DOI

10.5703/1288284317326

Abstract

LSS Implementation in Micro Enterprises:

Adoption of tools to support competitiveness

Seamus O’Reillya (s.oreilly@ucc.ie), Dermot Freemanb (info@dermotfreeman.com)

and Lawrence Dooleya (l.dooley@ucc.ie)

aCork University Business School, Ireland. bDermot Freeman & Associates, Ireland

Purpose

This study seeks to contribute to an emerging literature addressing Lean Six Sigma (LSS) implementation in the micro enterprise context. Specifically, it explores what LSS tools address business opportunities and challenges identified by micro enterprises.

Methodology

This study adopts a purposive sampling approach. Thirty micro enterprise who had availed of a lean start programme launched by a public enterprise support agency were surveyed. A telephone survey followed a semi-structured interview format. This approach resulted in good participation rate and facilitated a conversation to establish motivation, initial use and impact of LSS tools and a discussion on the ongoing use of tools within these enterprises.

Findings

Time management and the need to improve organisational structures emerged as the main challenges faced by owner-managers. The introduction of a LSS mindset and use of tools built a new capability within these enterprises to address these challenges. The owner-managers were internally focused on structure and systems, internal process improvement and efficiency identified as main reasons to introduce LSS tools

Limitations

This is an exploratory survey of 30 micro enterprises. Additional observations would enhance our understanding of micro enterprise implementation of LSS.

Originality

While use of LSS tools by SMEs has received some attention in recent years, this is an area that merits further research. In addition, micro enterprises have received very little attention, given their specific organisational context this study focuses on these enterprises.

Practical Implications

The study provides practical insight into how micro enterprises may use LSS tools to improve competitiveness, in particular the benefits accruing from improved organisational structures and processes. It also suggests further research that would inform both policy makers and contribute to understanding of the potential of LSS in a micro enterprise environment.

Keywords: Lean Six Sigma, micro enterprises, LSS tools, SMEs.

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LSS Implementation in Micro Enterprises: Adoption of tools to support competitiveness

LSS Implementation in Micro Enterprises:

Adoption of tools to support competitiveness

Seamus O’Reillya (s.oreilly@ucc.ie), Dermot Freemanb (info@dermotfreeman.com)

and Lawrence Dooleya (l.dooley@ucc.ie)

aCork University Business School, Ireland. bDermot Freeman & Associates, Ireland

Purpose

This study seeks to contribute to an emerging literature addressing Lean Six Sigma (LSS) implementation in the micro enterprise context. Specifically, it explores what LSS tools address business opportunities and challenges identified by micro enterprises.

Methodology

This study adopts a purposive sampling approach. Thirty micro enterprise who had availed of a lean start programme launched by a public enterprise support agency were surveyed. A telephone survey followed a semi-structured interview format. This approach resulted in good participation rate and facilitated a conversation to establish motivation, initial use and impact of LSS tools and a discussion on the ongoing use of tools within these enterprises.

Findings

Time management and the need to improve organisational structures emerged as the main challenges faced by owner-managers. The introduction of a LSS mindset and use of tools built a new capability within these enterprises to address these challenges. The owner-managers were internally focused on structure and systems, internal process improvement and efficiency identified as main reasons to introduce LSS tools

Limitations

This is an exploratory survey of 30 micro enterprises. Additional observations would enhance our understanding of micro enterprise implementation of LSS.

Originality

While use of LSS tools by SMEs has received some attention in recent years, this is an area that merits further research. In addition, micro enterprises have received very little attention, given their specific organisational context this study focuses on these enterprises.

Practical Implications

The study provides practical insight into how micro enterprises may use LSS tools to improve competitiveness, in particular the benefits accruing from improved organisational structures and processes. It also suggests further research that would inform both policy makers and contribute to understanding of the potential of LSS in a micro enterprise environment.

Keywords: Lean Six Sigma, micro enterprises, LSS tools, SMEs.