Lean has established itself as the primordial approach to obtain operational excellence. Its simple and intuitive techniques focus on reducing lead time through continuous improvement, involving all levels of employees in the organization. However, the rate of successful implementations has remained low. This paper contributes to the understanding of continuous improvement in a Lean context, by analyzing a database of almost 10.000 improvement actions, from 85 companies, covering the time frame 2010–2018. It discusses categories of actions, their impact and cost, as well as key characteristics of the companies. It proposes an objective criterion to identify “success” and “failure” in Lean implementation and tries to link these to operational results. It is probably the ﬁrst time an analysis of this magnitude on the subject has been performed.
In a reality of global competition, companies have to minimize production costs and increase productivity in order to boost com-petitiveness. Facility layout design is one of the most important and frequently used efficiency improvement methods for reducing operational costs in a significant manner. Facility layout design deals with optimum location of facilities (workstation, machine, etc.) on the shop floor and optimum material flow between these objects. In this article, the objectives and procedure of layout design along with the calculation method for layout optimization are all introduced. The study is practice-oriented because the described case study shows how the layout of an assembly plant can be modified to form an ideal re-layout. The research is novel and innovative because the facility layout design and 4 lean methods (takt-time design, line balance, cellular design and one-piece flow) are all combined in order to improve efficiency more significantly, reduce costs and improve more key performance indicators. From the case study it can be concluded that the layout redesign and lean methods resulted in significant reduction of the following seven indicators: amount of total workflow, material handling cost, total travel distance of goods, space used for assembly, number of workers, labor cost of workers and the number of Kanban stops.