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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2009

Ravi Seethamraju and Olivera Marjanovic

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the importance and role of process knowledge in the business process (BP) improvement methodology with the help of a case study.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the importance and role of process knowledge in the business process (BP) improvement methodology with the help of a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a literature review that highlights the challenges and issues in the existing BP improvement methodologies. An in‐depth case study that has embarked on a major BP improvement initiative that emphasizes individual and collective process knowledge in a real‐life complex organization is presented.

Findings

The paper confirms that BP improvement is, in fact, a complex, knowledge‐intensive, collaborative process that consists of a set of coordinated, contextualized knowledge management processes. The design of the “to‐be” process in this study is a knowledge co‐creation process that uses collaborative exploration of different scenarios and contexts. Compared with the traditional BP improvement methodologies where the main emphasis is on the design of a new process model, the focus of the methodology employed in this case study is on the process of knowledge co‐creation and transfer.

Research limitations/implications

The paper leads to increased recognition of the knowledge and experience people develop, use and share while modeling, executing, and improving their BPs. It offers anecdotal evidence and general case study research limitations apply.

Practical implications

Practitioners should focus more on key knowledge processes rather than BP models that often obscure the role of individual and collective process knowledge. Rather than investing limited resources in the mapping and modeling of existing processes, practitioners will be able to better serve their organizations if they concentrate on the improvement of the process by tapping the contextualized process knowledge possessed by the individual actors.

Originality/value

In the expanding field of BP management, the study explores the increasing importance of individual and collective process knowledge in process improvement methodologies and provides guidance to user organizations on ways to exploit the value of process knowledge in designing new processes as well as collaborative knowledge sharing and creation process.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2013

Ben Marriott, Jose Arturo Garza‐Reyes, Horacio Soriano‐Meier and Jiju Antony

Several authors have proposed different approaches to help practitioners deal with the complexity of prioritising improvement projects and initiatives. However, these…

1062

Abstract

Purpose

Several authors have proposed different approaches to help practitioners deal with the complexity of prioritising improvement projects and initiatives. However, these approaches have been developed as “generic” methods which do not consider the specific needs, objectives and capabilities of different industries and organisations. The purpose of this paper is to present an integrated methodology that prioritises improvement projects or initiatives based on two key performance objectives, cost and quality, specifically important for low volume‐high integrity product manufacturers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews some of the most commonly used prioritisation methods and the theory and logic behind the proposed prioritisation methodology. Then, the prioritisation methodology is empirically tested, through a case study, in a world class manufacturing organisation.

Findings

The results obtained from the case study indicate that the integrated methodology proposed in this paper is an effective alternative for low volume‐high integrity products manufacturers to identify, select and justify improvement priorities.

Practical implications

Selection and prioritisation of projects and initiatives are key elements for the successful implementation of improvements. The integrated methodology presented in this paper intends to aid organisations in dealing with the complexity that is normally handled over the selection and prioritisation of feasible improvement projects.

Originality/value

This paper presents a novel methodology that integrates two commonly used approaches in industry, Process Activity Mapping (PAM) and Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), to prioritise improvements. This methodology can help, in particular, organisations embarked in the manufacture of low volume‐high integrity products to take better decisions and align the focus of improvement efforts with their overall performance and strategic objectives.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Jagdeep Singh and Harwinder Singh

– The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the history and existing research on continuous improvement (CI).

6597

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the history and existing research on continuous improvement (CI).

Design/methodology/approach

Extensive review of the literature.

Findings

This paper provides an overview of CI, its inception, how it evolved into sophisticated methodologies used in organizations today, and existing research in this field in the literature.

Research limitations/implications

The literature on classification of CI has so far been very limited. The paper reviews a large number of papers in this field and presents the overview of various CI implementation practices demonstrated by manufacturing organizations globally. It also highlights the sophisticated CI methodologies suggested by various researchers and practitioners in the field of CI.

Practical implications

The literature on classification of CI has so far been very limited. The paper reviews a large number of papers in this field and presents the overview of various CI implementation practices demonstrated by manufacturing organizations globally. It also highlights the sophisticated CI methodologies suggested by various researchers and practitioners in the field of CI.

Originality/value

The paper contains a comprehensive listing of publications on the field in question and its classification. It will be useful to researchers, improvement professionals and others concerned with improvement to understand the significance of CI. It should be of value to practitioners of CI programmes and to academics who are interested in how CI has evolved, and where it is today. To the authors’ knowledge, no recent papers have provided an historical perspective of CI.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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…

1679

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: 7 October 2014

Colm Heavey, Ann Ledwith and Eamonn Murphy

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

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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.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 March 2010

Ronald D. Snee

The purpose of this paper is to assess Lean Six Sigma to identify important advances over the last ten to 15 years and discuss emerging trends that suggest how the…

16440

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess Lean Six Sigma to identify important advances over the last ten to 15 years and discuss emerging trends that suggest how the methodology needs to evolve. The goal is to aid those who want to use the method to improve performance as well as assist those developing improvement methodologies.

Design/methodology/approach

The use and development of Lean Six Sigma is reviewed including the origins of the method, the what, why and benefits of the method, how the approach is different, the integration of Lean and Six Sigma, implementation mistakes made, lessons learned and developments needed in the future.

Findings

It is found that organizations have many different improvement needs that require the objectives and methods contained in the lean and Six Sigma methodologies. It is also found that deployment and sustaining improvements are major issues that can be overcome by building a sustaining infrastructure and making improvement a business process. Critical issues include using Lean Six Sigma to generate cash in difficult economic times, development of data‐based process management systems and the use of working on improvement as a leadership development tool.

