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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2019

Ben Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to improve the efficacy of professional support services and teaching processes within a leading UK university so that they align better to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to improve the efficacy of professional support services and teaching processes within a leading UK university so that they align better to changing academic requirements and external market forces, using a novel systems thinking methodology. A case study is given from a school in a leading UK university.

Design/methodology/approach

The case uses a novel process modelling methodology known as the process-orientated holonic modelling methodology. Abducted rationalisation is used to reflect upon the 4V’s theoretical concept of operational characteristics (volume, variety, variation over time and visibility). The paper also briefly describes the unique systems thinking principles behind the methodology and its use of abductive rationalisation.

Findings

The methodology and models show that it is advantageous to simultaneously review strategic processes and operational processes because this enables roles, processes and tasks to be more purposefully redefined and more closely meet endogenous organisational requirements and exogenous market forces.

Originality/value

This work will interest organisational analysts wishing to use a novel approach to improve strategy and operational processes in higher education and universities. The practical implications of the study are discussed using the 4V’s theoretical concept: volume of throughput, variety of offerings, variation over time and visibility of processes to students. The international context and implications are outlined.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Dimitra Kalaitzi, Aristides Matopoulos and Ben Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to investigate dependencies that arise between companies during the ramp-up of production volume in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate dependencies that arise between companies during the ramp-up of production volume in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

An inter-company case study method has been used. Data were collected via tours of manufacturing plants, workshops and interviews from multiple tiers in a supply chain, namely, a niche EV manufacturer, as well as two of its tier-one suppliers and five of its tier-two suppliers.

Findings

As production volumes increased, a more relational approach was found to be necessary in inter-company relationships. The authors’ research showed that key suppliers, in addition to providing the parts, pursued a supply chain orchestrator’s role by offering direct support and guidance to the niche EV manufacturer in designing and executing its development plans.

Research limitations/implications

The resource dependence theory (RDT) is used to analyse and explain the changing dependencies throughout the planning and execution of production ramp-up.

Practical implications

This study will help supply chain managers to better manage resource dependencies during production ramp-up.

Originality/value

This study explores dependencies during the early stages of the production ramp-up process in the EV sector, which is in itself in the early stages of evolution. RDT is used for the first time in this context. This study has moved beyond a simple dyadic context, by providing empirical insights into the actions taken by an EV manufacturer and its suppliers, towards a multi-tier supply chain context, to better manage resource dependencies.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Ben Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to know which growth-impeding constraints are perceived to act upon operations of small- to medium-sized (SME) companies by their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to know which growth-impeding constraints are perceived to act upon operations of small- to medium-sized (SME) companies by their owner-managers and to recommend transitionary paths to elevate constraints and increase contribution levels made by SMEs’ operations. To do so, this research has been primarily founded upon Hayes et al.’s (2005) operations contribution model for differentiating between different levels of operations’ contribution, and secondarily on the theory of constraints philosophy to explain the perceptions of constraints found at each level – current and future.

Design/methodology/approach

An open-ended survey and a series of group workshops have gathered new empirical data about these perceptions, which were coded using the relational content analysis to identify a parsimonious set of perceptual growth-impeding constraint categories. The most popular transitions were identified and a correlation of frequency rank orders between “perceived current” and “perceived future” constraints categories was calculated, and likely transitionary paths for growth are discussed. Three SME case studies were documented in related action research to contextualise survey findings.

Findings

The most popular transition was from “neutral” to “leading”. A lack of people capability was perceived to be the most commonly reported growth-impeding constraint category, followed by a combined lack of process competence and product and service innovation, further followed by a lack of skills in information technology automation. In addition, a new conceptual model has been generated inductively to address shortcomings found in the original operations contribution model (Hayes et al., 2005) during its application to UK SMEs. The new model is referred to in this paper as the “Operations Growth Rocket”.

Research limitations/implications

This research only used data from UK SMEs.

Practical implications

This work should help SME owner-managers to overcome growth-impeding constraints that act upon their operations and assist them to develop more effective actions and paths to increase the contribution levels made by their operations. This in turn should support growth of their organisations. Findings will also inform teaching about more effective operations management in SMEs.

Social implications

This work should help UK SMEs to grow, which in turn will strengthen the UK economy.

Originality/value

A novel approach and new data from 208 SMEs modify a classical operations contribution model (Hayes et al., 2005). This is achieved by considering transitionary paths to be meta-categories continua abstracted from constraint categories combined with case data for moving towards higher levels of operations contribution, rather than using discrete growth-impeding and growth-constraining “levels”. This research has inductively generated a new version of the classical contribution model that should be more suitable for stimulating growth in (UK) SMEs.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Ben Clegg, Jillian MacBryde and Prasanta Dey

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 33 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Ben Clegg and Yi Wan

The purpose of this paper is to investigate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems development and emerging practices in the management of enterprises (i.e. parts of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems development and emerging practices in the management of enterprises (i.e. parts of companies working with parts of other companies to deliver a complex product and/or service) and identify any apparent correlations. Suitable a priori contingency frameworks are then used and extended to explain apparent correlations. Discussion is given to provide guidance for researchers and practitioners to deliver better strategic, structural and operational competitive advantage through this approach; coined here as the “enterprization of operations”.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical induction uses a new empirical longitudinal case study from Zoomlion (a Chinese manufacturing company) built using an adapted form of template analysis to produce a new contingency framework.

