Kaikaku in production

University dissertation from Mälardalen University : Västerås

Abstract: In today’s fast-changing and dynamic business environment, the pressures on manufacturing companies to compete on the global arena have been intensified. Production is challenged to handle and benefit from ever increasing competitions in terms of cost, delivery capability, and flexibility. In order to gain and sustain the competitive advantage under such circumstances, strong and constant development of production must be ensured not only with continuous improvements but also with radical improvements.Continuous improvement or called Kaizen has been an established approach of production improvement. The concept of Kaizen is well described and many tools and methods that support Kaizen have been developed and widely applied in industry. However, for radical improvement or “Kaikaku” in Japanese, the need and the importance of Kaikaku are still limitedly recognized at companies. Moreover, the knowledge of structured support that facilitates an effective and efficient execution of Kaikaku has been insufficiently developed.The purpose of the research presented in this thesis is to develop models and methods that address the need and the importance of Kaikaku in production and facilitate the realization of it.The research consists of a literature study and three case studies. The literature study was conducted in order to structure the concept of Kaikaku. As a result of the study, a conceptual framework of Kaikaku was developed. The three case studies were conducted to identify influential factors to the realization of Kaikaku. Both Swedish and Japanese companies were studied and analyzed. These case studies led to identify a way of realizing a certain type of Kaikaku. Some characteristics of organization setting were also found influential to the realization of Kaikaku.To conclude, the research has contributed to creating a foundation of the research area related to Kaikaku. This has opened up opportunities for further research in this field.

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