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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2022

Bryan Rodgers and Jiju Anthony

This article explores the themes and gaps around the embedding of continuous improvement (CI) methodologies within public sector organisations and in particular the emergency…

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores the themes and gaps around the embedding of continuous improvement (CI) methodologies within public sector organisations and in particular the emergency services.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is structured around three case studies of national emergency service organisations in Scotland, UK, and is based on 23 interviews with executive members of these organisations as well as of their oversight and inspection bodies and staff associations or unions.

Findings

The findings narrow the gaps in the existing literature around the more holistic and organisation wide approaches to CI and evidence internal challenges around shared understanding, explicit commitment to CI through executive leaders and corporate documents as well as a need for a broader organisational culture of trust and empowerment in order to sustain CI.

Practical implications

The research identifies clear priorities for sustaining CI within the emergency services as well as the opportunities and challenges to doing so. These inform internal CI activities as well as intra-agency development and external influences such as the role of government.

Originality/value

While leadership is long established as a critical success factor in the success of CI initiatives, this is the first research to explore and analyse the existing understanding and commitment of executive leaders in emergency services.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Bryan Rodgers and Jiju Antony

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of publications relating to the use of continuous improvement (CI) methodologies, such as Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six…

2257

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of publications relating to the use of continuous improvement (CI) methodologies, such as Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma over a 17-year period, to identify the themes and gaps, while informing the development of a future research agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

The systematic literature review identified 121 papers published between 2000 and 2017 from searches of over 1,400 peer-reviewed academic journals and also identified the application of Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma across the public sector.

Findings

This research compares the scale and breadth of the public sector with the application of CI methodologies and finds that such application is unstructured and, in some areas, sporadic. The research identifies common themes and research gaps including areas such as lack of shared understanding of Lean, gaps in strategy development and leadership and an overfocus on tools alone.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology is focussed on the journals rated in the ABS Journal Guide 2015, which allowed manual searches for accuracy and relevance to the area of investigation. It is recognised that this may exclude some articles which have been published in other journals but allowed for a structured and detailed investigation. The research identifies some very clear gaps which can inform future research agendas.

Practical implications

The paper details the implications and challenges to the public sector, generally, and to executive leadership, specifically, and, in particular, covers the common issues and concerns, which in turn will assist public sector organisations in implementing, reviewing or refreshing their CI initiatives.

Originality/value

No similar work has been conducted and while some individual areas such as health and education have been the subject of more focus, this research explores the public sector as a whole and considers the patterns of research in that context.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Paul Alexander, Jiju Antony and Bryan Rodgers

The purpose of this paper is to explore the most common themes within Lean Six Sigma (LSS) relating to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within manufacturing…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the most common themes within Lean Six Sigma (LSS) relating to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within manufacturing organisations and to identify the research gaps in the existing literature.

Design/methodology/approach

Tranfield et al.’s (2003) systematic review methodology was utilised encompassing three stages: planning, conducting and reporting/dissemination.

Findings

The literature revealed that there are many areas in which LSS has been utilised with varying successes. In total, 52 journals have been reviewed and it has been concluded that although LSS is a powerful methodology, there are many gaps that exist in the literature and further research is needed to address these in the field of LSS.

Research limitations/implications

The papers included in the systematic review were peer-reviewed papers available in English. Due to these limitations, relevant papers may have been excluded. Moreover, the authors have excluded all conference and white papers for their inclusion in this study.

Practical implications

It is vital that LSS practitioners are fully aware of the benefits, limitations and impeding factors when implementing a LSS initiative. Therefore, this paper could provide valuable insights to ensuring maximum value, is obtained from LSS implementation in SMEs.

Originality/value

This systematic review identifies research gaps in the current literature and highlighting areas of future research which will be beneficial to many SMEs in their pursuit of value optimisation.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Jiju Antony, Bryan Rodgers and Elizabeth A. Cudney

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as a process excellence has been widely adopted in both manufacturing and service organizations; however, its application in the public sector has not been…

2500

Abstract

Purpose

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as a process excellence has been widely adopted in both manufacturing and service organizations; however, its application in the public sector has not been widely explored. Is LSS still a myth or reality in our public sector organizations? The purpose of this paper is to make an attempt to debate about the use of LSS and its potential applications in the public sector context.

Design/methodology/approach

The initial approach is to critically evaluate the role of LSS in various public sector contexts, followed by showcasing four case studies from four different public sector settings: higher education, police service, public hospital and local government.

