Continuous improvement (CI) has been developed so far mainly within single companies, but today competition is moving to the level of extended manufacturing enterprises (EMEs). This paper proposes a model of collaborative improvement (CoI), i.e. CI at the EME level, developed and tested through an action research process in the aerospace industry in Italy. CoI is described in terms of organization—partially derived from consolidated CI concepts— and process—a cyclical sequence of phases, derived from the PDCA (plan, do, check, act) cycle of CI. Similarities and differences with CI are discussed, in the light of the successful implementation in a real case. CoI, in particular during its first implementation, is more likely to be structured and directive instead of emergent and spontaneous. A project structure is needed, at least at the beginning, and specific attention should be devoted to the alignment of the goals of the various companies involved. The EME dimension of CoI allows one to exploit the experience of all the companies of the learning network, disclosing a higher potential for improvement compared to CI.

Collaborative improvement in the extended manufacturing enterprise: lessons from an action research process

CAGLIANO, RAFFAELLA;CANIATO, FEDERICO FRANCESCO ANGELO;CORSO, MARIANO;SPINA, GIANLUCA
2005

Abstract

Continuous improvement (CI) has been developed so far mainly within single companies, but today competition is moving to the level of extended manufacturing enterprises (EMEs). This paper proposes a model of collaborative improvement (CoI), i.e. CI at the EME level, developed and tested through an action research process in the aerospace industry in Italy. CoI is described in terms of organization—partially derived from consolidated CI concepts— and process—a cyclical sequence of phases, derived from the PDCA (plan, do, check, act) cycle of CI. Similarities and differences with CI are discussed, in the light of the successful implementation in a real case. CoI, in particular during its first implementation, is more likely to be structured and directive instead of emergent and spontaneous. A project structure is needed, at least at the beginning, and specific attention should be devoted to the alignment of the goals of the various companies involved. The EME dimension of CoI allows one to exploit the experience of all the companies of the learning network, disclosing a higher potential for improvement compared to CI.
Extended manufacturing enterprise; Continuous improvement; Inter-firm collaboration
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/555059
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