There is a lot of research based on, and around lean production starting with Womack (1990) in their groundbreaking studies to Christopher’s (2006) research about bringing lean into the future through newly developed terms such as agile manufacturing, flexible manufacturing and supply chain resilience. Lean manufacturing and the linkages and the relationships that it involves are complex in many respects and there is a lot of emphasize on communication and information flows in order for lean manufacturing to work.
The relationships between suppliers and buyers within the supply chain had in the past been adversarial with many buyers not willing to divulge certain information about their business. The link between the suppliers and the buyer was hampered as a result. This approach was linked with western manufacturing, USA and Europe, and related to their management culture. Whereas the Japanese way be deemed more open with a greater focus on the sharing of information and knowledge and also involving suppliers in many different areas of the business especially new product development.