The Strategic Role of Lean– A Discussion


  • Gabriela L. Veiga PUC-PR
  • Edson Pinheiro De Lima PUC-PR
  • Janinis Jan Angelis University of Warwick
  • Sérgio Eduardo Gouvêa Da Costa PUC-PR


Lean, operations strategy, competitive dimensions, decision areas.


Operations strategy and its development have received a lot of attention in the operations
management literature. However, literature related to benefits of improvement programs, such
as lean production, is often contradictory to operations strategy principles. There is a large
body of work arguing that lean can bring substantial performance improvements, indicating
that operations strategy formalization might be unnecessary when certain operational processes
improvements are applied. However, some literature emphasize the importance of operations
strategy, stating that its formulation leads to superior competitiveness when lean techniques are
properly related to competitive dimensions and to decision areas. In this study, a comprehensive
literature review has been carried out to reveal insights on both streams of study and it is used
to conceive a framework and a research interview protocol based on that. Hence, this study
compares experts’ view of the strategic role of lean. Such a comparison is done through a range
of interviews. The results support the notion that lean can generate a strong advantage in many
competitive dimensions; even so, a formal strategy approach is still necessary to focus lean
model implementation.


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Author Biographies

Gabriela L. Veiga, PUC-PR

Gabriela L. Veiga is a consultant at Gestão Inteligente Consultoria Empresarial (Enterprise Consultancy), Curitiba, Brazil. She holds a BSc Degree in Industrial Engineering (PUCPR) and a MSc degree in Industrial and System Engineering (PUCPR). Her professional activities are related to Toyota Production System implementation, strategic planning development and improvement quality processes.

Janinis Jan Angelis, University of Warwick

Jannis J. Angelis is an Assistant Professor in the Operations Management Group of the Warwick Business School at University of Warwick, UK. He holds a BA Degree in
Economics and Economic History (Lund and Stockholm Universities), a BA Degree in Philosophy (Stockholm University), a BSocSc Degree in Political Science (Uppsala and Stockholm Universities), a MSocSc Degree in International Relations (Stockholm University), a MA Degree in China Studies (SOAS, London), MPhil Degree in Industrial Relations (Cambridge), PGCPCE(HE) Diploma (University of Warwick) and a PhD Degree in Management (Judge Business School, Cambridge). His research and teaching is in operations strategy, lean and agile operations, behavioural operations, supply chain sustainability and health service improvements.

Sérgio Eduardo Gouvêa Da Costa, PUC-PR

Sergio Eduardo Gouvêa da Costa is a founder member of the Mechatronics and Industrial Engineering group at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná – PUCPR, Brazil. He has a research productivity scholarship from CNPq. He holds a BSc Degree in Electrical Engineering (UTFPR), a MSc Degree in Electrical Engineering – Automation (FEEC-UNICAMP) and a PhD in Industrial Engineering (POLI-USP). His research and teaching is in manufacturing strategy and performance area, AMT adoption and technology management.



How to Cite

Veiga, G. L., De Lima, E. P., Angelis, J. J., & Da Costa, S. E. G. (2011). The Strategic Role of Lean– A Discussion. Brazilian Journal of Operations & Production Management, 8(1), 9–30. Retrieved from




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