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The Significance of Digital Waste in the Automation of Lean Practices
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Management, Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Management. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
SINTEF Manufacturing AS, Horten, Norway; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7224-2306
2023 (English)In: Quality Management Journal, ISSN 1068-6967, Vol. 30, no 2, p. 121-134Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Lean manufacturing has experienced massive changes under the influence of Industry 4.0 as the automation of lean practices has become common among manufacturing companies in many countries and across different industries. Automating lean practices promises several opportunities for growth and competitiveness. One of the acknowledged key advantages of lean automation has been the significant reduction of waste. Meanwhile, there is also discussion of a new form of waste: digital waste. However, do companies consider digital waste a part of production waste? It is also unclear if the automation of lean practices is a trigger for digital waste with a negative impact on value creation. This paper aims to investigate companies with automated lean practices and the digital waste generated by these practices. The research is based on three case studies of manufacturing companies based in Sweden. The originality of the study identifies and highlights the significance of various forms of digital waste, which is of academic and practical relevance. The study indicates that there is digital waste in supplier-related lean practice—automated JIT delivery—specifically in product-oriented and service-oriented technologies. There is digital waste in internally related lean practice—automated set-up—specifically in process-oriented technologies. Finally, there is digital waste in customer-related lean practice—digitally involved customers—in product-, service-, and process-oriented technologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis , 2023. Vol. 30, no 2, p. 121-134
Keywords [en]
automation; digital waste; digitalization; lean
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-41131DOI: 10.1080/10686967.2023.2171323Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85148371646OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-41131DiVA, id: diva2:1741506
Available from: 2023-03-06 Created: 2023-03-06 Last updated: 2024-06-05Bibliographically approved
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