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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Hilma Dhiginina Isack, Michael Mutingi, Hileni Kandjeke, Abhishek Vashishth and Ayon Chakraborty

As the demand for efficiency and quality in the health-care industry has increased over the past few years, adoption of Lean principles and tools in the medical laboratory…

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Abstract

Purpose

As the demand for efficiency and quality in the health-care industry has increased over the past few years, adoption of Lean principles and tools in the medical laboratory industry has become increasingly crucial. The purpose of this study is to explore the level of adoption, barriers and enablers of Lean principles and tools in the Namibian medical laboratory industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out to examine the level of usage, barriers and enablers, impact of Lean tools and to suggest appropriate strategies for adopting Lean in the Namibian medical laboratory services.

Findings

Research findings reveal that Lean tools are moderately implemented in most laboratories. Standard operating procedures, root cause analysis, overall equipment effectiveness and visual management are the important Lean tools used in the industry. Results of the survey also show that Lean tools had a positive impact on operational performance, employee motivation, turnaround time and cost reduction. Furthermore, top management involvement, adequate training and proper planning emerged as important enablers, while lack of support from the management, financial constraint and staff resistant to change are major barriers to the adoption of Lean principles in the Namibian medical laboratory industry.

Research limitations/implications

The paper has inherent limitations of survey research, which the authors will overcome by using case studies with medical laboratories.

Practical implications

The findings of the authors’ work will help in widening the application of Lean principles in more medical laboratories in Namibia and in other parts of the world.

Originality/value

The paper is based on numerous health-care studies on Lean. This is one of the few papers investigating the adoption of Lean principles, specifically in medical laboratories, from an emerging economy such as Namibia.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 May 2019

Jiju Antony, Vijaya Sunder M., Raja Sreedharan, Ayon Chakraborty and Angappa Gunasekaran

Fostered by a rapid spread beyond the manufacturing sector, Lean philosophy for continuous improvement has been widely used in service organizations, primarily in the…

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Abstract

Purpose

Fostered by a rapid spread beyond the manufacturing sector, Lean philosophy for continuous improvement has been widely used in service organizations, primarily in the healthcare sector. However, there is a limited research on the motivating factors, challenges and benefits of implementing Lean in healthcare. Taking this as a valuable opportunity, the purpose of this paper is to present the key motivating factors, limitations or challenges of Lean deployment, benefits of Lean in healthcare and key gaps in the literature as an agenda for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used the secondary data from the literature (peer-reviewed journal articles) published between 2000 and 2016 to understand the state of the art. The systematic review identified 101 articles across 88 journals recognized by the Association of Business Schools ranking guide 2015.

Findings

The systematic review helped the authors to identify the evolution, current trends, research gaps and an agenda for future research for Lean in healthcare. A bouquet of motivating factors, challenges/limitations and benefits of Lean in healthcare are presented.

Practical implications

The implications of this work include directions for managers and healthcare professionals in healthcare organizations to embark on a focused Lean journey aligned with the strategic objectives. This work could serve as a valuable resource to both practitioners and researchers for learning, investigating and rightly adapting the Lean in the healthcare sector.

Originality/value

This study is perhaps one of the comprehensive systematic literature reviews covering an important agenda of Lean in Healthcare. All the text, figures and tables featured here are original work carried by five authors in collaboration (from three countries, namely, India, the USA and the UK).

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 36 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 January 2019

Ayon Chakraborty, Michael Mutingi and Abhishek Vashishth

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have now become an important part of economy for not only developed nations but also for emerging economies. Irrespective of the…

Abstract

Purpose

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have now become an important part of economy for not only developed nations but also for emerging economies. Irrespective of the benefits that can be derived, SMEs in emerging economies still lack the will to implement quality management (QM) practices. Using a comparative study, the purpose of this paper is to understand the status of QM practices in SMEs of emerging economies.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey-based approach was adopted to understand the established QM practices in the SMEs. A survey instrument was designed by reviewing the literature on QM initiatives in SMEs. A sample of 270 SMEs across Southern India and 189 SMEs in Namibia was selected through stratified random sampling technique.

Findings

The overall response rate was 19.52 percent for India and 26.46 percent for Namibia, respectively. There were similarities and differences in responses from SMEs in both countries. Similarities are in terms of limited implementation of QM practices, and also less use of tools and techniques. Reasons for not implementing include unknown to the authors, and the high cost of training. Differences emerged in the type of market (Indian SMEs catering to one major customer), CSFs and business performance indicators. It was interesting to find that management commitment and involvement do not have a major influence as CSF for SMEs in both the countries.

Originality/value

The research is the first attempt in bringing a comparative study about QM practices in SMEs from developing countries. The insights will help emerging economies to develop policies for education and training, and thus facilitate implementation of QM practices in SMEs.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Timothy Silombela, Michael Mutingi and Ayon Chakraborty

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding on the impact of quality management (QM) tools and techniques in water supply infrastructure maintenance and the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding on the impact of quality management (QM) tools and techniques in water supply infrastructure maintenance and the generation of non-revenue water (NRW) by Namibian Municipal Water Distributors.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews were selected as the primary data collection method, while secondary data were collected using document review and observations. In-depth interviews as primary method provided rich data and details on the subject matter from the respondents. Document review and observations provided a holistic perspective and understanding of the context within which the maintenance projects are handled by municipal water distributors.

Findings

The study found that as the number of QM tools employed to analyze maintenance data increases, the generation of NRW by the municipality decreases. However, for the tools to be effective, they should cover applications such as problem identification, data analysis, process analysis, decision making, planning, quality control and statistical process control, this helped Namibian municipalities to produce low volumes of NRW. In contrast, municipalities using QM tools arbitrarily lead to high quantities of NRW generation.

Originality/value

The World Bank recommends that NRW should be less than 25 percent of the total water produced, while in many countries NRW is up to 60 percent. Developed economies have made efforts to reduce NRW but efforts are still at nascent stage in emerging economies. This is the first study providing evidences of QM tools application in maintenance process and effect on NRW.

Details

Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2511

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 April 2022

Fabiane Letícia Lizarelli, Ayon Chakraborty, Jiju Antony, Raja Jayaraman, Matheus Borges Carneiro and Sandy Furterer

The purpose of this empirical research is to understand the application of Lean practices (technical and social) and tools in the service sector, whose implementation is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this empirical research is to understand the application of Lean practices (technical and social) and tools in the service sector, whose implementation is less studied, despite its economic relevance. The study aims to extend previous studies that focused on the relationship between Lean and operational and financial performance, and analyzing the impact on sustainability, encompassing economic, social and environmental perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

A pilot survey was conducted with Lean experts in European service companies. The authors have utilized various professional contacts on LinkedIn and a satisfactory response rate was obtained for analysis.

Findings

The results of the study showed that there are several motivating factors for the implementation of Lean, the highlights being improving customer satisfaction, efficiency, delivery and cost reduction. The most frequently used Lean tools are related to the identification of improvement opportunities and causes of problems. The pilot survey also made it possible to identify the greater use of technical practices than social practices. The sustainability performance analysis showed that the better performance of service companies is in the economic dimension.

Originality/value

The authors have identified no empirical studies linking Lean and sustainable performance in the service sector. This study bridges this cognitive gap through a pilot study and therefore makes an original contribution to the current literature.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2022

Shreeranga Bhat, Jiju Antony, Gijo E.V., Rajesh Koul, Elizabeth A. Cudney and Ayon Chakraborty

While Six Sigma (SS) has been deployed effectively in Indian manufacturing and service sectors as a process improvement methodology, the implementation of Design for Six…

Abstract

Purpose

While Six Sigma (SS) has been deployed effectively in Indian manufacturing and service sectors as a process improvement methodology, the implementation of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) for robust product and service development has not shown noticeable results. Therefore, this article aims to determine the critical failure factors (CFFs) of DFSS in the Indian context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents the results of a pilot survey on the CFFs of DFSS in Indian companies. The survey participants were specialists in DFSS who have been involved in DFSS projects in their past and present companies. Moreover, the pilot study participants were DFSS Champions, Master Black Belts, Black Belts and Green Belts from the manufacturing and service sectors.

Findings

Company-wide applications of DFSS are very limited in India. Most of the DFSS project failures are reported in the Analyse phase of the project. The results indicated that all 18 CFFs used in the survey have a significant impact on project failures. Also, it was determined that all CFFs are positively correlated with each other. Further, a strong correlation was observed between the voice of the customer (VOC) and project selection and prioritisation. In addition, effective training showed a strong correlation with the right selection of tools.

Research limitations/implications

The pilot survey was based on a limited sample size. Moreover, the study is confined to only the Indian context and data were collected through the authors' networks. However, respondents were proficient, certified and involved in DFSS project deployment in the manufacturing and service sectors. Therefore, the study's findings are useful and meaningful to draw robust inferences.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first empirical study conducted in the Indian context to identify the reasons for DFSS project failures. The study's findings can aid academicians and practitioners in comprehending and critically examining the CFFs of DFSS before executing a project. Moreover, the research outcome motivates policymakers to create an ecosystem to effectively adopt DFSS for start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to ensure a circular economy and support the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 November 2021

Manimuthu Arunmozhi, Jinil Persis, V. Raja Sreedharan, Ayon Chakraborty, Tarik Zouadi and Hanane Khamlichi

As COVID-19 outbreak has created a global crisis, treating patients with minimum resources and traditional methods has become a hectic task. In this technological era, the…

Abstract

Purpose

As COVID-19 outbreak has created a global crisis, treating patients with minimum resources and traditional methods has become a hectic task. In this technological era, the rapid growth of coronavirus has affected the countries in lightspeed manner. Therefore, the present study proposes a model to analyse the resource allocation for the COVID-19 pandemic from a pluralistic perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study has combined data analytics with the K-mean clustering and probability queueing theory (PQT) and analysed the evolution of COVID-19 all over the world from the data obtained from public repositories. By using K-mean clustering, partitioning of patients’ records along with their status of hospitalization can be mapped and clustered. After K-mean analysis, cluster functions are trained and modelled along with eigen vectors and eigen functions.

Findings

After successful iterative training, the model is programmed using R functions and given as input to Bayesian filter for predictive model analysis. Through the proposed model, disposal rate; PPE (personal protective equipment) utilization and recycle rate for different countries were calculated.

Research limitations/implications

Using probabilistic queueing theory and clustering, the study was able to predict the resource allocation for patients. Also, the study has tried to model the failure quotient ratio upon unsuccessful delivery rate in crisis condition.

Practical implications

The study has gathered epidemiological and clinical data from various government websites and research laboratories. Using these data, the study has identified the COVID-19 impact in various countries. Further, effective decision-making for resource allocation in pluralistic setting has being evaluated for the practitioner's reference.

Originality/value

Further, the proposed model is a two-stage approach for vulnerability mapping in a pandemic situation in a healthcare setting for resource allocation and utilization.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 39 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 September 2022

Swati Mathur, Jiju Antony, McDermott Olivia, Lizarelli Fabiane Letícia, Bhat Shreeranga, Jayaraman Raja and Chakraborty Ayon

The main purpose of this study is to revisit Ishikawa's statement: “95% of problems in processes can be accomplished using the original 7 Quality Control (QC) tools”. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this study is to revisit Ishikawa's statement: “95% of problems in processes can be accomplished using the original 7 Quality Control (QC) tools”. The paper critically investigates the validity of this statement in higher education institutions (HEIs). It involves analysis of the usage of the 7 QC tools and identifying the barriers, benefits, challenges and critical success factors (CSFs) for the application of the 7 QC tools in a HEI setting.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey instrument was developed, and as this is a global study, survey participants were contacted via social networks such as LinkedIn. Target respondents were HEIs educators or professionals who are knowledgeable about the 7 QC tools promulgated by Dr Ishikawa. Professionals who work in administrative sectors, such as libraries, information technology and human resources were included in the study. A number of academics who teach the 7 basic tools of QC were also included in the study. The survey link was sent to over 200 educators and professionals and 76 complete responses were obtained.

Findings

The primary finding of this study shows that the diffusion of seven QC tools is not widespread in the context of HEIs. Less than 8% of the respondents believe that more than 90% of process problems can be solved by applying the 7 QC tools. These numbers show that modern-quality problems may need more than the 7 basic QC basic tools and there may be a need to revisit the role and contribution of these tools to solve problems in the higher education sector. Tools such as Pareto chart and cause and effect diagram have been widely used in the context of HEIs. The most important barriers highlighted are related to the lack of knowledge about the benefits and about how and when to apply these tools. Among the challenges are the “lack of knowledge of the tools and their applications” and “lack of training in the use of the tools”. The main benefits mentioned by the respondents were “the identification of areas for improvement, problem definition, measurement, and analysis”. According to this study, the most important factors critical for the success of the initiative were “management support”, “widespread training” and “having a continuous improvement program in place”.

