In many industries (e.g. cars and clothing) manufacturing complexity and unpredictability have increased over the last couple of years because of an increasing variety of products and shortening product life cycles. At the same time the manufacturers in these industries appear to have more problems with maintaining high quality levels. This paper aims to develop a methodology to study the effects of these developments on quality management systems.
At three European automotive manufacturers the two trends have been studied by means of a case study approach. Simons' four levers of control model is utilised to categorise and interpret the results of the case studies.
The application of a management control model in the field of quality management is found to be useful in explaining what changes are necessary to maintain high quality levels. From the case studies in the automotive sector it is concluded that there is a shift in quality management systems from a diagnostic towards a more interactive approach. This is in line with what can be expected as a result of the increasing uncertainty in the automotive sector, caused by shortening life cycles of car models and smaller batch sizes.
This research presents a novel application of Simons' four levers of control model to the field of quality management. Based on the experience with three case studies at European automotive manufacturers, this approach seems to have potential.
van Iwaarden, J., van der Wiele, T., Williams, R. and Dale, B. (2006), "A management control perspective of quality management: An example in the automotive sector", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 102-112. https://doi.org/10.1108/02656710610637578Download as .RIS
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