Leanness and agility: a comparative theoretical view

Nesrine Eltawy, David Gallear
2017 Industrial management & data systems  
Purpose -The main aim of this research is to compare and distinguish between two salient means for improving the management of, and leveraging the effectiveness of, supply chains. Leanness and agility have been considered recently as prominent and successful means for competing. The paper examines the literature on leanness and agility thinking including their definitions, importance and practices. The paper also highlights the argument surrounding the relationship direction between these two
more » ... ncepts. Design/methodology/approach -A systematic comparative review was conducted on the lean literature and agility literature at three levels: manufacturing, organisation, and supply chain. The systematic review on the lean concept has been conducted based on articles published over the last two decades. The agility concept review was conducted based on the articles published from its inception in 1991 through early 2016. Findings -a conceptual framework is presented following the in-depth review. The conceptual framework sets out the input, operational practice and output elements necessary for both philosophies to take root successfully. A discussion based on the review of the literature on the direction of the relationship between leanness and agility is also presented, and should also be included in any future empirical testing of the conceptual framework. Research limitations/implications -The paper is based on a systematic review which extends previous research as it has been conducted in a detailed and clear systematic manner which enables a deepl understanding of the similarities and differences between leanness and agility philosophies from an operational perspective: inputs, operational, and outcomes elements. Future research is required to empirically test the conceptual relationships. Practical implications -Companies are constantly searching for ways to improve their supply chains. This paper seeks to provide a deep understanding for lean and agility philosophies as important means for achieving this goal. This has been conducted by clarifying the differences, similarities and the direction of the relationship that may exist between these two approaches as means for improving a company's supply chain. Originality/value -Based on a systematic review on leanness and agility philosophies, a conceptual framework exploring the differences and similarities between both philosophies from an operational systematic perspective is presented. Keywords -Supply chain management, lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, lean supply, agile manufacturing, agile enterprise, and agile supply chain Paper type -Literature review
doi:10.1108/imds-01-2016-0032 fatcat:djndccc7fnam5a7t2p4vpttpga