LEAN IMPLEMENTATION AND THE ROLE OF LEAN ACCOUNTING IN THE TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
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Implementing Lean in the United States transportation equipment manufacturing industry holds the promise for improvements in, among other things, productivity, quality, and innovation, resulting in more competitive success and profits. Although Lean has been applied throughout the industry with noted success, there have been some difficulties in demonstrating the financial benefits derived from Lean initiatives. Most of the evidence supporting a positive relationship between Lean implementation and improved financial performance is anecdotal. As companies have become more proficient in carrying out Lean initiatives in manufacturing, they have extended Lean ideas to other parts of their organization and throughout the entire supply chain. Nowadays, it is widely recognized that a holistic, enterprise-wide view is critical to obtain the potential benefits of a Lean transformation. However, Lean transformations are often undertaken without consideration of supporting functions such as accounting and finance. Lean transformation in accounting and finance should be run in the same way as it is in the manufacturing environment by decreasing reporting cycle time, improving transaction processing accuracy, eliminating unnecessary transaction processing, changing product costing procedures, and financial reporting among many other things, but there is limited empirical evidence of that happening. To address these shortcomings, this research focuses on three areas. First, this study aims to evaluate transportation equipment manufacturing facilities in respect to their operational and financial performance. Second, this study aims to investigate the extent of Lean implementation of a given operation in respect to leadership, manufacturing, accounting and finance, and supplier and customer relationship and correlate these results to their performance. Finally, this study aims to further examine the contextual characteristics of companies that successfully aligned their systems with Lean. A mixed-mode survey, addressed to a subset of the United States transportation equipment manufacturing industry, asked questions pertinent to companies' Lean transformation efforts, performance, and general characteristics. During the four months long survey period, a total of 69 valid responses were received, for a response rate of 3.78 percent. From the 69 valid responses, 8 responses were eliminated due to containing more than 20 percent missing values. Multiple imputation procedure was applied to handle remaining missing values in the dataset. Before testing study hypotheses, scale reliability and construct validity tests were run to decide whether a particular survey item should be retained in further analysis. Study hypotheses were then tested using profile deviation analysis, multiple regression analysis, and hierarchical regression analysis. When the level of Lean implementation and performance relationship was investigated using a multiple regression analysis, results did not show any evidence that the higher level of Lean implementation along four business dimensions (leadership, manufacturing, accounting and finance, and supplier and customer relationship) of transportation equipment manufacturing facilities positively influences their operational and financial performance. However, it was revealed that the higher level of Lean implementation in transportation equipment manufacturing facilities' manufacturing dimension resulted in better quality performance as measured by first-time through, inbound quality, and outbound quality. When the same relationship was investigated using a profile deviation analysis, results were identical. When the level of Lean implementation in accounting and finance and its relationship with performance was investigated using a single regression analysis, results showed that the higher level of Lean implementation in transportation equipment manufacturing facilities' accounting and finance dimension has a positive effect on accounting performance and on operational performance (e.g., on time-based performance and delivery-based performance), but no effect on financial performance. When the same relationship was investigated using a profile deviation analysis, results were different by showing no relationship between the level of Lean implementation in transportation equipment manufacturing facilities' accounting and finance dimension and accounting, operational, and financial performance. Lastly, the effect of contextual variables (e.g., industry segment, location, annual sales volume, and unionization) on performance, the level of Lean implementation, and the performance -- Lean implementation relationship was investigated using hierarchical regression. Results showed that transportation equipment manufacturing facilities' performance is influenced by annual sales volume. Their level of Lean implementation in the accounting and finance dimension is influenced by location, while their performance -- Lean implementation in the accounting and finance dimension relationship is influenced by industry segment.
- Doctoral Dissertations