Cardiff Business School Research

Lean Enterprise Research Centre

Associated with the Logistics and Operations Management section

LERC's mission is to research, apply and communicate lean thinking. LERC has been at the forefront of development of lean thinking through its research and its focus has broadened from manufacturing to all sectors, including services. Recent work has focused on Sustainable Lean - that is, how lean thinking can be implemented in a way that ensures lasting change.

Any organisation that is looking for methodologies that improve the quality, cost and delivery of their operations would find the work of this centre useful.

LERC's activities can be split into three areas:

  1. Research - Our research focuses on the application and meaning of lean thinking in a variety of different contexts and environments.  Projects tend to be of a collaborative nature, often involving a number of organisations who come together as a network with common issues that the particular research programme addresses.
  2. Executive Education - Our executive education programmes range from 1 day courses right up to a 2 year part time masters level. Our short courses are run on both an open and bespoke basis.
  3. Innovation and Engagement - Innovation and engagement activity concerns projects where we work with organisations in transferring lean oriented knowledge for them to use directly in their operations or strategy. This can be linked to either research or education.

Details of the Lean Competency System (LCS), a unique workplace based lean qualification system developed by LERC researchers, are available on the LCS website


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Dr Maneesh Kumar

Reader in Service Operations
Program Director, Executive MBA

+44 (0)29 208 75276
C22, Aberconway Building

Research Highlights

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Could visual management transform your business?

Sarah Lethbridge, Director of Executive Education, teamed up with Dr Nicola Bateman, Loughborough University, to write a chapter on the use of visual management in organisations.

Implementation guidelines published for an electronic supplier Kanban

A new research article provides generic implementation guidelines for an electronic supplier Kanban in the form of an eight-step implementation Framework.

Principality Commits to Continuous Improvement

The Principality Building Society has formalised its commitment to continuous improvement through its relationship with Cardiff Business School.

What is lean thinking?

The term ‘lean’ was first popularised in the seminal book ‘The Machine that Changed the World’, which clearly illustrated - for the first time - the significant performance gap between the Japanese and western automotive industries.

It described the key elements accounting for this superior performance as lean production - ‘lean’ because Japanese business methods used less of everything - human effort, capital investment, facilities, inventories and time - in manufacturing, product development, parts supply and customer relations.

Selected publications

Books and book chapters

Bateman, N. Lethbridge, S. (Forthcoming). Managing Operations and Teams Visually in Warren, Bell and Schroeder  (Eds.) Routledge Companion to Visual organisation (in Press). 

Found, P.A. (2012). Lean Supply Chains: A Behavioural Perspective. In Giannoccaro, I. (Ed) Emerging trends in Behavioral Operations Management: Promising methodologies, hottest themes. Springer, UK (In Press)

Hines, P., Found, P., Griffiths, G., Harrison, R. (2011). Staying Lean: Thriving not just surviving Second Edition. New York: Productivity Press. ISBN 978-1-4398-2617-1

Lethbridge, S. and Hamer, R. 'Seeing Shared Service as a System', in Edited by Zokaei, Seddon & O'Donovan  2011. 'Systems Thinking: From Heresy to Practice', Palgrave

Peer reviewed journal articles

Esain A., Williams S., Gakhal S., Caley L., and Cooke M., (2012). Healthcare Quality Improvement – Policy Implications and Practicalities, International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 25, 7, pp 565-561.

Hu, Q., Found, P., Williams, S., Mason, R. (2012). The connections between lean and organisational learning. International Journal of Production and Operations Management (Submitted for publication)

Hu, Q., Williams, S., Mason, R. Found, P., (2012). Lean implementation within SMEs: A literature review. Production Planning and Control (Submitted for publication)

Lynch, J., Mason, R., Beresford, A. Found, P. (2011). An Examination of the Role for Business Orientation in an Uncertain Business Environment. International Journal of Production Economics. 137(1) 145-156 

Pampanelli, A., Found, P., Bernardez, A. M. (2012). A Lean and Green Business Model. International Journal of Production and Operations Management (Sumitted for publication)

Pampanelli, A., Found, P. Bernardez, A. M. (2011), A Lean and Green Kaizen Model for a Production Cell. International Journal of Cleaner Production (Submitted for publication)

PhD Thesis

Esain, A., (2011). 'A Socio-Technical Systems Perspective of the Operational Delivery of Secondary Care in the NHS'. Cardiff University, Cardiff.

Samuel, D., (2012). 'Exploring UK Lean Diffusion in the period 1988 to 2010', Cardiff University, Cardiff