eliminate waste in the production environment and to generate productivity gains. Integrating sustainability

International Journal of Production Research


concepts into the model allows further gains through initiatives that reduce both the use of natural resources and the
generation of industrial waste. Social responsibility policies provide a more humane image of the company through the
mechanism of community work. Cultural transformation is infused in the model by organisational actions that provide
knowledge and facilitate the development of employee potential, aiming to change attitudes, values, behaviours and outcomes. The implementation methodology denes a logical sequence of events. It initially provides activities for analysis,
structure and planning and prepares the environment for the steps of implementation, stabilisation and the assessment of
the results.
The next step will be to test the model proposed in this paper in an actual application to validate its effectiveness.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.


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Jos Roberto Xavier Alves

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