Lean versus Agile manufacturing: an empirical investigation into the Midlands (UK) automotive industry

Qamar, Amir (2018). Lean versus Agile manufacturing: an empirical investigation into the Midlands (UK) automotive industry. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Lean and Agile manufacturing concepts have received substantial development within the literature, however there remains a scarcity in studies investigating the concepts simultaneously and a growing sense of confusion between the two paradigms. This thesis sought to provide clarity by distinguishing lean and agile firms based on the key tools, practices, routines and concepts they employed, test whether contextual factors influence the choice of paradigm, and rigorously measure each approach on a range of performance indicators.

Findings upheld Skinner’s (1969) assertions, i.e. the ‘trade-off law’, as lean firms were superior in costs and quality levels, while agile firms were superior in terms of flexibility and speed. Results contended ‘leagile’ supply chain (SC) literature, as lean and agile firms were found to be predominantly operating downstream and upstream within automotive SCs respectively. Therefore, this thesis proposes the LAASC (Lean Agile Automotive Supply Chain) Model which suggests that when operating within a complex SC, firms competing on costs and quality (lean) are more likely to be found downstream in the SC, whereas firms competing on speed and flexibility are more likely to be found upstream in the SC.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School
Funders: Other
Other Funders: The University of Birmingham
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8407


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