Promoting and Sustaining Lean Initiatives

Patrick Connell


This study focuses on sustaining gains made in continuous improvement projects in a lean manufacturing implementation at Nichols Portland in Portland, Maine. The study follows seven projects done in fiscal year 2007 and uses several interviews for data accumulation as well as observation. The research then focuses on how the leadership practices support the lean manufacturing implementation being accepted and sustained by the employees. Lean manufacturing is being done all over the world right now as a means of removing all wasteful activities associated with manufacturing processes. Sustaining completely the gains made during projects (or kaizen events) is a key piece in a successful lean implementation. The organizational leaders play a key role in planning, training employees, communicating, and measuring the success of lean activities. This research has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Southern Maine.