Large manufacturing organizations have been achieving productivity improvements for decades using what is commonly known as lean production. Less is known about the extent to which small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs) have also benefited from the adoption of lean practices. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how small and large printers differ in their adoption of lean management practices. We find that while both small and large printers view lean production as an important contributor to future profits, small- and medium-sized printers are lagging in their adoption of a range of lean practices. In addition, we found that smaller printers used significantly fewer printing units, while producing a significantly higher range of print products. We argue that this operational configuration may place some smaller printers at a particular disadvantage when it comes to implementing lean systems. We discuss how small printers may wish to approach lean production given these operational constraints.

Publication Date


Document Type

Full-Length Book


Document #PICRM-2004-04 Research Area: Processes, Productivity and Profitability

Department, Program, or Center

Printing Industry Center (CIAS)


RIT – Main Campus