The main objective of this paper is to investigate the degree to which lean manufacturing (LM) practices are being implemented within Brazilian small and medium enterprises (SMEs), by defining what LM means, in the view of SMEs in Brazil. In addition, the paper investigates the relationship between LM implementation and performance of such companies. The research method used in this paper comprised of an exploratory survey using the partial least-square method with the structural equation modelling technique (PLS-SEM). The results show that the companies studied used practices in a fragmented manner, without a holistic view of LM, which is considered to be one of the most important parts of this approach. Only the constructs of statistical process control, total productive maintenance and employee involvement are being implemented as an integrated approach for Brazilian SMEs. These companies do not take other important constructs such as customer involvement, continuous flow, pull production, set-up time reduction, supplier development and supplier feedback into consideration as part of LM systems, despite using some practices in a dispersed manner. Concerning performance, the present study shows that even in a fragmented way, the implementation of these LM practices help these companies to achieve improvement in operational performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Strategy and Management
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering