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n South African Journal of Industrial Engineering - A systems thinking approach to the sustainability of quality improvement programmes

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Abstract

The challenge for organisations to continually provide the best return on investment for their shareholders has become increasingly difficult through globalisation of the market place. There are many responses a company could make to these challenges - for example, new product development, increased market capitalisation, cost reduction initiatives, and quality management. This last response focuses on, but is not restricted to, customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, and environmental impact. Continuous improvement addresses waste in the business design and manufacturing processes, which could lead to improved profit margins. The sustainability of quality improvement programmes remains a challenge. Causality can be studied, using Six Sigma tools, to relate cause and effect. But these tools do not always allow the user to study and understand feedback from other factors, such as soft human issues, in the improvement process system, typically referred to as 'feedback causality'. System dynamics may improve this understanding. Quality improvement programmes in the heavy engineering manufacturing environment are not researched to the same degree as those in the automotive manufacturing environment. The purpose of this paper is to share results from research into the sustainability of quality improvement programmes, and the development of an appropriate system dynamics model, using qualitative case study data gathered and coded in a heavy engineering manufacturing environment.

Die uitdaging vir organisasies om deurentyd vir aandeelhouers die beste opbrengs op hul belegging te verseker word al hoe moeiliker as gevolg van internasionalisering van die mark. Daar is vele aksies wat 'n firma kan neem om die uitdagings aan te spreek - byvoorbeeld nuwe produk ontwikkeling, vermeerdering van mark kapitalisasie, koste besnoeiingsinisiatiewe, en kwaliteitsbestuur. Laasgenoemde fokus op, maar is nie beperk tot, klant tevredenheid, kontinue verbetering, en omgewingsimpak nie. Kontinue verbetering spreek onder andere vermorsing of oortolligheid in besigheidsontwerp en vervaardigingsprosesse aan, wat kan lei to verbeterde winsmarge. Volhoubaarheid van kwaliteit verbetering programme bly egter 'n uitdaging. Oorsaaklikheid kan bestudeer word deur gebruik te maak van 'Six Sigma' hulpmiddels. Maar hierdie hulpmiddels laat nie altyd die gebruiker toe om terugvoer vanaf ander faktore soos sagte menslike kwessies in die proses verbetering stelsel te bestudeer en verstaan nie. Die gebruik van sisteem dinamika kan hierdie situasie verbeter. Kwaliteit verbetering programme in die swaar vervaardiging omgewing word nie altyd in dieselfde mate nagevors as in die motorvoertuig vervaardiging omgewing nie. Die doel van hierdie artikel is sekere navorsingsresultate t.o.v. die volhoubaarheid van kwaliteit verbetering programme te deel. 'n Tersaaklike sisteem dinamika model is ontwikkel deur gebruik te maak van kwalitatiewe gevallestudie data wat versamel en gekodeer is in 'n swaar vervaardiging omgewing.

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/content/indeng/25/1/EJC154314
2014-05-01
2016-12-02
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