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Improving Improvement Work: Defining Operator Teams’ Target Conditions,Using Other Teams’ Current Conditions
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Management.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

For many manufacturing firms, improvement work conducted by operator teams is key to handling future challenges. Therefore, there is a need for improving the improvement work itself. Organizational changes implemented to do so can have negative effects due to the lack of guidance towards the vision of the change in the form of well-defined target conditions. In response, this study attempted to create and verify a model that combines management of improvement work with effective methods of organizational change and continuous improvement. The model aimed to provide a clear direction for improvement work development, defining target conditions for improvement work based on teams’ progression in improvement work in relation to each other, and in the direction of the vision.  

Three areas, each consisting of several teams, in the same heavy truck assembly plant were studied. A framework of factors in improvement work was constructed through a literature study, and was adjusted in order to fit better with reality. The framework of factors was used to evaluate operator teams’ progression in improvement work through semi-structured interviews. Relative progression towards the vision and between the teams was shown, identifying the direction of development for the teams’ improvement work. The relative progression enabled identifying and defining target conditions for one team based on the current  conditions of teams closer to the vision.  

The proposed model was verified for the case, creating a foundation for defining target conditions based on current conditions. It provides manufacturing firms with a way to improve improvement work, utilizing the experience of teams with more developed improvement work to navigate obstacles encountered on the way to the target condition, in the direction of the vision.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Improvement work, Continuous improvement, Organizational change, Industrial organization, Manufacturing industry, Sweden
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160941OAI: diva2:792733
Available from: 2015-03-12 Created: 2015-03-05 Last updated: 2015-03-12Bibliographically approved

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