– The purpose of this paper is to establish a major project to create new insights on lean in the specific Norwegian context and further build on international research. Lean is relevant for the manufacturing industry, service, finance, healthcare and public sectors in Norway. There are, however, still many research questions to be raised.
– Two case companies have been studied, to identify what these companies have experienced as important enablers and disablers in their lean implementation process. The following research questions will be addressed: In what way(s) does lean contribute to greater operational integration? In what way(s) does lean hinder operational integration? The research methodology is based on semistructured interviews with selected persons from different levels within the companies.
– From this study, several common contributing factors have been found: the importance of commitment and presence on the part of management, use of visualization tools for information exchange, formal meeting arenas and cross-functional work. Furthermore, the companies perceived the following as hindrances to achieving operational integration: insufficient involvement in implementation and design of tools, lack of commitment within the management, lack of customer focus, working in functional silos, lack of dissemination within the company and distance.
– Based on empirical findings from initial mapping of each company’s experiences with operational integration after a lean implementation process, recommendations on how to achieve better operational integration will be presented.
– The research initiative provides knowledge experience from lean implementation processes in two different Norwegian case companies within different sectors.