Findings

Three main types of enterprises and the three main types of ERP systems are defined and correlations between them are explained. Two relevant a priori frameworks are used to induct a new contingency model to support the enterprization of operations; known as the dynamic enterprise reference grid for ERP (DERG-ERP).

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on one longitudinal case study. Further case studies are currently being conducted in the UK and China.

Practical implications

The new contingency model, the DERG-ERP, serves as a guide for ERP vendors, information systems management and operations managers hoping to grow and sustain their competitive advantage with respect to effective enterprise strategy, enterprise structure and ERP systems.

Originality/value

This research explains how ERP systems and the effective management of enterprises should develop in order to sustain competitive advantage with respect to enterprise strategy, enterprise structure and ERP systems use.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 33 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 March 2008

Ben Clegg

Abstract

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2008

Mario Binder, Peter Gust and Ben Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how research and development (R&D) collaboration takes place for complex new products in the automotive sector. The research…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how research and development (R&D) collaboration takes place for complex new products in the automotive sector. The research aims to give guidelines to increase the effectiveness of such collaborations.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology used to investigate this issue was grounded theory. The empirical data were collected through a mixture of interviews and questionnaires. The resulting inducted conceptual models were subsequently validated in industrial workshops.

Findings

The findings show that frontloading of the collaborative members was a major issue in managing successful R&D collaborations.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this research is that it is only based in the German automotive industry.

Practical implications

Practical implications have come out of this research. Models and guidelines are given to help make a success of collaborative projects and their potential impacts on time, cost and quality metrics.

Originality/value

Frontloading is not often studied in a collaborative manner; it is normally studied within just one organisation. This study has novel value because it has involved a number of different members throughout the supplier network.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Jillian MacBryde, Steve Paton and Ben Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of high-value manufacturing (HVM) concepts in Scottish SMEs and define how they are being used to gain competitive…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of high-value manufacturing (HVM) concepts in Scottish SMEs and define how they are being used to gain competitive advantage.

Design/methodology/approach

Cross-sectional research carried out using a large-scale survey of 435 SMEs and semi-structured interviews of a subset of 50 SMEs.

Findings

Findings indicate that HVM is not a homogeneous state but an umbrella term for a number of operational models adopted by manufacturers that are progressively moving from simple price-based production; companies must, as a foundation, be operationally excellent in all lifecycle phases before extending their capability by offering a more comprehensive service; HVM is not a static state but a journey that differs in nature for each manufacturer depending on the nature of its market and customer.

Research limitations/implications

The approach to theory must be more integrated combining aspects of marketing, strategic and operational theory. Research must be carried out using the supply chain, rather than the firm, as the unit of analysis.

Practical implications

Manufacturing efficiency has now become an order qualifier and competitive advantage should now be sought through the integration of design, production and service activities from strategic levels down to operational levels across all the functions of a business which link seamlessly to customer and supplier activities.

Originality/value

This paper contains insights into Scottish SMEs and their practice of HVM; defines the activity that makes up HVM at an operational as opposed to an economic or strategic level; proposes a model that characterises the stages of HVM that SMEs transition through.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 33 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Ben Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to describe how the application of systems thinking to designing, managing and improving business processes has resulted in a new and unique…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe how the application of systems thinking to designing, managing and improving business processes has resulted in a new and unique holonic‐based process modeling methodology know as process orientated holonic modeling.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes key systems thinking axioms that are built upon in an overview of the methodology; the techniques are described using an example taken from a large organization designing and manufacturing capital goods equipment operating within a complex and dynamic environment. These were produced in an 18 month project, using an action research approach, to improve quality and process efficiency.

Findings

The findings of this research show that this new methodology can support process depiction and improvement in industrial sectors which are characterized by environments of high variety and low volume (e.g. projects; such as the design and manufacture of a radar system or a hybrid production process) which do not provide repetitive learning opportunities. In such circumstances, the methodology has not only been able to deliver holonic‐based process diagrams but also been able to transfer strategic vision from top management to middle and operational levels without being reductionistic.

Originality/value

This paper will be of interest to organizational analysts looking at large complex projects whom require a methodology that does not confine them to thinking reductionistically in “task‐breakdown” based approaches. The novel ideas in this paper have great impact on the way analysts should perceive organizational processes. Future research is applying the methodology in similar environments in other industries.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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