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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Value stream mapping for sustainable change at a Swedish dairy farm

Melin, Martin; Barth, Henrik


This case study increases our understanding of Lean implementation in which value stream mapping (VSM) is used to create an action plan at a small dairy and cattle farm in southwest Sweden. The researchers, the  farmer-owner, and farm employees followed a step-by-step approach that resulted in ideas for operational improvements for the dairy activity. Data were collected in interviews with the farmer/owner, researcher participation in workshops, and researcher observations. The results reveal that VSM is an effective way to create a culture of collaboration among the farm staff and to better define their roles and responsibilities as well as improve routines, communications, and task completion. In the two-to-three year period following the VSM project, specific improvements were observed in milk production/quality and animal health. The results also reveal that while Lean principles are relevant given the repetitive nature of agriculture routines and tasks, the VSM element of lead-time reduction is less relevant owing to the unique value adding biological processes in the agriculture sector.


lean; value stream mapping; agricultural production; productivity; farmers

Published in

International Journal of Environment and Waste Management
2020, volume: 25, number: 1, pages: 130-140

Authors' information

Barth, Henrik
Halmstad University

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Work Sciences

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)