Centre for Process Excellence and Innovation

Process Excellence

Process excellence can best be defined as superiority in the execution of business processes, such as product development, manufacturing, supply chain management, and services. One particular interest lies with the evolution, adoption and adaptation of lean six sigma tools and techniques to manufacturing, distribution and service operations.

Evolution of Lean Thinking

Lean Thinking has its roots in the Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing philosophy that was developed by Toyota after World War II. Under the terms of Toyota Production System (TPS), "Toyota Way" or since 1990, "Lean Thinking", it has revolutionised the way we think about Operations - not just in manufacturing, but also in public and private sector service operations. As Lean is being applied outside its original context, it had to be adopted. This process of adoption and evolution is crucial in making Lean work in these new contexts.

Hines, P., Holweg, M. and Rich, N. (2004) "Learning to evolve: a review of contemporary lean thinking." International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 24(10): 994-1011 (DOI: 10.1108/01443570410558049)

Holweg, M. (2007) "The genealogy of lean production." Journal of Operations Management, 25(2): 420-437 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jom.2006.04.001)

Bicheno, J. and Holweg, M. (2009) The lean toolbox: the essential guide to lean transformation. Buckingham: PICSIE Books, 4th edition.

Lean Six Sigma in the Public Sector

One sector that in particular has seen many recent implementations of Lean is the public sector. We are currently engaged in a range of projects within healthcare and the prison service.

Radnor, Z.J., Holweg, H. and Waring, J. (2012) "Lean in healthcare: the unfilled promise?" Social Science and Medicine, 74(3): 364-371 (DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.02.011)

Swift, Even Flow

The swift, even flow concept was developed by Roger Schmenner and Morgan Swink in 1990 as a generic approach to process improvement. In 2012 Professor Schmenner further developed this concept in his book Getting and Staying Productive.

Schmenner, R.W. and Swink, M.L. (1998) "On theory in operations management." Journal of Operations Management, 17(1): 97-113 (DOI: 10.1016/S0272-6963(98)00028-X)

Schmenner, R. (2012) Getting and staying productive: applying swift, even flow to practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Please contact Dr Matthias Holweg to find out more.

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