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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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1.1 Introduction

Today's scenario is far more competitive than before, we are facing the change at a very quick pace (Richard N. Foster - Creative Destruction/Innosight.) The competition has increased due globalization that has almost eliminated geographical boundaries as people can easily purchase from another end of the world. The productive efficiency of an organization is based on how well they improve themselves which helps them to maintain their competitiveness and prepare for various crisis as they decline the productivity and has a negative impact on the organization. (Won K. Ham and Sang C. Park, 2014; Song, Ming and Xu, 2013)

Currently all the organizations survive by fulfilling the needs of the customers by providing better products and better services every time. This has been possible due to the process of continuous improvement. (Jose Nicolas Cardona Mora, 2014.) It is extremely important for the organizations to improve themselves in order to survive in the market and maintain an effective goodwill.

Hence, the main objective for this article are

1. How to achieve continuous improvement?

2. Understand the problems and discuss the best suited method.

3. How can the Proposal be supported by EFQM excellence model and the system of profound knowledge by Deming?

1.2 Continuous Improvement:

It is defined as “an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek "incremental" improvement over time or "breakthrough" improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.” (Nadia Bhuiyan, Amit Baghel , 2005.)

Continuous Improvement simply means an ongoing process that organizations take on in order to constantly improve their standards in order to survive in the market and maintain their goodwill.  

Constant enhancement influences how an organization works. It streamlines to make upgrades, amend issues to be more proficient and powerful, instead of being receptive. It likewise makes a culture of critical thinking — devoting time to get to the base of issues and fix the issue.

There's an immediate connect to the key vision of an association. It's done starting from the top as well as simultaneously on the base up so the whole association is focused on a similar thought.

1.2.1 Possible Starting Points for Continuous Improvement:

1. PDSA Cycle (Mihajajlovic,, 2018):

This procedure is regularly spoken to in the graphical type of a wheel, known as a "PDSA wheel" or "Deming wheel" after the maker, Dr. W. Edwards Deming. As you advance through each progression, you keep the wheel moving, speaking to consistent enhancement. When you arrive again at your pattern organize, you consider your past enhancements and plan the following upgrades.

2. Kanban (Kurilova-Palisaitiene Jelena /Sundin Erik / Poksinska Bonnie, 2018):

Kanban causes you to connect the intensity of visual data by utilizing sticky notes on a whiteboard to make an "image" of your work. Perceiving how your function streams inside your group's procedure and also helps you to understand where you stand.

3. A3 (Johnson Marcus R, 2018):

A tool to organize Plan-Do-Study-Act improvement processes into 7 steps, 1) Theme, 2) Background, 3) Current condition, 4) Cause analysis, 5) Target Condition, 6) Implementation Plan and   7) Follow-up.

4. The 5 Why's:

The 5 Whys is a reasoning instrument for recognizing the underlying drivers of issues. By utilizing the 5 Whys, groups rehearsing constant enhancement can move past fault, think past the particular setting of an issue, and distinguish an appropriate, supportable answer for purpose the issue.

5. Value Stream Mapping:

Its gaining a lot of momentum as it promotes system thinking which results in better communication and increased productivity in a team. It is a software.

6. Balanced Scorecard and Measurement:

The balanced scorecard method works on various management functions total quality management, Customer satisfaction, measurement based management and feedback.

7. Learning Organization (Garvin, 1993)

Learning organization is an organization that acquires knowledge for the sake of producing continuous improvement through past experience and team effort to reflect new knowledge.

1.2.2 Past Problems in implementing Continuous Improvement:

There have been a lot of problems in implementing continuous improvement such as:

1. Implementation Process: (Renate Brajer-Marczak, 2018)

The process of implementation itself is so complicated that people fail to understand. There is no clear communication on the behalf of the top management. The lower management is simply told to follow the orders.

2. Lack of Understanding: (Inderpreet Singh, 2018)

One of the most prominent problem of the organization is lack of understanding of various Lean management concepts and methods adopted by the organization.

3. Sustainability: (Jurburg Danie, 2018)

One of the main problems is sustaining the system and increase employee participation. People tend to lose interest as it is a very tedious job and extremely repetitive. More over employees aren't interested in the process as it increases their work at no extra cost.

4. Employee Commitment (Bortolotti Thomas, 2018)

One of the most prominent problem is employee commitment. The main issue that employees tend to resist change and almost hate it. Employees don't tend to commit to change.

