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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Pathik Mandal

This paper aims to highlight that a define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) project should be carried out keeping the broader business goal of achieving…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight that a define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) project should be carried out keeping the broader business goal of achieving continuous improvement in mind and that a design of experiment (DOE) based improvement approach should be preferred to achieve this goal.

Design/methodology/approach

“Ease of control” of the improved process and “gain in process knowledge” from a DMAIC study are identified as two measures for judging the contribution of a DMAIC project towards continuous improvement. Various improvement approaches are classified into seven groups and the likely impact of each of these seven approaches on the above two quality measures are discussed.

Findings

The improvement approach adopted during the improve phase is partially determined by the nature of the root cause(s) – type X or type Y. The type Y root cause leads to the adoption of the “innovation‐prioritization” approach, which is very popular but has many limitations. Accordingly, an “analysis strategy” is proposed for efficient identification of the X‐type root causes.

Practical implications

The above findings suggest that one should try to identify as many X‐type root causes as possible. However, in case of service and transactional processes one finds it difficult to do so. Much more research is necessary in the area of service process design before the path of continuous improvement of such processes can be embarked on effectively.

Originality/value

It is expected that an awareness of the broader goal of continuous improvement, the classification of the end states of the analyze phase, the proposed “analysis strategy” and the practical guidelines provided for selecting an appropriate improvement approach will be helpful in executing the analyze and improve phases of DMAIC better.

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Article
Publication date: 19 April 2011

Gregor Zellner

The purpose of this paper is to provide a structured overview of so‐called business process improvement (BPI) approaches and their contribution to the actual act of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a structured overview of so‐called business process improvement (BPI) approaches and their contribution to the actual act of improving. Even though a lot is said about BPI, there is still a lack of supporting the act of improving the process. Most approaches concentrate on what needs to be done before and after the improvement act, but the act of improving itself still seems to be a black box.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is mainly based on a review of literature that deals with the term “Business Process Improvement”. The analysis of the literature is supported by qualitative content analysis. The structure of the evaluation follows the mandatory elements of a method (MEM).

Findings

A lot of literature and consulting approaches deal with the restructuring and improvement of business processes. The author finds that even so‐called BPI approaches do not describe the act of improvement itself. And if they do, they lack a methodological structure that can be reused.

Research limitations/implications

To constrain the complexity of this research at this first stage of investigation only the search criterion “business process improvement” was used in the database search (EBSCO and Emerald).

Originality/value

The paper is valuable for academics and practitioners because the impact of BPI on organizational performance is high. Its originality is in the structured evaluation of so‐called BPI approaches according to the MEM, which so far no one has investigated.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Abstract

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-881-0

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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…

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Barry Povey

This paper examines the effectiveness of various business process improvement and benchmarking methodologies described in the literature and reported by survey…

Abstract

This paper examines the effectiveness of various business process improvement and benchmarking methodologies described in the literature and reported by survey respondents. As a result of this “benchmarking study” a new and potentially improved business process improvement methodology is developed.

Details

Benchmarking for Quality Management & Technology, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1351-3036

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1995

Business process re‐engineering (BPR) is certainly one of the latest buzzwords and is the subject of great interest and also great controversy. Organizations need to shake…

Abstract

Business process re‐engineering (BPR) is certainly one of the latest buzzwords and is the subject of great interest and also great controversy. Organizations need to shake themselves out of complacency to close competitive gaps and achieve superior performance standards ‐ the reason why many have embarked on huge BPR projects. In view of the high risks associated with radical change, there are, however, many problems associated with BPR. For some BPR is going off the rails before it is properly understood, and many BPR exercises are not delivering the goods. Sometimes, organizations are expecting “quick fixes”, thus displaying their lack of understanding of a complex system. It is unreasonable to expect quick results when so much change is involved, especially when these business processes involve not only machines, but also people. Many believe, such as Mumford, that the management of change is the largest task in re‐engineering. Many people perceive re‐engineering as a threat to both their methods and their jobs. Owing to this recognition, many authors concentrate on the need to take account of the human side of re‐engineering, in particular the management of organizational change.

Details

Work Study, vol. 44 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0043-8022

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Andree-Anne Lemieux, Samir Lamouri, Robert Pellerin and Simon Tamayo

The purpose of this paper is to propose a leagile transformation model for product development that guides manufacturers in the construction of a road map and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a leagile transformation model for product development that guides manufacturers in the construction of a road map and the management of its deployment in line with both lean and agile improvement objectives.

