International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 26 July 2011



Burgess, T. and Heap, J. (2011), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 60 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2011.07960faa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Volume 60, Issue 6

This is a landmark issue where the editorial and publishing team demonstrate that they practise what the journal preaches about performance improvement. This is the last issue of the journal containing papers submitted via the old e-mail-based submission system. In future all papers in the journal will have been submitted on-line through the web-based ScholarOne system (see http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijppm). We switched over to accepting submissions via this route about a year ago but it has taken a while for the backlog of papers accepted under the old system to work their way through to publication. ScholarOne is an industry leader in providing web-based systems that enable publishers and editors to manage efficiently the journal processes of submission, peer-review, production and publication. This means we are able to deal with your submissions faster and more efficiently; for you it also means that you will be able to submit papers and monitor progress with less hassle. Three cheers for progress!

As befits such a landmark issue, we have some excellent papers for you. The first paper, by Pedersen and Huniche based in Denmark, is a thorough, thoughtful piece that looks at the conjunction of lean thinking and public services. Lean thinking has travelled a long way from its origins in the Toyota Production System and is now, according to the authors, “fast becoming a new panacea to improve productivity, quality and employee satisfaction in the public sector”. Their paper demonstrates that operations philosophies, such as lean, are not monolithic, cook-book approaches to improvement but instead philosophies that transmute and are shaped by the social context in which they are applied. In particular, the authors examine how Lean implementation is subject to negotiation between the parties involved, and is not a neutral, value-free process.

In contrast to the initial paper’s focus on public sector and on the influence of negotiation between individuals; our second paper, by Shahidul and Shazali based in Malaysia, looks at manufacturing, and does so with a perspective more in line with viewing organisations as “rational”, economic systems. Paradoxically, this view is applied to labour-intensive industries; i.e. despite the importance of people in the production process they are treated in a mechanistic way. However, the end point of this analysis is to argue that better treatment of the workers via higher remuneration and better working conditions will result in higher output and productivity. Let us hope these results benefit workers in general and, in particular, the particular data subjects for this study who work in garment manufacturing in Bangladesh.

Cuthberson and Piotrowicz examine performance measurement in supply chains. They provide a conceptual paper with an extensive literature review and illustrate their framework through a case study of a UK-based automotive-parts supply-chain. They argue that much of the literature on supply chain performance management systems concentrates on developing and proposing systems; while they provide a framework for analysing literature and practice. They also contend that the growing body of empirical work is limited by the lack of use of common analytical frameworks. The authors urge that analysis and management of performance in supply chains should be firmly rooted in the context of the actual supply chain, and should deal with solutions that are tailored to the context. They feel that too often existing work relies on generalities and abstract-theorising that insufficiently recognises the contingent factors that determine appropriate solutions.

In the fourth paper Bahri, St-Pierre and Sakka from Canada propose that economic value added (EVA) can form part of a useful tool to manage performance in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They examine a sample of 108 manufacturing SMEs and use regression to connect business practices to performance. Their analysis shows that some practices have reasonably quick impacts on performance, while other practices take more time to work. They caution that managers should recognise this delay in impact working its way through and they should not be too eager to abandon practices that require time to work. Interestingly, they also identify a number of business practices that may not be beneficial at all, and therefore they suggest further attention is required to these.

Teimoury, Fesharaki and Bazyar, in the fifth paper, also focus on SMEs for their research context. They study how governance relationships affect performance of new product development (NPD) in networks involving Iranian firms and do so by applying structural equation modelling to survey data on 112 NPD relationships. In their paper they show that tie strength, i.e. the quality of social relationships between network participants, has a major impact on levels of NPD performance in that stronger ties are associated with good performance, particularly in the design area.

In our final paper, Boby reflects on a case study that shows how design practice can be improved by using design of experiments methodology coupled with the use of Taguchi’s approach. Substantial improvements are gained in the process capability of the product which provide benefits in increased customer satisfaction and, presumably, financial performance of the company.

Tom Burgess, John Heap

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