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Title: An exploratory investigation of the implementation of Lean in a UK automotive plant
Author: McSweeney, Andrew S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 6282
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis reflects upon several decades of research into Lean Production systems, highlighting the need for further investigation using an empirical study of exemplar implementations of Lean. The initial point of departure is an analysis of the current views of Lean based on a detailed literature review. The resulting Views of Lean Table provides a framework for the investigation of an exemplar Lean operation, viz the Nissan Sunderland Plant, widely regarded to be one of the most productive automotive plants in Europe. The exploratory nature of this investigation, and unique opportunity for access, argued for the use of an inductive single case study as an appropriate research approach. A four phase approach was used to; a) identify views of Lean, b) gain an initial understanding of the Nissan Production Way at the Nissan Sunderland Plant, b) acquire a detailed description of the Nissan Production Way and c) to assess the level of intrinsic motivation amongst employees. The primary objective of this research is to establish whether our current knowledge of Lean sufficiently encapsulates the concept’s many facets. Detailed semi-structured interviews with Nissan Production Way experts revealed that Nissan Sunderland Plant’s production system uses a large number of elements in contrast to the relatively narrow list of ‘Lean’ elements cited in the Views of Lean Table. In contrast to academic theory there was a focus on extrinsic motivation with low intrinsic motivation offset by the plant’s continuous fight for survival and ‘whatever-it-takes’ attitude. In practice Lean is viewed as an overarching philosophy with a toolkit encompassing a wide range of tools which are used when they are suitable for the task in hand.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Car production systems ; Lean Production ; Lean implementation ; Nissan ; Human factors ; Technical factors