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IT in lean-based manufacturing industries: Systematic Literature Review and Research issues

Pinho, C., L. Mendes (2018), "IT in lean-based manufacturing industries: Systematic Literature Review and Research issues", International Journal of Production Research, 55(24), 7524-7540.
Abstract:

This systematic literature review is the first to explore the role of IT in lean manufacturing contexts, characterising literature on the field, identifying and exploring the main issues approached, and identifying potential future lines of research. Grounded on an accurate screening process, 124 papers were selected for analysis from the SCOPUS and the ISI Web of Knowledge databases. The structured content analysis process highlights five key issues approached in literature: (1) software and technologies used, (2) benefits achieved through applying IT in lean manufacturing, (3) importance of IT integration, (4) IT and lean as complementary or independent options and (5) role of human resources. Despite an apparent scepticism concerning compatibility between IT and lean, claiming that IT may lead to processes’ complexity, extra tasks, resource consuming, among other issues, among other key findings, the review shows that several different IT instruments may boost improvements, acting as a facilitator in developing lean industrial environments, especially when lean-based improvement processes are introduced first, and then IT infrastructures. Because both IT and Lean may require significant investments in terms of managerial attention, employees’ capabilities and financial resources, it is important for management to balance investment decisions. Authors point to several shortcomings in literature which represent significant opportunities for further research: (1) significant lack of integrated comprehensive frameworks, (2) lack of knowledge concerning hybrid manufacturing systems, supply chains as research unit of analysis, how organisations can respond to staff resistance, and role of IT across the distinctive stages of lean maturity.