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Lean competence: integration of theories in operations management practice

By Glenn Parry, John Mills and C. Martin


Purpose - This paper aims to develop a methodology for lean implementation that reduces the risk of damaging a company's key resources and abilities through the application of core competence theory. Design/methodology/approach - Academic literature provided background conceptual understanding of lean and core competence theory for an industrial working party of domain experts from 15 major aerospace companies in the UK to develop a methodology for lean implementation that would not damage firm's competences. The methodology was trailed through cooperative inquiry in a business unit of a leading global aerospace company using a case study approach. Findings - An accessible definition of core competence that captures academic theory was proposed through an industrial working group. Further a methodology for lean implementation, drawing upon core competence theories was developed. The method comprised four tools: market analysis, the visible value stream, customer value analysis, and financial modelling. Tools drew upon established practice and their joint application is intended to safeguard a company's key resources and capabilities from loss or impact during lean implementations. Application in a single case study company and the effects observed over a number of years indicated the methodology, though developmental, was capable of significant positive effects. Originality/value - The paper provides a practical definition of core competence and application of theory within a lean implementation, trailed and validated in an industrial setting. Competence theory has previously been described as "lack-lustre" due to the abstract nature of the ideas

Topics: HF, HD28
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Year: 2010
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