Mass, lean and agile production philosophies, although widely discussed, still cause considerable confusion both among academics and in practice. De Haan and Overbooms’ characterizations of lean (what, when needed but perfect) and agile (first, fast and best) show the paradigmatic differences between the two. When applied in a case study in Poland on a distributor of lifestyle oriented fast moving consumer goods, established after the transition, it appeared that these characterizations enabled a proper description and analysis. During the volatile period (1996–2002) an agile approach provided the flexibility and competitiveness needed. However, when the market matured the overly expensive agility caused last minute crisis. Then a lean approach enabled the optimization of processes needed to supply customer in a more reliable way. Both approaches stress different aspects but have quite a few tools in common. The paper does not try to answer the question whether one approach could outperform the other but indicates when one concept could be more useful than the other.
|Journal||International Journal of Production Economics|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|