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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2021

Guven Gurkan Inan, Zahit Ergun Gungor, Umit Sezer Bititci and Sarina Abdul Halim-Lim

Micro-enterprises have a vital role in the development of a nation by creating employment, encouraging entrepreneurship, balancing social income and educating the…

Abstract

Purpose

Micro-enterprises have a vital role in the development of a nation by creating employment, encouraging entrepreneurship, balancing social income and educating the workforce. Yet, micro-enterprises face significant operational challenges such as low productivity, high production costs and long changeover times. These challenges are often overlooked by researchers and practitioners but have a drastic impact on micro-enterprises' operational performance. With over 95% of the economy consisting of micro-enterprises, it is vital to improve operational performance and competitiveness of the micro-enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

Considering the data availability and practical challenges of gathering data from micro-enterprises, an action research methodology was selected as a suitable research method. Following the initial diagnostic visits, planned interventions were prepared and results were observed to gather data and draw conclusions.

Findings

Findings suggest that commonly adapted performance improvement initiatives by large enterprises cannot be directly applied in micro-enterprises to enhance operational performance. Micro-enterprises lack the critical resources and company culture to easily adapt these initiatives. On the other hand, when these performance improvement initiatives are filtered according to specific needs of micro-enterprises, continuous improvement initiatives were often found to be effective in improving operational performance. Specifically, 5S, single-minute exchange of dies (SMED), suggestion schemes, layout improvements, management coaching, visual management, empowerment were found to be useful and suitable to address command and control culture, low productivity, unorganised workspace, undelegated authority, low skilled employees and unwillingness to take responsibility problems.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required to investigate the specific factors that affect the adaptation of continuous improvement initiatives such as culture and industry type.

Originality/value

This research extends and contributes the current literature on continuous improvement initiatives by revealing how performance improvement initiatives need to be filtered according to the specific needs of micro-enterprises, and how these initiatives can be used to address specific problems to improve operational efficiency. It provides a conceptual framework to guide the decision-making process on operational performance improvement in micro-enterprises.

Details

Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-4323

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Bart A.G. Bossink and Jan‐Nico Blauw

Strategic ambitions can function as drivers of improvement in organizations. Continuous improvement is driven by strategic ambitions to: design quality into the structure…

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1757

Abstract

Strategic ambitions can function as drivers of improvement in organizations. Continuous improvement is driven by strategic ambitions to: design quality into the structure of the organization; plan and control improvements; assure improvements; set and realize improvement goals; position the organization in the market as a “high quality” organization; and create value in interaction with stakeholders. An analytical framework based on these drivers is described. A research project is carried out in the organization of DaimlerChrysler Netherlands. The improvement processes in this organization are analyzed with the framework. The research project indicates that the improvement processes are driven by the strategic ambitions of the organization.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

Nicola Bateman and Arthur David

This paper outlines a model for assessing the sustainability of shop floor based process improvement programmes. The model was developed as part of a larger research…

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4666

Abstract

This paper outlines a model for assessing the sustainability of shop floor based process improvement programmes. The model was developed as part of a larger research programme, investigating the inhibitors and enablers for process improvement. The model is based on the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) Industry Forum MasterClass Process Improvement activity, but can be applied to any intensive shop floor based process improvement programme. The model’s purpose is to identify the level of sustainability achieved by process improvement programmes and consists of two elements. The first element identifies five different levels of sustainability at cell level. The second element operates at factory level and examines the degree to which the tools and techniques have been spread between cells.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 28 May 2010

Forrest W. Breyfogle

The purpose of this paper is to describe a business management system that addresses the following issue: Lean Six Sigma, total quality management, and other process…

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1757

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe a business management system that addresses the following issue: Lean Six Sigma, total quality management, and other process improvement efforts center on the execution of process improvement projects; however, often these projects (e.g. Lean Six Sigma Black Belt projects) are identified in silos and do not benefit the business as a whole, e.g. $125 million is reported saved, but nobody can find the money.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper “Where process‐improvement projects go wrong,” Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2010 (www.smartersolutions.com/blog/forrestbreyfogle/?p=2726) elaborates on the shortcomings of typical process improvement efforts by building an analog between process improvement programs and a spring's stress‐strain curve – stretching, yielding, and failing. To address the described issues, process improvement efforts need to be part of an overall enhanced business management system in order to have long‐lasting success. This structured organizational framework should integrate predictive scorecards with targeted strategies creation that blends analytics with innovation, which lead to the establishment of functional performance goals that pull for the creation of enterprise‐as‐a‐whole‐beneficial improvement projects, which positively impacts these target objectives.

Findings

The described nine‐step Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) business management system provides the framework for achievement of these above‐described needs. The IEE system, for example, blends analytics with theory of constraints, competitive assessments, and economic environment so that created project work efforts have a whole‐system‐performance measurement benefit.

Research limitations/implications

In Lean Six Sigma and Lean kaizen event programs, improvement projects are often selected from a brainstorming‐list of potential opportunities. Initial gains when starting such a deployment can be achieved; however, this effort typically stalls out and the process improvement teams are laid‐off when times get tough. The reason for this rough‐time downsizing is that the previous team process improvement project efforts were not, in the eyes of executives, expended in areas so that a significant overall enterprise benefit was achieved. IEE provides a business management system for addresses these issues so that business improvement efforts have a whole‐organization benefit.

Practical implications

The IEE system can be used by management to address the business management problems of the day, e.g. management issues that led to the financial crisis and the problems that Toyota is now experiencing.