5. Training People:

Training people is very tedious job and very exhaustive in nature. Training new people also involves a huge cost, a lot of effort from various departments and also great amount of time.

1.3 Best Suited Method for the organization:

After a long study of the academic journals and articles, it was identified that these are the two methods through which we can introduce the concept of continuous improvement. According to me the two selected methods can easily help us achieve continuous improvement and also lead to employee engagement. The selected methods are:

1. Use of Balanced Scorecard Method and PDSA Cycle:

The main reason I selected to apply these two procedures together is because they both are quite similar in their performance and applying them together can help to bring the better of the both.

ACTION PLAN

• Create a Core Committee team:

Core committee means all the heads of the various departments. It will include members such Human Resources Head, Marketing Head, Production Head, Maintenance Head, Quality Head, etc. This work is to be done by the managing director.

• Core committee creates a sub-committee team:

This the second step. In this case, the core committee selects 3 members from their departments. Each department will have 3 representatives. The main job of the sub-committee is to collect various problems and create a small report for the core committee team that explains the problem caused at the very root.

The use of PDSA cycle and BSM is explained below through a diagram.

The Main Reason this approach was selected as PDSA cycle is one the most systematic method of looking at a problem or a situation. But on its own PDSA can become extremely bias. The organizations department may not know where it is going wrong as it the same set of brains self-evaluate and come up with solutions.

In the method that I am proposing is a step ahead of the PDCA Cycle. This method ensures that all the departments of the organization come together and the solve the problem as one. Moreover, there are not many hidden costs involved in implementing. Plus the employees don't need training about this as the process is very simple and straight forward.

The main reason why I feel this is great for the organization is because instead of looking at their department they look after the organization. There are many smart people in an organization that do not get the chance to speak up, this method will give them a chance to speak up and put their ideas on board. This process would help the organization to create employee engagement and commitment.

2. Convert the Organization into a Learning Organization:

Learning organization is an organization that secures information for delivering nonstop enhancement through trade of involvement and changing its practices to reflect new information created and accomplishing the objective they set. (Garvin, 1993)

There are four steps in the learning cycle: 1. Idea 2. Diagnosis   3. Action 4. Reflect (Pedler, Burgoyne, doydell, 1997)

ACTION PLAN

To convert the organization into a learning organization we need a couple of starting points, they are:

1. Change Management:

There should be careful change of management in order to create an environment of learning. By change, it doesn't mean to replace the team but to change their thinking and providing proper training.

2. Begin with one Department:

We can start with one department of the organization and see how it works out and study the outcomes and once we are absolutely sure of the plan then we can implement it to the entire organization.

3. Making Learning Innovative:

It's time to move beyond the traditional learning. Learning can be done through various exercises and team building methods.

4. Common Vision:

It is important for the organizations to have common vision and mission in order to understand the purpose of the exercise.

5. Lead with Example:

It is necessary for the top management to lead with an example as when employees are more motivated when they see the boss following all the rules himself or herself.

I feel that learning organization will also be suitable for the organization as it helps the organizations on multiple levels. The most important aspect is that learning organization promotes sharing of ideas which helps to create innovation. Learning organization also promotes knowledge sharing amongst the team members. With the help of knowledge sharing, the organization can easily solve the problems.

1.3.1 Possible Reasons to Fail:

Almost everybody states that continuous improvement is extremely good for your organization. But the fact is it that many of the organizations do not strive for day to day improvement. We all believe in continuous improvement is very important, but we do not act it. According to the leadership theory, there are two main issues. First one being the skill to improve and Second being the resources to improve. Sometimes some organizations have resources but not the skills and some have the skills and not the resources.

The problem with PDCA and BSM is that it is simple to implement but is not easy. It is a very powerful tool for quality improvement, but it purely depends on the inputs provided by the employees and the culture of the organizations. Also, PDCA can lead to individual bias. (Julie E Reed, 2015). The problem with learning organization is that it requires engineering input for implementation. The other issue is that learning organization tends to ignore the political climate of the organization (Kim, 1993).

2. Discussion between EFQM Criteria; SoPK by Deming and the Proposal:

2.1 Difference between EFQM Criteria and the proposal:

2.1.1 Leadership:

The leadership criteria within the EFQM model focuses on all aspects of leadership management including developing vision, estimating and assessing enhanced outcomes alongside connecting with the outer partners. This is directly related with both the proposals. In case of PDSA and BSM, leadership would play an important role in selecting the core committee and sub-committee. Secondly, in case of learning organization leaders are responsible in implementing and measure their improvement.

