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A supportive framework for successful implementation of improvement work
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8291-7362
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
Keyword [en]
lean production, implementation, improvement work, radical change, continuous improvement
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24252ISBN: 978-91-7485-134-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-24252DiVA: diva2:690002
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
List of papers
1. Transitioning radical improvement to continuous improvement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transitioning radical improvement to continuous improvement
2012 (English)In: Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing: 22nd International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing, Helsinki, Finland: FAIM 2012 and Tampere University of Technology, Department of Production Engineering , 2012Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Lean Production can be implemented by performing a radical improvement step, Kaikaku, that thereafter enables continuous improvement, Kaizen. However, the overall success and competitiveness of a company lays in its ability to combine radical improvement with continuous improvement; with radical improvement achieve fast results and with continuous improvement sustain results and gradually improve. The purpose of the study presented in this paper is to investigate the relationships between radical and continuous improvement. What factors enable continuous improvement after radical improvement, and what can be done to further develop continuous improvement after radical improvement? A case study has been conducted at a company that has accomplished a radical improvement step and started their work with continuous improvement. Six pilot groups from the production facilities were observed, and interviews with supervisors, team leaders and operators were conducted. A number of business ratios have been collected in order to investigate the progress of the continuous improvement work. The study shows that success factors important for enabling continuous improvement after radical improvement are Participation, Control and Follow-up, Leadership and Values. In order for the organisation to be able to continue to improve over time, it is important that the success factors Vision and Goals, Education and Learning, Way of Working and Organisation and Support continue to develop.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki, Finland: FAIM 2012 and Tampere University of Technology, Department of Production Engineering, 2012
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-22240 (URN)978-952-15-2824-8 (ISBN)
Conference
22nd International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing,10-13 June 2012, Tampere, Finland
Projects
KaikakuxpresINNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2013-11-03 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2015-02-04
2. Towards a holistic perspective on production system improvement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a holistic perspective on production system improvement
2012 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17414 (URN)
Conference
5th Swedish Production Symposium, (SPS12), 6-8 November, 2012, Linlöping, Sweden
Projects
xpres
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-20 Last updated: 2015-02-04
3. Exploring a holistic perspective on production system improvement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring a holistic perspective on production system improvement
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, ISSN 0265-671X, Vol. 33, no 2, 267-283 p.Article 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.

Keyword
Company-specific production system; Continuous improvement; Lean implementation; Lean production; Quality management
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24253 (URN)10.1108/IJQRM-11-2013-0187 (DOI)000382538000007 ()2-s2.0-84955484326 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2014-01-22 Last updated: 2017-02-15Bibliographically approved

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