Research limitations/implications

The exploratory study provides an initial understanding about the 7 QC tools application in HEIs, and their benefits, challenges and critical success factors, which can act as guidelines for implementation in HEIs. Surveys alone cannot provide deeper insights into the status of the application of 7 QC tools in HEIs, and therefore qualitative studies in the form of semi-structured interviews should be carried out in the future.

Originality/value

This article contributes with an exploratory empirical study on the extent of the use of 7 QC tools in the university processes. The authors claim that this is the first empirical study looking into the use of the 7 QC tools in the university sector.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 November 2018

Raja Sreedharan V., Gopikumar V., Smitha Nair, Ayon Chakraborty and Jiju Antony

Many projects focus on the reliable operation of the activities in the project. Any failure in the process activities leads to major problems resulting in waste, defects…

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Abstract

Purpose

Many projects focus on the reliable operation of the activities in the project. Any failure in the process activities leads to major problems resulting in waste, defects, equipment damage, which has a direct impact on the consumers. In addition, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is not new to this issue. LSS projects have faced an interruption in the process flow and unforeseen defects. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to identify the vital failure factors of LSS projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Through extant literature review, the researchers found 44 critical failure factors (CFFs) of LSS. Using the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) SIMOS approach, the decision makers’ (DMs) rating and weight for each factor were collected. Moreover, the study was conducted in both the manufacturing and service industries to identify the impact of CFFs in LSS projects.

Findings

CFFs and their evaluation have received little attention in the literature. Most of the previous studies deal only with the identification of the success factors in general. Therefore, the study identified 44 CFFs and ranked them through DMs. In addition, the TOPSIS SIMOS approach ranked the vital failure factors enabling the management to avert the LSS project from failures.

Research limitations/implications

The study focused on project failures due to CFFs of LSS. Nevertheless, it did not consider other failure factors of project and knowledge management. Further, the sample used to test the approach was considerably small. Therefore, the study can be repeated with significant samples and the vital failure factors compared.

Practical implications

In real-life application, all the parameters in the LSS project need to be understood in a better manner. In such a condition, the practitioner needs to know that the project never fails due to the CFFs and TOPSIS SIMOS approach can prevent the LSS project failures.

Originality/value

The study applied TOPSIS SIMOS approach to rank the CFFs in an LSS project, which is first of its kind and aids the practitioners to make the right decisions in the business environment.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 May 2013

Ayon Chakraborty and Tan Kay Chuan

Since its introduction by Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma and its philosophy have found widespread application in many manufacturing and service industries. It is felt…

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Abstract

Purpose

Since its introduction by Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma and its philosophy have found widespread application in many manufacturing and service industries. It is felt that there is a need to take stock of the spread of Six Sigma implementation in service organisations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate five main themes which have emerged from literature and to draw on those themes to reflect on wider applicability of Six Sigma in services.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involves two exploratory questionnaire surveys. The small‐scale survey is conducted in service organizations in Singapore. The large‐scale survey was web‐based and involved service organisations throughout the world. The objective is to explore and understand the issues highlighted by the service organisations during Six Sigma implementation.

Findings

The findings confirm the inclusion of critical success factors, critical‐to‐quality characteristics, and set of tools and techniques as observed from the literature. In the case of key performance indicators (KPIs), there are different interpretations about them in the literature and also by industry practitioners. Some literature explains KPIs as performance metrics whereas some feel they are key process input or output variables, which is similar to interpretations by practitioners of Six Sigma. The responses of “not relevant” and “unknown to us” as reasons for not implementing Six Sigma show the need for understanding specific requirements of service organizations.

Research limitations/implications

The limited responses from the authors' surveys restrict the possibility of generalising the findings. Therefore, more extensive survey is required. The three‐phase approach with mixed method used in the overall study has been shown to be useful.

Originality/value

Although much theoretical description is available about Six Sigma, there has been limited rigorous academic research on it. This gap is far more pronounced about Six Sigma implementation in service organizations, where the theory is not yet mature. Identifying this need, the paper contributes, by empirical research through surveys, to understand the issues involving Six Sigma implementation in service organizations.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

Keywords

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