A critical review of Operations Excellence programs : a petrochemical company as case study
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Operations improvement methodologies have been adopted by manufacturing companies since the early 20th century. Japanese manufacturers were able to offer products of high quality and efficient production costs through systems such as Lean. Manufacturers in the West soon adopted systems of their own thereafter. Operations Excellence is a generic term used to describe such systems, and can be described as a management system delivering competitiveness through the continuous improvement of operational performance. This study provides a critical review of the implementation of an Operations Excellence program by examining the system adopted by a petrochemical company in South Africa. The review allowed the implementation shortcomings to be identified so that resolutions could be suggested, thus facilitating successful utilisation of the system. An evaluation of Operations Excellence programs utilised globally and at the case study organisation was carried out as part of a literature study. This research included the critical success factors and lessons learnt from the systems employed by others. Experimental field work was carried out to allow the critical evaluation of the implementation in the case study. The experimental method utilised a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection. The primary research instrument was a questionnaire designed to examine the degree in which critical success factors and Operations Excellence requirements were present in the organisation. The implementation shortcomings were successfully identified through the experimental work undertaken. These shortcomings, together with the review of the available literature on Operations Excellence, allowed for the proposition of recommendations with the objective of successful utilisation of Operations Excellence programs for large enterprises.
- Engineering