A lean manufacturing road map using Fuzzy-DEMATEL with case-based analysis

Sameh N. Seleem, El-Awady Attia, Ahmed Karam Abdelfattah Mostafa, Ahmed El-Assal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper aims to develop a lean manufacturing road map for industrial firms by selecting the appropriate lean tools relying on the predefined strategic objectives and the firm constraints. It also illustrates how to prioritize these tools considering their interrelationship.

Relying on the predefined strategic objectives, operational objectives can be set by using the balanced scorecard (BSC). Afterwards, the theory of constraints (TOC) is introduced to investigate the manufacturing system and to determine its constraints. For these constraints, the principle of fault tree analysis (FTA) is used to determine their root causes. Consequently, lean manufacturing tools/initiatives can be proposed. Finally, the fuzzy-decision making trial and evaluation laboratory (fuzzy-DEMATEL) method is implemented to prioritize these initiatives and to construct a suitable lean road map by managing experts’ knowledge.

The practical results indicate that diagnosing the manufacturing system and managing experts’ knowledge to select the appropriate lean initiatives, and prioritizing these initiatives relying on the understanding of their interrelationship could support achieving the strategic targets without consuming extra time or resources.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to manufacturing firms. Besides, it reinforces the need for investigating the effectiveness of the proposed approach on service sectors.

Practical implications
The study provides a methodology with a real application, to manage experts’ knowledge for developing an effective lean improvement road map. The methodology could be adopted by any manufacturing firm.


The study supports decision makers of a firm to select the improvement initiatives by an original structural approach, which integrates BSC, TOC, FTA and fuzzy-DEMATEL. Besides, the interrelationships among the selected lean initiatives are considered, and results show the importance of analysing these interrelationships during the construction of the lean improvement plan. Moreover, its effectiveness and applicability are validated via a practical case study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Lean Six Sigma
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)917-942
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Balanced scorecard
  • Fault tree analysis
  • Fuzzy-DEMATEL
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Theory of constraints


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