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Kaizen, a continuous improvement practice in organizations

Kaizen, a continuous improvement practice in organizations The purpose of this paper is to compare the practices of continuous improvement that are applied in medium and large manufacturing and service companies in two Latin American countries. At the same time, benefits and barriers experienced by these companies with regard to sustainability of continuous improvement are explored.Design/methodology/approachIn order to generate a comparative study between two Latin American countries, interviews were conducted with managers linked to continuous improvement in medium and large companies in the State of Puebla and the Metropolitan District of Quito, which are important areas in Mexico and Ecuador, respectively. Data were collected by means of document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and direct observation.FindingsCompanies in both countries identify the use of various techniques and/or tools for continuous improvement. The results of the empirical evidence show how the impact of the application of the techniques has been beneficial in economic and human terms. Thus, the exploratory study has permitted the identification of the drivers and inhibitors in the maintenance of continuous improvement.Research limitations/implicationsThe research is based on only two areas of the Latin American countries: Mexico and Ecuador. Their results can therefore not be generalized. The approach is applied in a specific environment, namely, the State of Puebla and the Metropolitan District of Quito. This study incorporates the perception of managers, directors, and/or supervisors involved in continuous improvement processes.Practical implicationsThis paper seeks to provide analytical input. The study is of great interest to researchers, managers, consultants, and professionals linked to projects of continuous improvement who wish to incorporate continuous improvement practices which are sustainable over time. A new managerial behavior is the basis of continuous improvement, where the training and development of the human resource increases the commitment to achieve organizational changes.Originality/valueThis research makes an empirical contribution to the literature through the understanding of practices of continuous improvement in a Latin American context, highlighting the factors that improve or impede the process of continuous improvement. Particularly in Mexico and Ecuador, the empirical evidence on this subject is still scarce despite the existence of theoretical academic literature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The TQM Journal Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1754-2731
DOI
10.1108/tqm-07-2017-0085
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to compare the practices of continuous improvement that are applied in medium and large manufacturing and service companies in two Latin American countries. At the same time, benefits and barriers experienced by these companies with regard to sustainability of continuous improvement are explored.Design/methodology/approachIn order to generate a comparative study between two Latin American countries, interviews were conducted with managers linked to continuous improvement in medium and large companies in the State of Puebla and the Metropolitan District of Quito, which are important areas in Mexico and Ecuador, respectively. Data were collected by means of document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and direct observation.FindingsCompanies in both countries identify the use of various techniques and/or tools for continuous improvement. The results of the empirical evidence show how the impact of the application of the techniques has been beneficial in economic and human terms. Thus, the exploratory study has permitted the identification of the drivers and inhibitors in the maintenance of continuous improvement.Research limitations/implicationsThe research is based on only two areas of the Latin American countries: Mexico and Ecuador. Their results can therefore not be generalized. The approach is applied in a specific environment, namely, the State of Puebla and the Metropolitan District of Quito. This study incorporates the perception of managers, directors, and/or supervisors involved in continuous improvement processes.Practical implicationsThis paper seeks to provide analytical input. The study is of great interest to researchers, managers, consultants, and professionals linked to projects of continuous improvement who wish to incorporate continuous improvement practices which are sustainable over time. A new managerial behavior is the basis of continuous improvement, where the training and development of the human resource increases the commitment to achieve organizational changes.Originality/valueThis research makes an empirical contribution to the literature through the understanding of practices of continuous improvement in a Latin American context, highlighting the factors that improve or impede the process of continuous improvement. Particularly in Mexico and Ecuador, the empirical evidence on this subject is still scarce despite the existence of theoretical academic literature.

Journal

The TQM JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 25, 2018

Keywords: Barriers; Practices; México; Benefits; Ecuador; Kaizen

References