The research develops and applies an integrated methodology for creating a Lean Manufacturing Environment in a traditional industry: the Portuguese Textile and Clothing Industry. This is achieved by developing a modelling tool using quality as a basis of performance assessment. In the context of the textile industry specific research objectives were: to evaluate current and potential application of Lean Manufacturing; to determine current business performance assessment criteria; to determine current practice in formulation of quality policy and metrics, and their impact on the effectiveness of new production technologies and techniques; to develop an integrated methodology to link the variables identified as important for the creation of a Lean Manufacturing environment; to apply the methodology in selected industrial test sites; and to derive quality system specifications which allow the realisation of Lean Manufacturing. The idea proposed in this thesis uses a quality approach to facilitate the application of Lean Manufacturing to the Textile and Clothing Industry. The author proposes a model for this evolution. Ile model developed includes objective variables (quality, productivity, delivery, cost, innovation, and time related elements), as well as subjective variables (flexibility, technological, and anthropocentric elements). It assesses the company performance from a Lean perspective, and not only from traditional Financial or Quality Assurance perspectives. The model development derived from applied research in 324 companies. A technique based on Data Envelopment Analysis was developed to analyse data from those companies. It assisted quantification of Lean Manufacturing assessment. The research revealed that a particular set of companies, which have implemented quality assurance systems, are closer to achieving Lean Manufacturing objectives. This research project concludes with a proposal for new quality system requirements specifically designed to facilitate the adoption of Lean Manufacturing
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