Originality/value

Many who have studied the IEE system have said that this system provides a framework for how business should be run and should be taught in business schools.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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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

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2014

Kristian Siverbo, Henrik Eriksson, Hendry Raharjo and Michaela Moonen

The purpose of this article is to describe how the training of healthcare professionals in improvement work can be performed, and evaluate potential changes in attitude as…

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1006

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to describe how the training of healthcare professionals in improvement work can be performed, and evaluate potential changes in attitude as a result of the initiative.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was carried out at a University Hospital in Sweden. There were 443 participants in the study. The response rate before the intervention was 55 per cent (242 respondents) and six months later, it was 43 per cent (190 respondents). A two-day training program about quality improvement was performed on seven different occasions and after the training had been concluded, participants were encouraged to translate their newly acquired knowledge into improvement projects. Surveys on attitudes toward improvement work were completed by the participants right before the training and six months afterwards. The results were analyzed using a Mann-Whitney test.

Findings

The analysis showed some statistically significant changes in attitude among the participants. There were also differences between groups of participants based on their profession and the number of years in their current position.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the study is that it was solely based on attitudes expressed during the survey and did not include any observed changes in behavior. Another limitation is that attitudes after the intervention were only measured once.

Originality/value

It is possible to use training to change attitudes toward improvement work. The result differs among groups of participants, which raises the question as to whether training should be tailored to better suit the needs of different groups to create positive change. Further research is needed regarding how to reach and fully implement a quality improvement mindset.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 6 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2004

Jim Meteer, Larry Hummel, Frank Wicks and Thomas Nolan

Executives of a multinational company were looking for ways to spread improvements made at one location to other locations throughout the world. Their initial approach of…

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127

Abstract

Executives of a multinational company were looking for ways to spread improvements made at one location to other locations throughout the world. Their initial approach of sharing examples and case studies had proven ineffective. In addition, the localized improvements were having little impact on the worldwide corporate business measures. The principles of quality management and change management added little insight. Frustration with their lack of success had given way to an interest in an approach developed by the Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI) for the health care industry (Kilo, 1998). The concept of an “improvement collaborative” provided the framework for developing their global improvement initiatives.

Details

Multinational Business Review, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1525-383X

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2008

Bernard Crump

The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the key factors that trigger and drive improvement in the NHS and in health care more widely, and to suggest what practical…

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3074

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the key factors that trigger and drive improvement in the NHS and in health care more widely, and to suggest what practical steps can be taken to speed it up.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper outlines the varied improvement drivers that impact on health care organisations today – establishing a basic understanding of the different motivating factors behind each. Building on this, the paper explores the shared attributes of successful health care improvement practice and highlights the processes and tools that are helping many frontline NHS organisations achieve faster and better improvement locally.

Findings

There are many reasons that trigger improvement efforts in the health service and most have a valid role to play. But underpinning them all are four fundamental skill and knowledge sets: leadership; performance and metrics; the right tools and processes; and relationships. One important way to unlock the potential for faster improvement in patient care is for organisations and individuals to understand the profound relevance of these four areas to their own improvement work, and to know about the tools and techniques that are proven to help.

Originality/value

This paper helps address the broad and recognised need across the NHS and wider health service to build service improvement capacity, capability and will. It clarifies the priority areas where organisations, clinicians, health care professionals and improvers at all levels need to develop, and it offers practical steps to help ensure this happens.

Details

Clinical Governance: An International Journal, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7274

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1995

E. Cook and B.G. Dale

Reports the main findings of a study carried out into the qualityimprovement structure of six different companies. Among the findings isthat an infrastructure in terms of…

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1267

Abstract

Reports the main findings of a study carried out into the quality improvement structure of six different companies. Among the findings is that an infrastructure in terms of TQM Steering Committee and improvements facilitators is necessary at the introduction and during the development stages of an improvement process, but this infrastructure will change as a company’s quality improvement activities mature. In setting up this structure, care must be taken that it does not duplicate the existing management structure. The improvement structure becomes less important when people in all functions take responsibility for their own personal improvement but it takes some time for this to happen. Also points out that the improvement infrastructure needs to be reviewed on a regular basis and assessed to evaluate its effectiveness.

Details

The TQM Magazine, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2013

Jan M. Myszewski

The purpose of this paper is to establish a procedure to examine an organization's improvement process and its adverse factors.

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2458

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish a procedure to examine an organization's improvement process and its adverse factors.

Design/methodology/approach

The objectives were to find a way to represent content of a specific improvement process and analyse reliability of improvement processes conducted at operational, tactical and strategic levels. Inspirations of the text were various heuristic schemes used in a process of problem solving: to stimulate transfer of data by formulation of questions (5W or 5Why); to control the flow of the process (QC Story or 8D etc.); and to document results of operation (Ishikawa, fault‐tree diagram, and others). The outcomes are: a questioning scheme on Improvement Story by 5 Whys, which provides guidance, through a study of an organization's improvement processes related to containment, corrective and preventive type; and diagrams of the Prevention State Transitions and the Improvement Snail, which facilitate navigation through the above processes.

Findings

There is a finite sequence of Why‐questions, which can be used to analyse basic characteristics of systems of improvement processes in organizations. This scheme has a direct graphical representation in the Improvement Snail and the Prevention States Transition diagrams.

Practical implications

The scheme has a wide scope of applications: it can be used retrospectively or in parallel to a running process of problem solving. A context of the analysis may be auditing an improvement process or monitoring a particular improvement project.

Originality/value

The scheme combines various aspects of improving the effectiveness of an organization's functions. It can represent, in a systematic way, information concerning risk issues related to: the problems and their mechanisms; the effectiveness of improvement processes that are related to various levels of organization: operational, tactical and strategic and their coordination. The scheme is flexible, as it can be combined with various analytical techniques such as fault tree diagram etc. and it can be adjusted to any specific purpose, by modifying the structure and content of questions set.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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