Performance Improvement a method to support performance improvement in industrial operations

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: The objective of this research was to: Develop and evaluate a method which supports performance improvement in industrial operations. This has been done through several case studies and literature research. The result is a scientifically evaluated Performance Improvement Method. All companies strive for better performance, since a high performance level means greater competitiveness, which in turn generates more money. However, there are an extensive number of change and improvement methods described in many different research fields. Moreover, a number of issues, which are linked to these Performance Improvement Methods have been identified. The issues were summarised as criteria, which were posed on both existing improvement methods and the newly developed method, for evaluation and development purposes. The most important issues with Performance Improvement were found to be that most methods were specialist dependent and did not have competence support. Efforts to improve performance in manufacturing operations have been important since the start of the industrialisation era. Some of the first well-known and well-documented practitioners in the area of PI were Taylor and Ford; so there have been many attempts to work with Performance Improvement. A definition of performance, profitability and productivity is presented to show how they can support improvement work. Performance measurement is important to form a basis of facts to link Performance Improvement on. Furthermore, two models, a performance factor model and a performance measurement model, have been developed for use with Performance Improvement. An evaluation of commonly used improvement methods such as Lean Production, Just in Time, Total Productive Maintenance, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints and Business Process Reengineering, shows both strengths and weaknesses, which were used in the development of the new Improvement Method. Furthermore, a number of case studies were performed to give empirical input to the Performance Improvement Method for practical use. With these practical and theoretical considerations, a formalisation of the Performance Improvement Method was carried out. The Performance Improvement Method has been evaluated through 4 full-scale case studies. The case studies showed that the new Performance Improvement Method has higher criteria support than the other improvement methods evaluated in this research.