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Exploring a holistic perspective on production system improvement
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8291-7362
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3187-7932
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, ISSN 0265-671X, Vol. 33, no 2, p. 267-283Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how holistic improvement work can be organized and what challenges can be observed in the process of adopting a holistic perspective on production system improvement. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative case study and a questionnaire have been carried out. Data for the case study has been collected through semi-structured interviews, archived documents and participatory observations. The questionnaire was done in order to increase the generalizability of the findings from the case study and further validate the conclusions. Findings – The improvement work at the case company is organized as a continuous improvement approach in a Lean Production system in the form of a company-specific production system (XPS), in which two other improvement approaches are incorporated. Some of the identified challenges are: the establishment of a holistic perspective on improvement opportunities; the development of a process to update the production strategy; the continuous update of the Operational Management System during the XPS implementation; aggregating measures for the improvement work and measuring the effect of improvement work. Research limitations/implications – As the current case study is limited to one case company, future research is interested in expanding to other production systems contexts for further validation. Originality/value – The present study offers an increased understanding of the integration difficulties of improvement work that many production companies face regarding operational effectiveness, and based on the findings, some implications for management are presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 33, no 2, p. 267-283
Keywords [en]
Company-specific production system; Continuous improvement; Lean implementation; Lean production; Quality management
National Category
Engineering and Technology Mechanical Engineering
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24253DOI: 10.1108/IJQRM-11-2013-0187ISI: 000382538000007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84955484326OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-24253DiVA, id: diva2:689984
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2014-01-22 Last updated: 2018-05-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A supportive framework for successful implementation of improvement work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A supportive framework for successful implementation of improvement work
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Lean Production is one of the most generally accepted concepts for increasing operational effectiveness. However, its implementation is still challenging for many companies as it implies not only changes of technical systems and management systems but also changes in attitudes and culture. Generalizable implementation steps have still not yet emerged and there are many ways to implement Lean Production. A Lean Production implementation is a never ending process since it is always possible to become leaner. Thus, the implementation of Lean Production is a long-term commitment for a company in order to reach success.

There is a need for research on how to develop and integrate improvement work in order to establish a successful implementation of Lean Production. Accordingly, the overall purpose of the research presented in this thesis is to contribute to an increased understanding of how to successfully implement Lean Production. Moreover, the objective is to develop a supportive framework for a successful Lean Production implementation and to describe this in a general process for the implementation of improvement work.

Through literature reviews and three research studies, a supportive framework for the successful implementation of improvement work has been developed. The first study is an explanatory literature and interview study to build a concept model of improvement work. The second study is an exploratory embedded single case study that was conducted to validate the model. Finally, the third study is an exploratory multiple holistic case study that investigated enablers for continuous improvement after a radical implementation of Lean Production.

The resulting supportive framework consists of important actions to consider during the different stages of a process for the implementation of improvement work. In the first stage after a radical implementation phase, actions important to sustain change and enable continuous improvement include for example a focus on good leadership on shop floor and efforts in the area of control and follow-up of results in production teams.

To develop continuous improvement several actions are defined, like the importance of understanding the context of improvement work including important relations to operations and to develop the production strategy with objectives to align the improvement work.

To reach long term success it is important to integrate continuous improvement into operations and important actions for this stage are for example to update the Operational Management System on the company-specific-production-system framework’s processes continuously, which includes visualisation of the overall improvement work process. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University, 2014
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 173
Keywords
lean production, implementation, improvement work, radical change, continuous improvement
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24252 (URN)978-91-7485-134-2 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-02-28, Raspen, Smedjegatan 37, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge FoundationVinnovaXPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Adapting to dynamic conditions through continuous innovation in manufacturing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adapting to dynamic conditions through continuous innovation in manufacturing
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The speed of change increases due to the pace of technological change and globalisation, and many industries that usually have acted in more stable settings will in the future act in more dynamic marketplaces. In order to be able to manage dynamic conditions, the organisation needs to continue delivering effectively in existing business areas while developing new systems, products and processes to take advantage of new opportunities in the future. This means that the organisation must be able to use abilities for exploitation and exploration simultaneously or, in other words, strive for continuous innovation including ambidexterity.

In the traditional manufacturing industry, many companies use some sort of improvement programme for achieving operational excellence. Hence, a trend among multinational manufacturing companies is also to deploy and integrate corporate improvement programmes (XPS). These are based on lean production and inspired by the Toyota Production System. Generally, improvement programmes such as XPS largely support the development of exploitation capabilities but not exploration capabilities, which instead may have to stand back. Previous research states that these are problematic and complex issues that need to be further understood and developed. Therefore, more knowledge and support needs to be developed regarding how manufacturing companies can adapt their production systems to remain resource-efficient while simultaneously adapting to more radical changes.

The overall purpose of this research project is to contribute to an increased understanding of how XPS integrations can be developed towards continuous innovation to be able to manage more dynamic conditions. Accordingly, the research objective is to develop recommendations supporting continuous innovation in manufacturing. An overall longitudinal study has been carried out containing five case studies at a manufacturing company integrating an XPS during dynamic conditions, i.e., with large variations in volumes and mixes of products together with the introduction of new products and production concepts. The studies conducted and the results are presented in five appended papers.

The research shows there is a risk that the XPS concept is abandoned due to a lack of understanding of how the XPS contributes to solve the turbulent situation that appears under dynamic conditions. At the same time, it is important to develop and support exploration skills in parallel, as these abilities are not particularly well developed in this context. Furthermore, the research shows that a strategy formulation process striving for high involvement can be used as a means of creating ambidextrous capabilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2018
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 261
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-39082 (URN)978-91-7485-385-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-15, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-04 Created: 2018-05-03 Last updated: 2018-05-16Bibliographically approved

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Stålberg, LinaFundin, Anders

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