Continuous improvement is a famous frequently used process in the sphere of management. In this paper, three articles about continuous management from the TQM Journal are chosen for the analysis. The authors of these articles demonstrate different approaches for the evaluation of the method and help to investigate it from different perspectives. For example, Becker and Glascoff (2014) explain that continuous improvement influences the sphere of leadership considerably and that the historical overview of Deming’s attempts to investigate the methods of quality improvement should help to clarify the issue. In their article, Knouse et al. (2009) focus on the possible impact of Deming’s ideas on the modern century and the necessity to consider such areas as customer satisfaction, professional accreditation, supply-side management, human errors, and business ethics. Finally, the article by Breja, Banwet and Iyer (2016) evaluates continuous improvement in terms of business sustainability demonstrated by several winning companies. Each article is the possibility to look at continuous improvement under different from a different angle and understand its importance in the field of management in a modern world.
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In the articles under analysis, the authors underline their findings and explain the goals of their investigations thoroughly. Breja, Banwet and Iyer (2016) explain that the implementation of TQM and the Deming Prize scheme could help many companies to understand the worth improvement by means of sustainability in excellence and strategic flexibility. Nowadays, many companies are ready to follow the suggestions of Edwards Deming to clarify the ways that are applicable in certain situations. Managers have to ask as many questions as possible in order to understand what achievements have been already noticed and what goals could be achieved in future. It is not always easy to accept the fact that improvement is the requirement that could save a company, and some managers have to take a long way to come to the right conclusion.
In comparison to the article written by Breja, Banwet and Iyer, the project offered by Knouse et al. (2009) demonstrates another approach to understanding the worth of continuous improvement. The authors admit that the improvement process cannot be neglected by both managers and leaders. In case managers help organizations to stay productive and sustainable (Knouse et al. 2009), leaders have to use continuous improvement as the means to inspire people and create the environment where contributions and success could be observed. The peculiar feature of this article is the recognition of leadership as a crucial part of development. Organizations cannot be improved and developed in case their leaders neglect the importance of motivation and inspiration. The authors find it necessary to consider the historical achievements and describe Deming’s steps during the post-Second World War period. Therefore, the main finding of the authors of this article is that continuous improvement requires effective leadership and the appropriate environment in terms of which managers could guide employees, and leaders could control the outcomes of their managers’ work.
Finally, the article by Becker and Glascoff (2014) is another approach to understand the importance and essence of continuous improvement and its effects on the quality of work and the development of employees. First, the authors introduce several important biographical facts about Deming and describe the points discussed by Deming about the necessity of quality improvement. As soon as the urgency of continuous improvement is proved, it is necessary to discover a new approach in terms of which improvement could be investigated. The authors use more than 130 articles to investigate the peculiarities of continuous improvement and find out the Deming’s method could be developed with the help of such techniques as the evaluation of customer satisfaction and understanding human errors in a working system.
This article proves that it is not enough to make managers and leaders believe in the importance of constant development and improvement. It is also necessary to create the conditions and clarify the reasons for why different spheres of business could be in need of certain improvement. For example, supply chain management aims at encompassing such processes as planning and management of all activities including sourcing and logistics (Becker & Glascoff 2014). According to Deming, it is obligatory for companies to improve supply chain management and use the opportunity to establish long-term relations with suppliers and other stakeholders. Continuous improvement promotes the possibility to consider the possible changes, required innovations, and expectations of the parties in the current process.
In general, three articles chosen for the analysis explain the importance of continuous improvement in management. Leaders, managers, and ordinary employees are involved in this process in case they want to succeed in their business and introduce the required portion of services and products. In the modern world, it is hard to stay competitive and sustainable at the same time. Therefore, continuous improvement is the method that helps people identify their weaknesses and turn them into their strengths. Though this method was developed several decades ago, the authors of the articles prove its urgency and effectiveness today.
Becker, CM & Glascoff, MA 2014, ‘Process measures: a leadership tool for management’, The TQM Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 50-62.
Breja, SK, Banwet, DK & Iyer, KC 2016, ‘Towards sustainable excellence: strategic analysis of Deming prize winning companies’, The TQM Journal, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 390-410.
Knouse, SB, Carson, PP, Carson, KD & Heady, RB 2009, ‘Improve constantly and forever’, The TQM Journal, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 449-461.