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A framework for process change

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2 Author(s)
Carrillo, J.E. ; Warrington Coll. of Bus., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA ; Gaimon, C.

Forces such as technology change and increased competition provide opportunities and challenges that drive a firm to continuously evaluate and modify its resource capabilities. As a consequence, a firm's process change strategy is of paramount importance for sustained manufacturing success. However, fundamental elements of process change strategy are not well understood. Long term performance benefits associated with potential process change alternatives are often unclear. Moreover, uncertainty exists regarding the actual benefits that may be attained from various types of process change. Critical issues impacting the proper implementation of process change are frequently underestimated or largely ignored. Therefore, despite the improved performance sought, process change often leads to lower productivity, excessive equipment downtime, and deterioration in quality. As the authors review the relevant empirical and normative literature, a framework emerges that characterizes the salient features of a firm's process change strategy. The underlying dynamics of process change are explored and strategies are discussed to reduce the short-term disruption and enhance the long-term gain. In particular, the authors demonstrate the importance of creating and applying knowledge to improve the outcome of process change. They describe managerial actions that can be taken to reduce various sources of uncertainty associated with process change. Moreover, they identify key contributions as well as limitations of the existing normative literature on process change. Insights from the empirical literature are given that both support elements of the existing normative models and provide direction for future normative research. Thus, the authors seek to aid practicing managers and researchers alike to better understand the full scope and implications of process change.

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 4 )