Lean Thinking in the Digital Era
MetadataShow full item record
The Industry 4.0 concept represents a paradigm shift where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into information networks. This promises to enable a more effective infrastructure in which the design, development, manufacturing and support activities that represent the key parts of a product’s life cycle are closely integrated through the presence of real-time information and big data, arising from sensors, Cyber Physical Systems, Internet of Things and social networks. The challenge is to understand how to use this extensive information in order to enhance product value and to improve industrial productivity. Since information must be displayable, reusable and available in real-time, the fourth industrial revolution is already well-aligned with lean thinking, which promotes information visualization, including the just-in-time delivery of materials and information, as well as the zero defects ideal to quality management. Moreover, Lean thinking forces the development of human resource capabilities, through the adoption of scientific problem solving and continuous improvement approaches. These approaches must continue to underpin the leadership and employee development activities required in light of Industry 4.0. Through a systematic literature review, this paper describes the current state of the art in order to understand how lean thinking should be implemented in the context of the smart factory, and provides an initial contribution to the emerging debate around the roles of “Lean Thinking in the Digital Era”.