Design/methodology/approach

An intervention qualitative and transformative research approach was adopted in order to develop required knowledge to theorise professional practice made from rigorous observations of facts. The research project took place over a period of two and a half years, in partnership with an international firm that develops and produces a wide range of luxury products.

Findings

The application of the methodology proved that a lean transformation does not have to be generated only by the field needs but it can follow a mixed approach where a top-down transformation management linked with strategic objectives is deployed without compromising implication and needs from people on the field. The right balance can be found between the strategic aspect of transformation and the incremental aspect on the field of lean paradigms.

Research limitations/implications

For complete validation and widespread scientific application, the model should be tested in other sectors and industries.

Practical implications

The application case of the leagile model in several divisions of a luxury organisation proved that the proposed approach can be used as a guide for manufacturer in the construction of an improvement road map and in the management of its deployment. The application cases enabled a number of positive results to be generated and measured on quantitative indicators such as service ratio for new products for which, one of the divisions saw an increase of 30 per cent. The approach created a positive revolution among development team members by its potential in terms of communication, steering, benchmarking and knowledge system.

Originality/value

The model supports the identification and prioritisation of improvement initiatives by focusing on the levers for improvement that meet the needs and objectives of transformation, as well as the organisation’s maturity level.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Tom McGovern, Adrian Small and Christian Hicks

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the European Regions for Innovative Productivity project that established Innovative Productivity Centres (IPCs) to assist SMEs in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the European Regions for Innovative Productivity project that established Innovative Productivity Centres (IPCs) to assist SMEs in the North Sea Region of Europe to develop a process improvement capability. A conceptual framework explains how a process improvement methodology developed for large firms was adapted and shaped to meet the needs of SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative case study of 23 SMEs within six European countries. A protocol was developed to collect financial and operational data. This was supplemented by observations, secondary data and field notes. An established research model was used to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the process improvement interventions.

Findings

The intervention context and structure of the IPCs varied by country which shaped process improvement interventions at two levels: the country and the firm. During diffusion three process improvement variants emerged that were tailored to fit the local context. Developing a process improvement capability depended upon the availability of company resources, establishing KPIs and change agent support.

Originality/value

The research contributes to knowledge and theory on diffusion and institutionalization by examining how SMEs responded to institutional pressures by implementing process improvement practices in different ways. Heterogeneity of both the IPCs and the external change agents were the drivers in shaping the improvement practices.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Dag Swartling and Daniel Olausson

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge about what distinguishes effective continuous improvement (CI) approaches and to explain some…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge about what distinguishes effective continuous improvement (CI) approaches and to explain some of the mechanisms which create a successful quality program.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data were collected from interviews with employees at several levels in seven companies. The companies were deliberately selected to represent different types of resource consumption and outcome from a quality program.

Findings

The implementation approaches of the studied companies were classified according to four different categories: parallel, integrated, coordinated and project approaches. Companies that adopt a project approach tend to fail to achieve anything more than minor improvements, while companies that take parallel and coordinated approaches realise significant improvements but use more resources than companies that utilise an integrated approach.

Practical implications

This paper illustrates and explains why the project approach ought to be avoided. The paper also highlights the benefits of an integrated approach that is focused on learning.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to theory and practice by providing an empirically‐based explanation for the outcome of alternative implementations of CI in practice.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2000

Robin Mann and Michael Voss

Presents an innovative approach used by one company to integrate its ISO 9000‐certified management system with a recognised TQM framework (the Baldrige model). The company…

Abstract

Presents an innovative approach used by one company to integrate its ISO 9000‐certified management system with a recognised TQM framework (the Baldrige model). The company concerned developed its ISO 9000 system to address all elements of the Baldrige criteria. Of particular note is its process improvement approach that prioritises improvement projects based on their expected impact on the company’s Baldrige score. This approach supported by an online Lotus Notes system helps the company to manage over 200 projects, covering different business units, in a systematic, fact‐based way. All projects (with the exception of some strategic projects) pass through this system and therefore this system provides one of the key methods with which the company continuously improves and moves closer to fully satisfying its stakeholders’ needs. A detailed description of this process improvement approach is provided including a number of key measures reporting on the effectiveness of the system.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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