2.1.2 Strategy:

The enabler ‘strategy' provided by the EFQM model focuses on creating policies and people's involvement. Both the proposals focus on employee engagement and commitment. Both the proposals would drastically fail if there are no inputs from the employees.

2.1.3 People:

Looking at the EFQM guidelines and comparing it with the proposal, there are some similarities between the two. The employee development is important in both the cases as both the proposals revolve around the inputs made by the employees. The development would support the input process made by the employee.

2.1.4 Processes, Products and Services:

This enabler focuses on products, processes and services can be produced, improved and promoted. This is more relatable to first proposal of PDSA and BSM as it is a proper process of collecting data and working effectively on it to solve it. In case of learning organization, it does not completely relate with this enabler as its more focused towards people and leadership.

2.1.5 Partnership and Resources:

When looking at the EFQM criteria for partnership and resources in comparison with the proposals, there is one major overlap which is knowledge management. It is important in both the cases. It helps to improve the organization on a daily basis.

2.2 Comparison with the System of Profound Knowledge:

There was a comparison made between the proposal and Deming's SoPK. It talks about building a particular system that helps to build the organisation a continuously improving entity. That is what has been attempted to be done in the proposal. The appreciation of system talks about having a common goal and a sense of co-operation in achieving it. Both the proposals follow the concept. There has been less focus based on knowledge of variation but the concept of PDSA cycle has been used in the first proposal. In case of the second proposal, variation cannot really be measured. It can be kept in check through regular feedbacks and employee participation. In both the proposals, Knowledge management is very important. They purely rely on regular inputs and continuous management. The organization needs to instil a sense of engagement and belonging in the organization along with the training.

2.3 Comparison with Deming's 14 Point of Management:  

1. Constancy of Purpose:

Both the proposals follow the concept of working towards a common goal which would lead to the betterment of the system. There's just one small problem in regard to measurement.

2. Adopt New Philosophy:

Both the proposals have adopted the concept of continuous improvement.

3. Cease Dependence on Inspection to Achieve Quality:

Both the proposals are cannot be completely measured. A system of feedback is nessarasry in both the cases.

4. Minimizing total cost:

There is no proposal to reduce the cost.

5. Improve Constantly and Forever the System of Production and Service:

Both the proposals are about constant improvement.

6. Institute Training on the Job:

In both the cases training is extremely important, but the organization should not only focus on training but also ensure to make the employees feel that they belong to the organization.

7. Adopt and Institute Leadership:

Leadership is very important is both the proposals. It plays an important role in both the proposals. In case of the first, it is to select the team members of the committee. In case of the second proposal, leaders are responsible to driving learning organization.

8. Drive Out Fear:

The proposal fails to talk about fear.

9. Break Down Barriers Between the Departments:

Both the proposals follow this concept. Both the proposals ensure that various departments of the organization come together and solve the problem.

10. Eliminate Slogans and Targets:

In this case the first proposal works on the basis of achieving targets. The second proposal follows the concept of eliminating targets.

11. Change Focus from Numbers to Quality:

Both the proposals talk about improving the quality and the method of working. The first proposal follows the concept of achieving targets. It is important to get work done in time to ensure customer and stakeholder satisfaction. The second proposal completely relies on this concept.

12. Institute self-improvement:

The feedback system would help the organization to improve regularly.

13. Everyone should accomplish transformation:

Both the proposals help the transformation.

14. Cease Award of Business on Price Tag Alone:

3. Conclusion:

The world is constantly evolving along with people. It is extremely nessarasry for the organization to constantly improve themselves in order to survive in the competing market.

In order to implement continuous improvement this report was compiled and after a through literature review a lot of implementation problems and various other challenges were identified. Apart from all the arguments, it is extremely important for the organization to continuously improve themselves. In that case, after a through literature review, there were two proposals were identified that would help the organization to improve.

The first proposal was the use of PDSA cycle and BSM together. It basically gets all the departments of the organization together to solve a common problem together using the PDSA cycle. The second proposal was converting the organization to a learning organization. It is a difficult process but is really helpful to the organizations in the longer run.

Both the proposals are effective, and both would support the organization transformation.

The developed proposals follow the EFQM criteria and sub-critreria but has scope for improvement in it. The proposals exclude the point of external partnership and can work on it. EFQM would help them achieve efficiency through co-operation and facilitate learning. The SoPK would help them by achieving change in management style and other psychology aspect.

Overall, both the proposals can help the organization to improve if all the steps are followed.

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