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Paper 7d04:
CREATING LEAN ENTERPRISES THROUGH PROCESS ORIENTATION - MODELS FOR NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

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Lindfors, Christian; Leiringer, Roine

CREATING LEAN ENTERPRISES THROUGH PROCESS ORIENTATION - MODELS FOR NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

Abstract:The construction industry is experiencing large and radical changes forced upon it by external influences such as changing social patterns, internationalisation, growing environmental awareness, rapid development of the IT sector, knowledgeable and demanding customers, as well as development within the industry itself. The need for organisations to adapt to this new set of circumstances is evident as companies face financial difficulties at a time when they need to come up with innovative solutions and increase their customer focus. One way of adapting – the one explored in this paper – is to make the organisation leaner. ‘Lean enterprises’ are resource and time efficient and agile to the point that they are able to respond to customer demands and expectations. Instead of having activities aligned according to functions, lean enterprises are organised along value chains of products or product families. This paper addresses the implementation of process thinking to the construction industry and presents a structured way of making a systematic representation of processes. It discusses initiatives, including the creation of extensive functional models that have been initiated to systematically identify processes within organisations and to create new models for more efficient enterprises. Conclusions are drawn that confirm the utility of adopting a process orientation for bringing about improvement and as a pathway towards establishing lean enterprises.

Keywords:Lean thinking, process orientation, customer focus

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