The issue of corporate mandatory standards in production improvement programmes

Sara Linderson, Seyoum Eshetu Birkie, Monica Bellgran


Purpose: This paper aims to explore and describe how companies manage the level of standardisation of improvement practices in a multisite context. It seeks to explain the managerial strategies applied to change the standardisation level in manufacturing companies with multiple production sites worldwide.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper collects data through interviews, observations and company documents from a large multinational producing company and, specifically, from of the largest production sites in the company. The research design resembles a grounded theory approach by being reflexive and open to emerging themes. The standardisation strategy was analysed at a company that strived to increase the standardisation of problem-solving practices within about 20 production sites as part of their corporate lean programme.

Findings: Several managerial tools were applied at the corporate level to increase the standardisation level of problem-solving practices, such as developing standards and a company-specific toolbox aligned with an in-house maturity model. In addition, deploying change leaders and global implementation targets enabled audits and progress. However, consequences at the production-site level became minor adaptations of standards, the design of training models as a "roll-out", and a resource-demanding implementation process.

Originality/Value: This paper empirically demonstrates strategic tools that corporate management teams apply to influence the company's standardisation level of practices. The study describes the purpose and consequences of the design of the toolbox, maturity model, training model, and implementation targets, which aims to simplify the complex task of managing standardisation in a corporate group. By applying a knowledge-based view, four processes (i.e. adaptation, integration, upskilling, and learning) were identified to improve the management strategies in multisite contexts.


Operational transformation, improvement programme, knowledge management, Lean management, multinational companies, grounded theory, XPS

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience