Tools or traits : the path to successful continuous improvement implementation in a logistics environment

Wood, Lee Alexander (2015) Tools or traits : the path to successful continuous improvement implementation in a logistics environment. PhD thesis, University of Bolton.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the opportunities to improve the implementation of a Continuous Improvement (CI) culture supporting the success of logistics organisations of the future. It is based on the proposition that the manner in which individuals and organisations behave will form greater influence on the success of CI implementation programs than the use of recognised CI tools and techniques taught in the classroom. By definition CI covers wide-ranging themes and its applications are not tied specifically to projects; the literature review will explore how CI can be utilised to improve organisational performance evaluating synergies between CI and associated domains. Enablers and blockers to successful CI implementation programs will be examined leading to an understanding of the amalgam between soft and hard skills and their interactions. Reflective practice is the chosen approach to the PhD, underpinned with over twenty years’ experience of the researcher working with CI as part of their roles and responsibilities. The literature review provided a theoretical base, including the development of content for the semi-structured interviews deriving qualitative data in support of the thesis aims and objectives. This process supported additional unexpected outputs, discussed within the conclusions and recommendations sections. The over-riding domain of the thesis is CI Implementation; however this was broken down into Organisational Learning, Organisational Frames of Reference, Learning Organisations, Culture, Emotional Intelligence and Appreciative Inquiry with supplemental areas of Knowledge Management, Innovation and Trust. The taskorientated elements of CI tools and techniques are described, providing the reader with an overview of their use and potential value to organisations. Conclusions are drawn regarding the importance of successful CI implementation in logistics organisations. Recommendations are proposed as to how to improve CI implementation by reducing the potential for blockers to stall or ultimately prevent the process from operating as a self-sustaining business as usual activity. This is achieved through a blend of task, organisational and individual cultures working in unison. The main contribution of the thesis is the provision of a CI Implementation Model, developed through the thesis and detailed within Chapter 7. Further contributions to theory and practice are derived from the research undertaken, specifically targeting a cultural rather than task-orientated approach. These include; the wider CI community, Deutsche Post (DP) DHL community, methods and practice. Methods by which colleague engagement can be improved are identified from individual and organisational perspectives targeting discretionary effort of colleagues as a key measure of successful implementation of a CI culture.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of the dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University of Bolton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Divisions: Institute of Management > Bolton Business School
School of Creative Technologies > Games Computing and software engineering
University of Bolton Theses > Business
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2015 14:42
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2019 15:01
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/763

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