Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

continuous improvement Related Publications

5 Building the Professional Readiness of Graduates from Day One: An Empirical Approach to Curriculum Continuous Improvement

Authors: Sitalakshmi Venkatraman, Fiona Wahr

Abstract:

Industry employers require new graduates to bring with them a range of knowledge, skills and abilities which mean these new employees can immediately make valuable work contributions. These will be a combination of discipline and professional knowledge, skills and abilities which give graduates the technical capabilities to solve practical problems whilst interacting with a range of stakeholders. Underpinning the development of these disciplines and professional knowledge, skills and abilities, are “enabling” knowledge, skills and abilities which assist students to engage in learning. These are academic and learning skills which are essential to common starting points for both the learning process of students entering the course as well as forming the foundation for the fully developed graduate knowledge, skills and abilities. This paper reports on a project created to introduce and strengthen these enabling skills into the first semester of a Bachelor of Information Technology degree in an Australian polytechnic. The project uses an action research approach in the context of ongoing continuous improvement for the course to enhance the overall learning experience, learning sequencing, graduate outcomes, and most importantly, in the first semester, student engagement and retention. The focus of this is implementing the new curriculum in first semester subjects of the course with the aim of developing the “enabling” learning skills, such as literacy, research and numeracy based knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). The approach used for the introduction and embedding of these KSAs, (as both enablers of learning and to underpin graduate attribute development), is presented. Building on previous publications which reported different aspects of this longitudinal study, this paper recaps on the rationale for the curriculum redevelopment and then presents the quantitative findings of entering students’ reading literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills degree as well as their perceived research ability. The paper presents the methodology and findings for this stage of the research. Overall, the cohort exhibits mixed KSA levels in these areas, with a relatively low aggregated score. In addition, the paper describes the considerations for adjusting the design and delivery of the new subjects with a targeted learning experience, in response to the feedback gained through continuous monitoring. Such a strategy is aimed at accommodating the changing learning needs of the students and serves to support them towards achieving the enabling learning goals starting from day one of their higher education studies.

Keywords: continuous improvement, student retention, enabling skills, embedded learning support

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4 Knowledge Transfer among Cross-Functional Teams as a Continual Improvement Process

Authors: Juan Manuel Peña Aguilar, Luis Rodrigo Valencia Pérez, Sergio Mauricio Pérez López, Adelina Morita Alexander

Abstract:

The culture of continuous improvement in organizations is very important as it represents a source of competitive advantage. This article discusses the transfer of knowledge between companies which formed cross-functional teams and used a dynamic model for knowledge creation as a framework. In addition, the article discusses the structure of cognitive assets in companies and the concept of "stickiness" (which is defined as an obstacle to the transfer of knowledge). The purpose of this analysis is to show that an improvement in the attitude of individual members of an organization creates opportunities, and that an exchange of information and knowledge leads to generating continuous improvements in the company as a whole. This article also discusses the importance of creating the proper conditions for sharing tacit knowledge. By narrowing gaps between people, mutual trust can be created and thus contribute to an increase in sharing. The concept of adapting knowledge to new environments will be highlighted, as it is essential for companies to translate and modify information so that such information can fit the context of receiving organizations. Adaptation will ensure that the transfer process is carried out smoothly by preventing "stickiness". When developing the transfer process on cross-functional teams (as opposed to working groups), the team acquires the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to meet objectives. These types of cross-functional teams also generate synergy due to the array of different work backgrounds of their individuals. When synergy is established, a culture of continuous improvement is created.

Keywords: Teamwork, knowledge transfer, continuous improvement, cognitive assets

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3 Towards a Competence Management Approach Based on Continuous Improvement

Authors: N. Sefiani, C. Fikri Benbrahim, A. Boumane, K. Reklaoui

Abstract:

Nowadays, the reflection on competence management is the basic for new competitive strategies. It is considered as the core of the problems of the global supply chain. It interact a variety of actors: information, physical and activities flows, etc. Even though competence management is seen as the key factor for any business success, the existing approaches demonstrate the deficiencies and limitations of the competence concept. This research has two objectives: The first is to make a contribution by focusing on the development of a competence approach, based on continuous improvement. It allows the enterprise to spot key competencies, mobilize them in order to serve its strategic objectives and to develop future competencies. The second is to propose a method to evaluate the Level of Collective Competence. The approach was confirmed through an application carried out at an automotive company.

Keywords: Competencies, approach, continuous improvement, performance indicator, collective competence level

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2 A Methodology for Quality Problems Diagnosis in SMEs

Authors: Humberto N. Teixeira, Isabel S. Lopes, Sérgio D. Sousa

Abstract:

This article proposes a new methodology to be used by SMEs (Small and Medium enterprises) to characterize their performance in quality, highlighting weaknesses and area for improvement. The methodology aims to identify the principal causes of quality problems and help to prioritize improvement initiatives. This is a self-assessment methodology that intends to be easy to implement by companies with low maturity level in quality. The methodology is organized in six different steps which includes gathering information about predetermined processes and subprocesses of quality management, defined based on the well-known Juran-s trilogy for quality management (Quality planning, quality control and quality improvement) and, predetermined results categories, defined based on quality concept. A set of tools for data collecting and analysis, such as interviews, flowcharts, process analysis diagrams and Failure Mode and effects Analysis (FMEA) are used. The article also presents the conclusions obtained in the application of the methodology in two cases studies.

Keywords: Quality management, Diagnosis, SMEs, Self-Assessment, continuous improvement

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1 Applying 5S Lean Technology: An Infrastructure for Continuous Process Improvement

Authors: Raid A. Al-Aomar

Abstract:

This paper presents an application of 5S lean technology to a production facility. Due to increased demand, high product variety, and a push production system, the plant has suffered from excessive wastes, unorganized workstations, and unhealthy work environment. This has translated into increased production cost, frequent delays, and low workers morale. Under such conditions, it has become difficult, if not impossible, to implement effective continuous improvement studies. Hence, the lean project is aimed at diagnosing the production process, streamlining the workflow, removing/reducing process waste, cleaning the production environment, improving plant layout, and organizing workstations. 5S lean technology is utilized for achieving project objectives. The work was a combination of both culture changes and tangible/physical changes on the shop floor. The project has drastically changed the plant and developed the infrastructure for a successful implementation of continuous improvement as well as other best practices and quality initiatives.

Keywords: Kaizen, continuous improvement, Lean Technology, Work Methods, Work Standards

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