• Prioritisation of operations improvement projects in the European manufacturing industry.

      Kirkham, Louis; Garza-Reyes, Jose Arturo; Kumar, Vikas; Antony, Ji; Rolls Royce Plc; University of Derby; University of the West of England; Heriot-Watt University (Taylor and Francis, 2014-04-07)
      To improve their competitive ability, organisations are turning towards implementing improvements into their operations and processes. Whilst operations improvement projects are often identified with relative ease, resource constraints limit the ability of organisations to conduct them simultaneously. This paper supports the limited empirical research on prioritisation of improvement initiatives by investigating how European manufacturing organisations conduct this activity. To do this, four hypotheses and two research questions were formulated and tested using a combination of descriptive statistics and two proportion T-tests, while data was collected through a survey questionnaire responded by 203 organisations. The results highlight the importance of objectively prioritising improvement projects and establish that the adoption of this method increases through the implementation of improvement methodologies, especially those that stipulate the use of objective methods towards project prioritisation. In this way, Six Sigma is defined as the most influential improvement methodology for supporting the use of objective prioritisation approaches. The paper also identifies the reasons as to why organisations adopt subjective over objective prioritisation methods, and the most common approaches used by large organisations and small and medium enterprises. This research provides organisations, and their managers, with a better understanding of the different factors that affect this key aspect of operations improvement projects.