A conceptual framework for a systemic understanding of barriers during lean implementation

Praveen Puram, Michael Sony, Jiju Antony, Anand Gurumurthy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Scopus citations


    Purpose: Multiple organisations which have attempted to implement lean production/manufacturing/thinking have failed to achieve significant benefits. Practitioners and researchers have identified the barriers that hinder successful implementation. This study first consolidates such lean implementation barriers that are common across all industry sectors. Further, a systemic understanding of lean barriers is attempted by determining causal relationships between barriers and their relative causal strength. Design/methodology/approach: Barriers to lean implementation were first identified from extant literature and categorised into broad barrier groups. These barrier groups were classified into four categories as specified by Liker's 4P model of lean–philosophy, people and partnership, processes and problem-solving. Additionally, interrelations between barriers, both within and among these four categories were determined. Findings: The barriers classified under philosophy were the most critical as it affects the barriers in other groups. Similarly, barriers such as lack of leadership and top management commitment, lack of resources, shortage of lean consultants and trainers, lack of systemic understanding of lean and the need for its implementation, lack of lean expertise and training were found to be the most critical causal barriers. Research limitations/implications: Highly critical barriers in terms of causality should be addressed with high priority, as effective measures against them may eliminate or reduce the impact of other barriers. Originality/value: This study addresses the confusion regarding the high number of lean barriers in extant literature by providing a systemic understanding of the same. By exploring the interrelations among barriers, the most important causal barriers and barrier types (4Ps) are identified, the knowledge of which could improve lean implementation success. This is a novel attempt in the domain of lean.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)1469-1484
    Number of pages16
    JournalTQM Journal
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - 29 Nov 2022


    • Barriers
    • Causal relationship
    • Framework
    • Interrelation
    • Lean implementation
    • Systemic approach
    • Toyota management principles


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