Investigating the factors affecting readiness for lean system adoption within Kuwaiti small and medium-sized manufacturing industries

  • Mohamad Al-Najem

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The central belief in lean systems (LS) is that the implementation of lean practices will reduce different type of wastes. However, LS implemented without an evaluation of organisational readiness may lead to failure. In this study, a measurement framework to evaluate the lean readiness (LR) and LS within Kuwaiti small and medium-sized manufacturing industries (K-SMMIs) has been developed. This measurement framework encompasses the quality and management practices related to LS (processes; planning and control; human resources (HR); top management and leadership; customer relations; and supplier relations) to assess the practices in K-SMMIs and determine whether they have the foundation to implement LS.

    Mixed methods are adopted in this study, including quantitative approaches (questionnaire administered to 50 K SMMIs and structured observation conducted in 27 K-SMMIs), and qualitative approaches (two case studies (observation and semi-structured interviews with staff of various levels), and semi-structured interviews with 27 managers of K-SMMIs and 26 experts). In addition, a comprehensive literature review has been carried out. The findings indicate that current quality and management practices within K-SMMIs are not very supportive towards LS. Many factors are revealed, both external and internal, that affect K-SMMIs with respect to LS readiness, including language barriers, and deficiencies in aspects including quality workers in terms of education and skills; technology; government attention; know-how regarding LS; market competitiveness; and urgency for adopting LS.

    This LS and LR measurement framework relating to K-SMMIs provides a unique effort in the area of lean system, and the study’s findings can be used as an internal checklist prior to and during LS implementation. However, this research study contains some obvious limitations, such as very limited information being available on LS and quality initiatives in Kuwait, and small sample size. Further, the LR framework should be tested in small and medium-sized manufacturing industries that have successfully used LS, in order to provide a benchmark.
    Date of AwardFeb 2014
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorHom Dhakal (Supervisor) & Spencer Onuh (Supervisor)

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