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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing lean warehousing: Development and validation of a lean assessment tool
by Sobanski, Eric Benjamin, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2009, 317; 3386955
Abstract (Summary)

This research was undertaken to fill a gap in the academic literature and in practice by developing a comprehensive lean implementation assessment tool for warehousing operations implementing lean manufacturing principles and techniques. The lean implementation assessment tool developed provides specific, actionable items that can be used in practice to further implement lean production and provide useful information to monitor the initiative's progress and make better resource decisions. Furthermore, the results from the application of the lean implementation assessment tool are analyzed to better understand the practical implementation and underlying factors of lean warehousing. Consequently, the research outcomes are two-fold, both filling the gap in the development of a comprehensive warehousing lean implementation assessment tool and providing insight into the actual implementation of lean warehousing.

The academic literature provides the historical context, evolution, fundamental constructs, and corresponding practices associated with lean manufacturing and lean warehousing. The specific lean constructs identified from the lean manufacturing literature that are measured in the lean implementation assessment tool developed in this research are visual management, standardized processes, continuous and leveled flow, pull systems, workplace organization, empowered employees, quality assurance, and continuous improvement.

The lean constructs were operationally defined with respect to the associated lean practices to measure implementation and utilization on various evaluations points comprising the various warehousing processes in a facility. Each of the key constructs was assessed for all the major functional areas applicable within each warehouse.

The lean constructs identified were further developed working within multiple warehousing facilities, each in various stages of lean implementation with unique characteristics and industries to enhance the generalizability of the lean implementation assessment tool developed in this research. The lean constructs are refined and operationally defined through onsite analysis and multiple assessor use to ensure cross-facility applicability and multiple assessor perspectives.

The operationally defined and scored evaluation items were aggregated to determine scores at the facility level, individual function level, and individual construct level to provide usable feedback and analysis. The data collection process identified specific areas of improvement and provided feedback with regard to the implementation and utilization of lean warehousing principles.

Finally, to validate the assessment tool, twenty-eight lean implementation assessments were performed at twenty-five facilities ensuring that measurement outcomes meet expectations at multiple warehouses across industries and across geographical regions, ensuring equity among comparisons, and identifying future improvements and research opportunities. The data analysis conducted uses various multivariate statistical techniques to identify interrelated lean constructs and practices, any potential effects of inter-rater agreement or non-agreement, and a potentially reduced and simplified lean implementation assessment tool structure. Furthermore, the implications of the underlying factors and structure of assessment, implementation, and practice are examined based on the findings from the application of the lean implementation assessment tool.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pratt, David B.
Commitee: DeYong, Camille F., Kiser, Kenneth J., Rossler, Paul E., Yauch, Charlene A.
School: Oklahoma State University
Department: Industrial Engineering & Management
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: DAI-B 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Industrial engineering
Keywords: Continuous improvement, Lean assessment, Lean implementation, Lean warehousing, Warehousing and distribution, Warehousing assessment
Publication Number: 3386955
ISBN: 978-1-109-52806-0
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