Impact of Lean Thinking and Practices on Architectural/System Architectures Level Innovation in Swedish Manufacturing Industry

by Abdul Samad Shaikh

Institution: Högskolan i Halmstad
Year: 2014
Keywords: Lean; Architectural Innovation; Standardization; Value Stream; DFM; HRM; Social Sciences; Economics and Business; Business Administration; Samhällsvetenskap; Ekonomi och näringsliv; Företagsekonomi; Verksamhetsstyrning; Business Management
Record ID: 1363666
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-26104


This thesis analyzes and argues how implementing lean principles and tools affect an organization’s architectural innovation. Introducing new product architectures and modifying existing architectures is often difficult for companies. Architectural innovation requires extensive company resources for experimentations and new learning.    Applying lean principles and tools in an  innovative organization often make difficulties since innovation focus on active exploration for new solutions within a constantly changing environment (high risks). Whereas, lean focus on eliminating all kind of waste in the system (low risks). Little is known about how lean principles and tools might affect architectural innovation in organizations. Therefore, this research explores the relationship between lean and architectural innovation in manufacturing industries. The data sample use for this study is Swedish manufacturing companies in seventeen different industry types.  The types of industries consist on system level product type such as electrical or/and mechanical integrated products.  Results suggest that in lean principles and tools, standardization, value stream and human resource management (HRM) have significantly positive effect on organization’s architectural innovation capability. Whereas, lean design for manufacturability (DFM) has no significant effect on an organization’s architectural innovation capability. This study’s findings suggest companies that have not implemented lean thinking and practices yet can adopt lean concepts not only for efficiently utilizing the resources but for improving the architectural innovation also.  Furthermore, lean companies should increase their focus on customer involvement in product development as well as in cross-functional training of employees and on job training programs to improve the architectural innovation. Findings suggest that those companies that have strategic focus on architectural innovation can adopt lean concepts and procedures from manufacturing and production departments in order to dramatically increase the architectural innovation.