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A Framework for Designing a Lean Production System for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

In order to survive in highly competitive local and global markets, it is vital to satisfy the changing demand of the customers. Thus, the importance of competitive factors arises. The companies should provide sufficient amount of products or services on time with the most advantageous prices and best possible quality.

Additionally, flexibility is crucial to deal with the change in demand. Therefore, a flexible production system for manufacturers is vastly required.

The aim of this Master Thesis is to provide a framework for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) that seek ISO 9001 and 14001 Certifications by proposing a Lean Production System. As a case study, the Swedish company CombiQ AB is investigated regarding its current situation with short and long term goals. Thereby, this framework includes the design of a suitable production system that meets CombiQ’s needs and additionally to that, instructs the company how to build up a Lean Production System.

In parallel with ISO Certification requirements, two main Lean Techniques (5S and Kaizen) are explained and exemplified throughout the project. These techniques are straightly linked with the requirements of Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001) and Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001).

As for empirical data, this project is constructed by six interviews within the company and one additional interview with an ISO auditor. As a complement, operational and managerial processes are observed. Additionally, relevant literature is examined, presented and aligned with empirical findings in order to cover the essential concepts of this thesis.

The final proposal is the usage of lean thinking as a core philosophy guided by the lean principles and techniques with the ISO requirements in parallel, which are the selected concepts to design a desired production system. Once the design is proposed; as further steps, the company would be able to continue the development process by implementing and starting-up the production. Last but not least; as the major outcome of this Lean Production System framework, the ISO certifications would be accomplished with a higher customer satisfaction and competitiveness.
Source: Jönköping University
Author: Padilla, Raul | Pekmezci, Talat

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