Practical implications

These findings suggest that improvement is most effective when approached in an holistic manner addressing improvement in all parts of the organization using a holistic improvement methodology such as Lean Six Sigma. Improvement must address the flow of information and materials thorough processes as well as the enhancement of value‐adding process steps that create the product for the customer. This leads naturally to making improvement a business process that is planned for, operated and reviewed as any other important business process is.

Originality/value

The roadmaps, guiding principles, and deployment pitfalls identified will be of value to those initiating and operating improvement processes in their organizations enabling them to rapidly create useful and sustainable improvements. The discussion of needed enhancements will be of value to those who are working to improve the effectiveness of the approach.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 April 2007

Djoko Setijono and Jens J. Dahlgaard

This paper presents a methodology to nominate and select improvement projects that are perceived as adding value to customers (both internal and external). The structure…

Abstract

This paper presents a methodology to nominate and select improvement projects that are perceived as adding value to customers (both internal and external). The structure of the methodology can be explained in three “stages”. First, the methodology suggests a new way of categorizing improvement opportunities, i.e. reactive‐proactive, to “upgrade” the little Q ‐ big Q categorisation. Then, it develops a roadmap that links performance indicators and improvement projects for both reactive and proactive improvements. Finally, it suggests an algorithm to select the improvement project, where the assessment of to what extent the nominated improvement projects add value to customers relies on the comparison between Overall Perceived Benefits (OPB) and Overall Perceived Efforts (OPE). The improvement project perceived as having the largest impact on adding value to customers receives the highest priority.

Details

Asian Journal on Quality, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1598-2688

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 1995

H. James Harrington

The complexity of today’s business environment has made itnecessary to evaluate all the alternatives before committing resourcesto an improvement process. Combines total…

12125

Abstract

The complexity of today’s business environment has made it necessary to evaluate all the alternatives before committing resources to an improvement process. Combines total business management, total cost management, total productivity management, total quality management, and total technology management into a new methodology called total improvement management.

Details

Business Process Re-engineering & Management Journal, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2503

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 October 2016

Salvador Noriega Morales, Adán Valles Ch., Vianey Torres-Argüelles, Erwin Martínez G. and Andrés Hernández G.

This paper aims to describe the application of several Six Sigma tools to explain the improvement changes needed in a company that manufactures concrete blocks. The paper…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe the application of several Six Sigma tools to explain the improvement changes needed in a company that manufactures concrete blocks. The paper explains the methodology and the tools of the Six Sigma system, their use in the project, the application of the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control) process for the identification and definition of the problems, the related performance variables and the results obtained.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports the research made to improve the production of concrete blocks, specifically, the application of the DMAIC process, which is part of the Six Sigma methodologies; DMAIC stands for Definition of the problem, Measurement of the performance, Analysis using specific statistical methods and tools, Improvement the factors that cause the problem and Control the processes to ensure that the problem will not occur again. Each of those steps is explained in detail in the paper, which also presents the application of other improvement techniques.

Findings

The results show the adaptability and relevance of Six Sigma for the improvement of production operations. It is clearly demonstrated that it leads to benefits such as the elimination of machine downtime, reduction of scrap from 18 to 2 per cent and the improvements made in plant layout and production facilities to increase the productivity.

Research limitations/implications

In improvement projects, the differential between the initial and final conditions varies, depending on the magnitude of the problems or potential opportunities. Although this paper describes only the application of Six Sigma, the methodology has a wide potential application in most manufacturing industries.

Practical implications

With the Six Sigma and DMAIC tools’ application and the improvement process, the agility obtained is driving a more mechanized perspective of production operations. The customer service level was increased, through fast deliveries of complete orders. This project shows that the application of the Six Sigma methodology is feasible and produces attractive financial and operational results in this segment of the construction industry.

Originality/value

The companies dedicated to the production of concrete blocks commonly reproduce the systems and standards of the industry, which are commonly designed around civil engineering and technical issues. Thus, the application of improvement tools is exceptional in manufacturing environments. Although this paper is just one application of the methodology, it explains in detail the DMAIC use for companies that are committed to the development of new competencies to increase their competitiveness.

Article
Publication date: 24 April 2007

Peter Dalmaris, Eric Tsui, Bill Hall and Bob Smith

This paper aims to present research into the improvement of knowledge‐intensive business processes.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present research into the improvement of knowledge‐intensive business processes.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review is conducted that indicates that a gap exists in the area of knowledge‐based business process improvement (KBPI). Sir Karl Popper's theory of objective knowledge is used as a conceptual basis for the design of a business process improvement (BPI) framework. Case studies are conducted to evaluate and further evolve the improvement framework in two different organisations.

Findings

Highlights the gap in the literature. Draws attention to the merits of KBPI. Reports on the design of an improvement framework for knowledge‐intensive business processes, and on the lessons learned from the conducted case studies.

Research limitations/implications

Practical and time constraints limit the scope of the case studies. General applicability can be inferred, but not tested, due to the small number of case studies.

Practical implications

A new practical way to achieve performance improvement, that utilises structured tools on intangible organisational assets. The framework can be applied by organisations that run knowledge‐intensive business processes.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a gap in the area of KBPI. It combines concepts from business process management with a robust theory of knowledge to design a practical improvement framework. The paper also contains interesting argumentation supporting the use of Karl Popper's epistemology in BPI and knowledge management.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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