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Core process management practices, quality tools and quality improvement in ISO 9001 certified manufacturing companies

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to determine, first, the level to which ISO 9001 certified manufacturing companies adopt process management and improve quality, second, the latent factors of process management and quality improvement, and finally, the relationships between the latent factors extracted. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A research project was carried out in 196 ISO 9001 certified manufacturing companies operating in Greece. A structured questionnaire was designed and pilot tested and then addressed to management representatives of the companies. Descriptive statistics were used in order to determine the level of process management adoption and the level of quality improvement. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were also applied to extract the latent factors of process management and quality improvement and to assess their reliability and validity. The relationships between the latent factors were determined through structural equation modelling. Findings ‐ Two latent factors were extracted with respect to process management (the core process management practices and the supporting quality tools) and one latent factor with respect to quality improvement. The findings revealed that the ISO 9001 certified manufacturing companies implement to a high degree of the core process management practices, in contrast to the supporting quality tools. Notwithstanding, significant quality improvement is achieved. According to the structural model, the core process management practices have a strong, positive and direct effect on quality improvement. The supporting quality tools have an indirect effect on quality improvement through their significant correlation with the core process management practices. Originality/value ‐ This paper describes a reliable and valid model that analyzes process management in two latent factors (the core process management practices and the supporting quality tools). The model also depicts the effects of these latent factors on quality improvement of ISO 9001 certified manufacturing companies.

Keywords: Greece; ISO 9000 series; Manufacturing industries; Process management; Quality improvement

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14637151111136360

Publication date: June 7, 2011

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