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Continuous improvement in product development: Improvement programs and quality principles
Service Research Center Karlstad university.
Roberg Bosch GmbH.
Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Quality Technology and Management.
2005 (English)In: International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, ISSN 0265-671X, Vol. 22, no 8, 753-768 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - Continuous improvement has become an important strategy in improving organizational performance. Unfortunately, product development is often excluded in continuous improvement programs due to the special characteristics of product development activities. The overall purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of continuous improvement in the context of product development. Design/methodology/approach - A central aspect in this context is that many organizations find it difficult to improve and learn if work is carried out in the form of projects. In this paper, a quality perspective on continuous improvement is introduced and its usefulness is tested empirically through three case studies in Swedish organizations. The focus is on the improvement programs used and the quality principles displayed in a product development context. Findings - The results show that the three investigated organizations have multiple improvement programs, but that some configurations of improvement programs seem to be more successful than others. For instance, co-ordination of multiple improvement programs, scope creep, and separating between product development processes and project management models are important success factors for continuous improvement. In addition, an introduction of an improvement program without adoption of a critical mass of quality principles is doomed to fail. Originality/value - The research initiative is one of the first to conduct an empirical investigation of how organizations design and work with improvement programs in the context of product development. It provides knowledge to both academics and practitioners on how organizations can design and implement initiatives on quality management, especially in the context of product development. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 22, no 8, 753-768 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-31243DOI: 10.1108/02656710510617210Local ID: 16998OAI: diva2:252066
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2011-01-12

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