Findings

LSS methodology can be embraced by all public sector organizations to create efficient and effective processes to provide enhanced customer experience and value at reduced operational costs.

Research limitations/implications

This paper seeks to contribute to and broaden the limited body of evidence of the applicability of LSS to public sector organizations and identifies areas for further research and review.

Practical implications

LSS will continue to grow across many public sector organizations in Europe and other parts of the world over the forthcoming years. However, what will eventually determine if LSS is viewed by public sector organizations as just a passing management fad or not largely depends on the leadership and success of its execution. If LSS is deployed in its true sense across the public sector organizations at a global level, the hard cash savings generated can reach several billions.

Originality/value

The paper yields an immense value to both research scholars and practitioners who are engaged in the introduction of LSS as a business process improvement strategy to achieve and sustain competitive advantage. Moreover, this paper makes an attempt to dispel the myth of LSS which have been quite prevalent in many public sector organizations around us today.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 34 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Bryan Rodgers, Jiju Antony and Derek Penman

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the use of the public sector improvement framework (PSIF) across public sector agencies in Scotland and explore the research…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the use of the public sector improvement framework (PSIF) across public sector agencies in Scotland and explore the research gaps and consequent questions which arise. It is considered that the national promotion of a methodology for public sector improvement, while entirely legitimate, deserves independent scrutiny.

Design/methodology/approach

The assertions of purpose and effectiveness of PSIF made by both the Improvement Service and European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) have been critically examined and independent research which would support or challenge those assertions has been explored.

Findings

There are significant research gaps in the published literature which raise considerations around not only the effective deployment of EFQM but also the requirement for PSIF. The question whether there is a requirement to adapt EFQM for the public sector is also raised.

Research limitations/implications

This paper explores published academic research and does not reference any internal research undertaken by either the Improvement Service or EFQM.

Practical implications

Practitioners who have implemented or are considering implementing PSIF should do so from an informed perspective and be aware of the apparent lack of published research and the significant gaps and questions raised through this paper.

Originality/value

No published research on PSIF and its adaptation from the EFQM business model has been identified. Given the investment and impact of implementing PSIF organisation wide, it is considered extremely valuable to raise these questions for practitioners, as well as encourage the academic community in undertaking research in this area.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 June 2019

Bryan A. Rodgers, Jiju Antony, Zhen He, Elizabeth A. Cudney and Chad Laux

The purpose of this paper, builds on previous studies that explored the research patterns over 15 years, is to consider the current status of the integration of Lean and Six…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper, builds on previous studies that explored the research patterns over 15 years, is to consider the current status of the integration of Lean and Six Sigma. More specifically, this research addresses whether Lean and Six Sigma are stronger together and explores the reasons why Lean researchers and practitioners may be less likely to integrate Six Sigma in their work.

Design/methodology/approach

The research utilises a survey of 25 established and respected academics and practitioners from 16 countries. The questionnaire is analysed using a direct content approach and coded in NVivo.

Findings

The findings suggest that challenges may lie in the perception and understanding of statistics as well as short-term rather than long-term focus on improvement. The findings also suggest that academics and practitioners believe that Lean Six Sigma has developed over time and will continue to develop and improve as a methodology rather than being replaced with a new methodology.

Research limitations/implications

The survey has a sample size of 25, albeit all respondents are established and very experienced practitioners and academics.

Practical implications

For organisations that are introducing or refreshing their continuous improvement initiatives, this research identifies some of the challenges and provides the opportunity to address them to maximise the opportunities for success and sustainability.

Originality/value

The value of this paper is that it further addresses the debate over the integration of Lean and Six Sigma for many organisations which still employ Lean alone, but beyond this it explores how they will continue to develop and whether they are a permanent edition to the quality management landscape or a transition to something else.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 December 2018

Bryan Rodgers, Jiju Antony and Sandeep Gupta

The purpose of this paper is to utilise the research patterns of the most prolific contributors to Lean and Six Sigma methodologies over a 15-year period to inform the discussion…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to utilise the research patterns of the most prolific contributors to Lean and Six Sigma methodologies over a 15-year period to inform the discussion on whether the methodologies should be or are being integrated.

Design/methodology/approach

Structured searches using keywords were carried out using a single database (SCOPUS) to identify the most prolific contributors to research articles in the areas of Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, and thereafter patterns were analysed in five-year periods between 2000 and 2015.

