In dit artikel bespreek ik wat de impact van Lean is op de prestatie, waarbij ik Lean heb geoperationaliseerd als i) een bundel Lean practices en als ii) het gebruik van operationele Lean tools. De resultaten tonen aan dat Lean practices positief gerelateerd is aan procesverbeterprestatie. Echter, deze relatie wordt versterkt in commodity markten waar standaardisatie wordt gezien als belangrijk, terwijl de relatie tussen Lean practices en procesverbeterprestatie wordt getemperd in capability markten waar klantgerichtheid en -effectiviteit juist van belang wordt geacht.
Lean is often considered as a collection of tools and practices that can be used to achieve superior operational and financial performance by means of process improvements. It is unclear, however, how the use of operational Lean tools is related to Lean practices that constitute a Lean infrastructure of sorts, or what the impact of both Lean measures is on process improvement and ultimately on customer performance and financial performance. Survey data of 199 responses from Dutch organizations, shows that Lean practices directly impact process improvement performance and indirectly impacts financial performance. However, this study also shows that this relationship is affected by the type of market. The impact of Lean practices on process improvement performance is enhanced in a commodity market in which standardization is important, but weakened in a capability market in which customer effectiveness is perceived to be important. In this study, we distinguish between Lean practices that constitute infrastructural Lean capabilities and the use of operational Lean tools. Of course, Lean practices and the use of Lean tools are closely related, but this study shows that the use of Lean tools does not directly impact process improvement performance or customer effectiveness performance, never mind financial performance. This study shows that the variable, Lean practices, is a mediating factor in the relationship between the use of Lean tools and process improvement performance. In other words, to be effective, the use of Lean tools must be embedded in a bundle of infrastructural Lean practices.