Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

College of Technology

Committee Member

Dr. Dugger, Ph.D, Dissertation Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Haddad, Ph.D

Committee Member

Dr. Bellamy, Ph.D

Committee Member

Dr. Fields, Ph.D

Committee Member

Dr. Dobrzykowski, Ph.D


This study was motivated by the differences in manufacturing settings, which provide challenges for those organizations undertaking a lean implementation. The levels of applicability of sixteen lean tools were examined in three different manufacturing settings: a job shop, a batch shop, and an assembly line. Specifically, this study explored the perceptions of managers familiar with lean regarding which lean tools were associated with better operational performance. The level of satisfaction with the lean programs in each of the three manufacturing settings was explored as well. The data were collected through a survey that was emailed to one thousand managers working in manufacturing companies located in the US.

The results revealed that different lean tools are used at different levels in the three manufacturing settings, and the lean tools contributing most to the group differences were Heijunka (HEIJ), Just in Time (JIT) and Kaizen (KAIZ). The analysis revealed statistically significant positive relationships between the perceived operational performance of firms in job shop and batch shop settings and the implementation of Workers Involvement (WINV) and Muda Elimination (MUDA) lean tools. Assembly line settings had statistically significant positive relationships with the implementation of Standardized Work (STANDW) and Value Stream Mapping (VSM). The results highlighted the importance of Workers Involvement(WINV), which is consistent with prior work.

The managers’ satisfaction with the lean program was most associated with the implementation of Heijunka (HEIJ) in a job shop setting, Workers Involvement (WINV) in a batch shop setting, and Continuous Flow (CONTFL) in an assembly line setting. This study presents a decision-making mode l which can be helpful in the successful implementation of the lean paradigm in each of the three manufacturing settings. A number of recommendations for future research are proposed.