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Companies’ perceptions of inhibitors and enablers for process improvement activities

Nick Rich (Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff, UK)
Nicola Bateman (Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 February 2003

3611

Abstract

Outlines and describes the results of research at Cardiff Business School into the sustainability of process improvement involving shop floor personnel. The study identified a number of factors that influence the success or inhibit progress in terms of performance and sustainable improvement. The findings identify what companies perceive to be inhibitors and enablers for sustainability, within 21 companies who have conducted process improvement (PI) activities using a common intervention approach. The paper presents five classificatory profiles and concludes that managers can easily identify specific inhibitors in their own companies, but find it difficult to formulate specific enablers associated with successful and sustainable improvement. The general and cultural nature of the identified enablers indicates that managers perceive progressing PI activities are reliant on a change of culture within their organisations in parallel with “up‐skilling” the technical knowledge of employees for change to be successfully enacted. The lack of specific processes to change culture, identified in the enablers, also indicates that managers do not know what to do to change their cultures or how best to deal with the inherently challenging and demanding nature of process improvement with shop floor operators.

Keywords

Citation

Rich, N. and Bateman, N. (2003), "Companies’ perceptions of inhibitors and enablers for process improvement activities", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 185-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570310458447

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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