The Challenges of Lean Transformation and Implementation in the Manufacturing Sector

Catherine Maware, David M. Parsley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    In this study we explored the challenges involved in Lean Transformation and implementation in the manufacturing sector. Using survey data from 50 North American manufacturing organizations, we examined the challenges involved in implementing and sustaining Lean Manufacturing (LM) principles and practices in production processes. The fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) and the fuzzy analytic network process (FANP) were used to rank the considerable challenges observed in these organizations. We concluded that the need for a change in organizational culture was the major barrier to Lean implementation. It is challenging to sustain Lean without a culture shift and a clear direction set by the organization’s leadership team. The originality of the paper relates to prioritizing the cultural aspects of organizations as a major barrier to LM implementation. Other challenges encountered during Lean implementation in the manufacturing industries were related to management support, technical knowledge, and employee resistance to change. Early identification of these challenges enables companies to question their capabilities before implementing the Lean philosophy. In this study we used results obtained from 50 manufacturing companies in North America, representing a subset of manufacturing organizations. As a result, it must be interpreted based on the data acquisition method and the study’s sample size.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6287
    JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - May 1 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


    • Lean Manufacturing
    • Lean implementation
    • Lean training
    • company culture
    • leadership

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Building and Construction
    • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
    • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
    • Hardware and Architecture
    • Computer Networks and Communications
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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