The History of Research in the Key Concepts of Continuous Improvement

There are triple factors to achieving continuous improvement in industries that are presented in Figure 1.3.

Triple factors for continuous improvement

FIGURE 1.3 Triple factors for continuous improvement.

The History of Research in Productivity for Industrial Products Manufacturing

The best definition given for productivity divides the concept into two distinct phenomena, one is qualitative and the other one is quantitative in nature: i.e., availability and profitability. Of course, in a great number of industries or firms, the combination of efficiency and effectiveness has been offered as the definition of productivity (Plag, 2006). Customers nowadays judge organizations more and more on the basis of “how” these organizations have produced the products on offer. This “how” applies to a wide range of factors affecting the overall quality of the process including not only the quality of the goods/ processes but also the quality in relation to the environment, workers, and ethical standards considered in terms of productivity. Some countries, like New Zealand, Australia, France, Holland, Denmark, Spain, and Great Britain have developed and started to draft national standards on Integrated Management Systems (IMS). However, there are some elements such as structure, size, and economic sector that may play a decisive role in influencing whether an organization decides to integrate systems and what are the breadth or depth of this integration. The comprehensive research in Italy has illustrated that the firms’ desire to reduce the costs and time has compelled them to manage the triple systems of ISO9001, ISO14001, and OHSAS 18001. This means that the firms in the countries named above, especially in Italy have a strong desire toward productivity in manufacturing industrial products (Salomone, 2008). A research study has investigated the important role of some of the main domains of industrial engineering for productivity, for the first time. A schematic representation of the findings of this research project is given in Figure 1.4 (Karimi Gavareshki et al., 2018).

In this research project, the percentage of the impact of QET on productivity has been determined to be at 69.00%.

Five key factors in industrial engineering field that have impacts on productivity

FIGURE 1.4 Five key factors in industrial engineering field that have impacts on productivity.

The History of Research in Sustainability for Industrial Products Manufacturing

The best definition of sustainability is the one concerned with confining human activities within the carrying capacity of the ecosystem (e.g., materials, energy, land, and water, etc.) that prevail in a locality placing emphasis on the quality of human life (air quality, human health). Moreover, economic sustainability considers the efficient use of resources to enhance operational profits and maximize market values. It also deals with substituting natural resources for manmade ones, reusing, and recycling. However, social sustainability focuses on the social well-being of the populace, balancing the need of an individual with the need for the group (equity), public awareness, and cohesion as well as participation and utilization of local labor and firms. It is acknowledged that the approach to sustainability differs depending on the field of application: Engineering, management, ecology, etc., to give some examples. Sustainability assessment is an appraisal method for evaluating the implementation level of sustainability measures. The sustainability assessment results are to be used for decision-making and policy formulation in real-world applications (Olawumi and Chan, 2018).

To deal with the increasing complexities of industries, a set of new methods have been developed to overcome the limitations of traditional methods. The statistical and stochastic approaches to production systems, the forecasting, heuristic and structural equations models, the black box, gray box and leveling methods, the fuzzy networks and maturity models are some of the new generation “tools” available to managers for retrieving information from what seemed to be a chaotic and impenetrable field of research. A brief revision of the literature shows the external applicability of maturity models. Specifically concerning organizational issues and quality management systems (QMS), it should be mentioned that is the one maturity approach adopted by the European Foundation for Quality Management Models. A potential maturity assessment guide on externalities is presented in a table where successful sustainability forms one of its most important ingredients. It can be concluded that establishing the maturity model has brought about the sustainability of industrial products manufacturing (Domingues et al., 2016).

The important role of some of the main domains of industrial engineering in sustainability has been studied for the first time in the research project presented in Figure 1.5 (Karimi Gavareshki et ah, 2018).

The percentage of the impact of QET on sustainability in this research project has been determined to be at 69.44%.

The History of Research in Added Values for Industrial Products Manufacturing

Over the recent decades, the issues concerning added values in business and economics sectors have been investigated. Added value analysis in business processes focuses on surveying the costs of the entire value chain, for example from receiving product orders to dispatching the output to the customer. The analysis strictly differentiates between the costs incurred for generating added values and costs of

Four key factors in industrial engineering field that have impacts on sustainability

FIGURE 1.5 Four key factors in industrial engineering field that have impacts on sustainability.

Relationship between EVA and BPVA

FIGURE 1.6 Relationship between EVA and BPVA.

non-productive procedure e.g., non-value-added activities and processes. In other words, economic value added (EVA) primarily concentrates on the costs of capital employed. While business processes value added (BPVA) focuses on the cost of complex value chain continuous time. The relationship between EVA and BPVA is presented in Figure 1.6 (Rajnoha et al., 2012).

A Summary of the Research History

As can be seen in the literature research section of this book, there are many types of researches dealing with applying QET, both statistical and non-statistical. Moreover, the concepts of productivity or sustainability based on added values has been investigated seriously, especially in the domains of economic issues and business processes.

1.4.1 Innovation and Creativity in This Research: A Description

The first and foremost innovation of this research is establishing a process-oriented model of QET in three types of processes in industrial products manufacturing. The appropriate statistical and non-statistical techniques are also observed in each of these processes. The second innovation is the definitions furnished for action plans for developing added values in relevant processes. The third innovation is establishing a verification path for this model in the determined scope. The fourth innovation is the calculations made of the total score of productivity and sustainability for the industry under study (determined scope) both before and after implementing the model.


  • 1.1. What are the main specifications of QET that should be considered by researchers? Can you form an assessment matrix between QET and productivity/sustainability?
  • 1.2. What are the main domains of supply chain management (SCM) that might be generally considered? Can you form an assessment matrix between SCM and productivity/sustainability?
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