Could Lean Practices and Process Innovation Enhance Supply Chain Sustainability of Small and Medium sized Enterprises?


Small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt lean practices (LP) to reduce waste across their organisational value chain, which helps achieve sustainability. Process innovation (PI) has also been applied through cleaner production, environmental management system, ecodesign, and so on to address both customers' needs and legislations by policymakers. Although prior studies reveal the effect of sustainable practices, LP, and PI on sustainable performance separately, less is known on the integrated effect of them on sustainability performance. Moreover, studies on mediating effect of LP and PI on sustainability performance are scant. This is significant as LP and PI are considered to be the enablers for achieving sustainability performance. This research addresses this knowledge gap. The research first theorises a model integrating these four major constructs (sustainability practices, LP, PI, and sustainability performance) through hypotheses development. Subsequently, using structural equation modelling, it is tested whether each of sustainability practices, LP, and PI effect sustainability performances. Additionally, mediating effect of LP and PI between sustainability practices and performances is derived. The study uses data from 119 SMEs within manufacturing industries in the Midlands, United Kingdom. Further, a few case studies have been undertaken to validate the findings from quantitative analysis. The overall results show that although sustainability practices, LP, and PI help achieve sustainability performance of SMEs supply chain through efficiency and responsiveness respectively, the mediating effect LP is more compared with PI. Moreover, SMEs adopt LP when they are economy focused and implement PI when they are pressurised by customers and/or policymakers.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Aston India Foundation for Applied Research
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dey PK, Malesios C, De D, Chowdhury S, Abdelaziz FB. Could lean practices and process innovation enhance supply chain sustainability of small and medium‐sized enterprises? Bus Strat Env. 2019;1–17, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: lean practices,process innovation,small and medium-sized enterprises,structural equation modelling,sustainability performance,sustainability practices,Business and International Management,Geography, Planning and Development,Strategy and Management,Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Publication ISSN: 1099-0836
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 07:14
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2018 09:20
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 0.1002/bse.2266 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2019-05-01
Published Online Date: 2019-01-07
Accepted Date: 2018-11-18
Authors: Dey, Prasanta K (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9984-5374)
Malesios, Chrisovalantis
De, Debashree
Chowdhury, Soumyadeb (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8074-248X)
Abdelaziz, Fouad Ben



Version: Accepted Version

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