CHAPTER 1

Lean Work Design

Work design is defined as the system of arrangements and procedures for organizing work.

Sinha and Van de Ven (2005, p. 390)

Lean Work Design, the title of our book, integrates two concepts: lean operations and work design. There are many definitions of Lean in the literature. In this book, we use a definition proposed by Hopp and Spearman (2004)—a system is lean if it is able to buffer throughput against variance at minimal buffering costs. These buffering costs are the costs of having an inventory buffer, a capacity buffer, or a lead time buffer. A lean system ensures throughput at minimum cost—this means that a lean system realizes operational excellence.

Lean is about achieving operational excellence and is emerging ...

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