Findings

This research demonstrates clear changing and evolving patterns of research activity. Not only is there a clear emergence of research focussed on Lean Six Sigma rather than a single methodology, there are also indications that researchers publish work using different methodologies in response to different challenges.

Research limitations/implications

The research is restricted to a single database and includes only the 21 most prolific contributors in each five-year period. The analysis is based on the focus of each peer-reviewed paper contributed to.

Practical implications

This research is intended to support and inform organisations which are developing or running business process improvement approaches by demonstrating the flexibility of Lean and Sigma, and evidencing that researchers work across different approaches and combine them when appropriate.

Originality/value

This paper provides a unique perspective on the debate for the integration of Lean and Six Sigma by looking at the patterns of work of researchers themselves to identify whether the focus of research has in fact moved on from exclusively lean or Six Sigma to more integrated approaches as has been argued in individual pieces of research.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 68 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Jiju Antony, Bryan Rodgers, Inness Coull and Vijaya Sunder M.

This paper is based on a single case study carried out as part of a change programme but is used as a reflective tool to draw on some of the wider organisational learning which…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper is based on a single case study carried out as part of a change programme but is used as a reflective tool to draw on some of the wider organisational learning which can be considered when implementing, reviewing or re-energise a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Programme. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach has been used and referenced throughout the paper with references to literature to support the wider learning points drawn which are then applied to any continuous improvement (CI) programmes.

Findings

The paper presents a range of learning points which are drawn from a successful deployment of LSS within a change project carried out as part of an overall programme in Scottish policing services.

Research limitations/implications

The points are drawn from a single case study which was deployed within a wider change programme and is supported by wider literature but is used as a vehicle for informing strategic considerations within an organisation.

Originality/value

This case study is drawn from policing services in the public sector which alone is an area that has not been significantly studied. It is used to explore wider implications in terms of strategic alignment, organisational performance and project management and presents the argument that the design of a CI programme is much wider than the implementation of LSS itself.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 67 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 September 2018

Bryan Rodgers, Jiju Antony and Ivor Marshall

The purpose of this paper is to widen some of the recent discussion which focusses on austerity being the driver for introducing continuous improvement (CI) methodologies, such as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to widen some of the recent discussion which focusses on austerity being the driver for introducing continuous improvement (CI) methodologies, such as Lean and Six Sigma, into policing.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors apply over 80 years combined experience in policing and CI to analyse academic and practitioner literature to summarise the drivers for change and the progress of Lean and Six Sigma in policing and the UK Public Sector.

Findings

The paper concludes that there are significant gaps in the literature and while there are undoubted challenges, there are overlaps between the strategic direction of policing and the approaches of Lean and Six Sigma.

Research limitations/implications

There are a small but growing number of papers which evidence the applicability of Lean and Six Sigma in policing.

Practical implications

The paper emphasises the risks to service delivery if factors such as budget constraints are considered in isolation. The paper provides examples of opportunities which may exist in policing as well as introducing ongoing work in policing.

Originality/value

This paper is among the first to explore the issues of how CI methodologies fit into the strategic direction and challenges of policing services.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Jiju Antony, Bryan Rodgers and E.V. Gijo

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the widespread but fragmented application of Lean Six Sigma within the UK public sector, providing the context of some of the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the widespread but fragmented application of Lean Six Sigma within the UK public sector, providing the context of some of the challenges faced within the sector as well as some of the successful applications of Lean Six Sigma. The paper fundamentally seeks to challenge the concept that Lean Six Sigma is not suitable for use in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A summary of the challenges facing the public sector is shown from current literature and this is presented as drivers for change. A number of successful applications of Lean Six Sigma are then evidenced demonstrating examples across areas of the public sector.

Findings

This paper concludes that while Lean Six Sigma is applicable to the UK public sector additional work is required to better evidence the benefits and return on investment that can be delivered as well as considering more holistic approaches on an agency wide basis.

Research limitations/implications

This paper seeks to contribute to and broaden the limited body of evidence of the applicability of Lean Six Sigma to the UK public sector and identifies areas for further research and review.

Practical implications

Understanding the applicability of Lean Six Sigma affords opportunities to public sector agencies in the current budget climate but additionally affords ways in which quality of service can be enhanced. In some cases, it provides opportunities to meet new statutory requirements around community empowerment.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the body of evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of Lean Six Sigma within the public sector and suggests opportunity for those agencies to meet funding challenges faced across the UK.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 65 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

1 – 10 of 63