Managing Company-Specific Production Systems: The Critical Success Factors for Implementation
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Multinational corporations, in their continuous pursuit to improve the productivity of their global manufacturing networks, increasingly develop and deploy lasting process improvement programmes. These improvement programmes often take the form of a company-specific production system (XPS); a variation of the Toyota Production System where also elements from other management systems are included. The Jotun Group is a multinational paint producer whom recently have developed their own XPS - Jotun Operations System (JOS) - and implemented this throughout their subsidiaries. They have however experienced varying degree of success with the implementation of JOS between plants and are curious to learn why this is the case.While there is a vast amount of literature investigating the critical success factors for the management systems which XPSs are based on, few studies have looked at the critical success factors for an integrated system such as an XPS. This have resulted in different perceptions on how to best implement XPSs and unanswered questions related to what managers should do to enhance and facilitate the implementation of an XPS in a best possible way. The purpose of this study is to increase the knowledge of how to implement an XPS. This is achieved by applying a mixed method approach where (1) survey data is used to test several hypotheses put forward based on existing theories and where (2) a comparative case study is used to acquire additional in-depth knowledge of how to manage XPSs. In the comparative case study Jotun?s subsidiaries in Saudi-Arabia, Norway and England are investigated.My findings suggest that the implementation of an XPS is a complex task, and that its success is dependent on the application of a range of interrelated factors. Some main determinants for the successful XPS implementation have however been detected. First of all, the role of leadership is found to play a monumental role for the successful implementation of an XPS. Management?s prolonged commitment to the implementation is essential for sustaining the initiatives and for achieving any change. Furthermore, managers need to be very conscious of the impact their involvement in the practical management of the XPS implementation has for its execution, and that its success is dependent on how and to what extent they are practical involved. The deployment and development of process improvement experts are found to play an essential role in organisations that are in their early stages of implementation and where the general level of knowledge and practical experience with improvements initiatives are low. In addition, organisations abilities to produce lasting changes when implementing an XPS are found to be highly dependent on local manager?s ability to lead the change processes.The application of the identified factors is also found to have a direct positive and significant impact on plant performance, and higher degrees of XPS implementation are found to be associated with higher plant performance.