• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 1 (2021)

Assessing Lean Adoption in Food Companies: The Case of Morocco

Assessing Lean Adoption in Food Companies: The Case of Morocco

Title: Assessing Lean Adoption in Food Companies: The Case of Morocco
Aicha Farissi, Mohamed El Oumami, Zitouni Beidouri

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Cite this article as:
Farissi, A., El Oumami, M., Beidouri, Z., 2021. Assessing Lean Adoption in Food Companies: The Case of Morocco. International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(1), pp. 5-14

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Aicha Farissi Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Laboratory Department, High School of Technology Casablanca, Hassan II University of Casablanca, PO Box 8012, Oasis, Casablanca, Morocco
Mohamed El Oumami Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Laboratory Department, High School of Technology Casablanca, Hassan II University of Casablanca, PO Box 8012, Oasis, Casablanca, Morocco
Zitouni Beidouri Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Laboratory Department, High School of Technology Casablanca, Hassan II University of Casablanca, PO Box 8012, Oasis, Casablanca, Morocco
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Abstract
Assessing Lean Adoption in Food Companies: The Case of Morocco










Many studies have been conducted on the improvement of operational performance through the implementation of lean manufacturing in the agri-food industries in developed countries. However, only a few have been carried out in Morocco. This approach is not just suitable for the automotive or other specific sectors of the discrete industry; it can now be adapted to other industries, provided that the characteristics of the field of application and the selection of best practices that suit them are taken into consideration. The purpose of this study is to determine the current state of the lean principles adopted by Moroccan food companies (small, medium, and large-sized enterprises). Nine food businesses were contacted, and interviews were conducted with their quality systems managers, operations managers, and chief executives using a structured questionnaire. Results reveal that companies are aware of the importance of continuous improvement tools. Moreover, they partially adopt lean practices, even if they do not call them “lean”. Such an encouraging environment, including the implementation of the quality approach and performance assessment tools (dashboard), can be a preamble to the implementation of a lean approach by these organizations. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the application of lean practices in Moroccan food companies.

Food companies; Lean principles; Morocco

Introduction

The food industry is a strategic sector of the Moroccan economy. In fact, it is considered the first industry of the country. Despite this important position, the majority of companies face technical and technological, managerial, financial, and commercial challenges, which hinder their competitiveness and chances of global integration. Thus, the objective of the current research is to provide innovative solutions for the development of agro-industrial companies in the country. The food industry mainly involves a complex manufacturing process, and once a product is finished, it cannot be dismantled and reassembled (Panwar et al., 2015). The production flow has a specific characteristic. Based on the literature (Van Wezel et al., 2006; Dora et al., 2013), here are some constraints that characterize this industry:

·      Perishable materials that must be consumed within strict deadlines;

·      Variability of the materials used during production at the level of components, prices, and mixed quantities;

·      Heterogeneous flow composed of different materials and ingredients;

·      Complicated production plans and high downtime for cleaning and preparing machines; and

·      In terms of packaging, facilities are positioned away from the production workshop to ensure the hygiene of the products.

According to Goncharuk (2009) and Mahalik and Nambiar (2010), the application of lean practices in the food industry can improve the efficiency of production processes. These practices can also reduce additional costs and ensure that customer expectations are met (Zarei et al., 2011). Ongoing debates on the introduction of the lean approach within agri-food companies have not yet reached international consensus. Thus, the current paper aims to reveal the manifestation of lean practices in Moroccan food companies. The research methodology is presented in Section 2. Section 3 is devoted to a literature review to extract the good lean practices from the food industry. A qualitative study is conducted on the basis of the analysis and synthesis of the scientific literature, and the results are presented in Section 4. Finally, the conclusions and recommendations are provided in Section 5.

Conclusion

        This study provides a general view of the development of Moroccan agri-food companies. The main objective is to identify managerial tools that can increase profitability, effectiveness, and efficiency. Globally, the lean concept has been integrated into the food production industry. Despite the fact that this concept is relatively new, Moroccan companies are not very far away in terms of adoption. For example, Lesieur Cristal, a large company under the Avril group and a producer of table oils, announced many years ago that it had adopted lean manufacturing into its own production system. In our study, we found that there is a certain awareness of approach, even though all the respondents declared that the lean concept is not yet formally applied in their companies. Nevertheless, we observed a quasi-partial adoption of some similar practices, which they do not call “Lean.” We asked the leading question: Are Moroccan food companies really ready to adopt lean practices? To this, the answer is partially, yes, because the quality system is fully integrated. However, much work should be done on the logical part of managers, and the firms’ level of business maturity should also be taken into account. In the end, we do not encourage full implementation; rather, companies must select the best practices that are suitable for them so that they can strengthen their operational performance.

Supplementary Material
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