University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/JTH, Industriell organisation och produktion


This research is a cross sectional study which is conducted as an email survey. Accordingly, 22 companies have been surveyed to investigate the tendency and barriers for SMEs in Sweden regarding implementation of lean production. For that, barriers are categorized into two categories. The first category includes the ones which prevent SMEs from starting lean production (introduction barriers). The second category encompasses the ones which SMEs face while they are implementing lean production (implementation barriers).

Moreover, to obtain a better view about problematic areas in lean transformation for SMEs, improvements and achievements of the investigated companies in their lean implementation processes have been assessed. However, it was not a detailed or in depth analysis, since the main purpose of this research was not to assess SMEs progress, rather it was to identify the hindrances in SMEs’ path to become lean.

The results from this survey showed that most of the lean principles are applicable in SMEs. However, SMEs have problem with lack of time, management support, finance, resistance to change, change process, and training.  In addition lack of skilled employees for implementation of lean production was found as the biggest introduction barrier for SMEs. Moreover, the result of this research shows that small companies do not show tendency to implement lean production.


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