Research Model and Hypotheses
On the basis of the three underlying characteristics of Kaizen (as described in Section 1.2), a theoretical model was developed to support the study. This model represents the relationships between shop floor management tools, improvement implementation and improvement outcomes (Figure 1.3).
Figure 1.3 The preliminary theoretical model for the current study
Following this model, three hypotheses were investigated:
H1. The building block shop floor management tools have positive effects on the improvement practices.
H2. The two improvement practices are mutually supportive.
H3. The two improvement practices have positive effects on the long-term outcomes.
The Overview of the Research Method
The study was conducted in NCR Delhi region, India. A survey was done to collect data from ten Indo-Japanese automotive joint ventures. A questionnaire was developed from previous research (Lillrank and Kano, 1989; Farris, 2006). The questionnaire included questions that measured: the use of shop floor management tools; the implementation of Teians and QCCs; and improvement outcomes. These questions were later translated into Hindi. They were piloted with 10 shop floor workers and adapted to suite the Indian context. In total, 1000 copies of the questionnaires were distributed,100 copies to each organization, of which 488 samples were returned, giving a response rate of 48.8%.
After completing the data collection, Path Analysis (Wright, 1960), a subset of structural equation modelling (SEM) (Kline, 2005), was adopted to develop and analyse the structural path models from the quantitative data. AMOS (Analysis of Moment Structures) (Arbuckle, 2007), a package within the IBM SPSS family (IBM, 2010), was selected to perform these analyses and estimations.
Outline of the Dissertation
Chapter 2 reviews the different forms of process improvement that have been implemented in the automotive industry. It explains the implementation of the Japanese Kaizen, and compares and contrasts Kaizen to other improvement practices. It also goes to critically evaluate the previous researches concerning the problems, issues and challenges of sustaining continuous improvement.
Chapter 3 introduces Lean shop floor management and highlights its building block tools. Specifically, this chapter critically evaluates the relationship between each of these building block tools and their implementation procedures to facilitate and sustain long-term continuous improvement.
Chapter 4 discusses the selection of the research sites. It provides a brief historical review of the Indian automotive industry and automotive joint ventures in NCR Delhi. The chapter also describes about the companies selected for this research and their selection criteria, and shows the development of the theoretical model and the research hypotheses.
Chapter 5 describes the research design and research methodology. It discusses the choice of the survey strategy and the use of SEM for data analysis.
Chapter 6 explains the data collection procedures, the process of data screening and explains the procedures for examining and validating the reliability of the factor constructs from the data set.
Chapter 7 explains the use of the SEM path analysis for the hypotheses testing. It elaborates the steps to develop the SEM models, to generate model estimations, and to test the model’s reliability. It also lists the results eminating from the final models and the applications of these results to test the hypotheses.
Chapter 8 presents threadbare analysis and interpretations of the findings. It lists the data obtained from the case companies and evaluates the relationships between the building block shop floor management tools, the two aforesaid improvement practices and the outcomes.
Chapter 9 explains the conclusions of the research and provides answers to the research questions. It also lists the limitations of the current study and provides scope for future research.