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Introducing a new continuous improvement framework for increased organisational return on investment

Colm Heavey (Business Transformation Management Consultant, Roscommon and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Ann Ledwith (Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Eamonn Murphy (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 7 October 2014

1296

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate a new framework for continuous improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature review on customer value and strategic quality provides the basis for the identification of a conceptual framework for continuous improvement. This conceptual framework is validated using the in-depth interview and the survey approach.

Findings

The empirical study concluded that the new framework contains all the core components or forces of continuous improvement. These forces are customer value focused co-leadership, customer value focused strategic objectives, improvement specialists with people performance knowledge and improvement methodology. By adopting this framework, all process personnel can have a role to play in process improvement leading to increased organisational returns on investment. Overall, it is an effective framework that is easily understood and can be applied throughout any process led organisation. This is supported by the empirical data.

Practical implications

This new framework can demonstrate to each organisational employee where they fit into the organisational continuous improvement strategy. This paper provides practitioners with a new validated continuous improvement framework that has application in all organisations that are involved in process customer value improvement. The researchers contend that this new framework can compliment existing continuous improvement frameworks.

Originality/value

This paper develops and validates a new framework for continuous improvement. By adopting this framework, all process personnel can have a role to play in process improvement leading to increased organisational returns on investment. This is supported by the empirical data. Also, the authors contend that this framework embraces the systems thinking approach (Conti, 2010) or systemic approach as people interact with customers, processes, improvement methodologies and each other to drive customer value improvement. Consequently, this generates a need to take global view of the combined effect of all customer value improvement components. This systems thinking can feed into future research.

Keywords

Citation

Heavey, C., Ledwith, A. and Murphy, E. (2014), "Introducing a new continuous improvement framework for increased organisational return on investment", The TQM Journal, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 594-609. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-06-2013-0065

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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