LEAN AND VIRGINIA’S WOOD INDUSTRY – PART I: AWARENESS AND IMPLEMENTATION

Christian F. Fricke, Urs Buehlmann

Abstract


During the most recent decades the U.S. wood products and furniture manufacturing industries have been greatly affected by economic cycles, rising production and transportation costs, changing buyer habits, and, arguably most powerfully, increasing global competition. However, theories exist stating that the use of management systems, such as Lean, allows companies to be more successful despite operating in a more challenging environment. To assess Virginia’s wood products and furniture manufacturing industry’s Lean awareness and Lean implementation efforts, a census survey was conducted. Findings indicate that a majority of Virginia's wood products and furniture manufacturing industry have heard about Lean (72 percent), but a relatively low number of respondents are aware of the details of Lean. Forty-seven percent of respondents indicated to have implemented Lean. However, the extent of Lean implementation varied widely, with a majority having implemented less than half of all 29 Lean elements inquired about in this survey. Business results from implementing Lean and the need for external Lean implementation support are presented in the second manuscript of this two-manuscript series.

Keywords


Wood products industry; Furniture manufacturing industry; Lean awareness; Lean implementation; Need for external Lean implementation support; Commonwealth of Virginia

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