On the adoption of lean manufacturing principles in process industries Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Traditionally, the lean paradigm has been applied to discrete manufacturing of items that can be easily put together and taken apart. The process industry, on the other hand, transforms raw materials into cohesive units that are basically blended into a final product with parts that cannot be disassembled and then reassembled. The current lean literature provides numerous commendable examples of theory and practices of lean principles in discrete manufacturing. However, its application in process industry is limited. Furthermore, there is no systematic accounting of the lean literature in this sector, which may have contributed to lesser awareness in the industry. This paper provides a state-of-the-art review of lean manufacturing literature with respect to its applications in process industry. It contributes to the classification of literature in a manner which helps to identify strategies suitable for the adoption of lean concepts in process industry. The paper seeks to synthesise the literature with an emphasis on identifying the scope for lean in process industry and associated benefits. The review also presents an analysis of the lean tools and techniques that have been applied or have potential application in the process industry and the challenges to implement lean. We believe that such a comprehensive review will not only facilitate the adoption of lean in process industry but will also provide agenda for further research by exposing voids in the knowledge base.

author list (cited authors)

  • Panwar, A., Nepal, B. P., Jain, R., & Rathore, A.

citation count

  • 64

publication date

  • May 2015