How Lean is Swedish Product Development? : A study of Lean practices in large Swedish companies

University essay from Örebro universitet/Akademin för naturvetenskap och teknik

Abstract: This master’s thesis aims to capture the essence of Lean Product Development and to evaluate to what extent Swedish companies have implemented lean principles. Previous studies in this field exemplify how methods are used by already lean practitioners, and there is a lack ofknowledge about the extent to which lean in is used in product development in industry. A literature review reveals a number of principles and perspectives; 5 Lean principles, 13 Lean Product Development principles, 14 Lean Management principles and 4 critical factors for Lean (or Knowledge-based) Product Development. These principles and perspectives were the starting point in developing the survey questions. The survey of 26 questions was sent to 67 large Swedish companies (more than 249 employees) working with product development and design. The response rate of 39 per centwas unusually high for this type of internet survey. The main results of the survey are that Lean methods and tools are rather extensively used in product development, but the culturehas yet not permeated the entire company. The workload of the product developmentdepartment is too high and a structured method for organizational learning is lacking. Recommendations for the studied companies are to reduce the workload and increase thetime for reflection, learning and process improvement. Also, the capability to implement strategies can be improved.

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