The integrated continuous improvement project : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for a Masters of Philosophy in Quality Systems at Massey University

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Massey University
This thesis represents the outcome of a research project undertaken to enhance the continuous improvement aspect of quality management in an engineering services company. The solution proposed involved creating an electronic reminder system to encourage colleagues to follow through on suggested improvements. This thesis describes the preparation, process, learning achieved and pitfalls encountered in the process of attempting to create such a system. The proposed system was to be a robust, effective electronic system, which allows continuous improvement efforts (including their outcomes) to be visible from a central place; be intuitive to use; have facilities to report progress - at different levels and within different groups; create effective reporting to interested parties; and enable analysis and evaluation of nature and status of suggested improvements. This thesis includes a review of literature relating to the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, continuous improvement, systems thinking, total systems intervention, and learning organisations, which were read in order to gain a clearer understanding of the shape of future continuous improvement systems. The thesis describes the project methodology followed for the idea conception, design, and specification of the system, assessment of suppliers and of their proposed solutions. Organisational influences that affected the project are discussed using five key filters - mechanical, organic, cultural, political and cybernetic - suggested in systems thinking literature, and project and thesis outcomes are described.
Total quality management, Data processing, Quality assurance