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Making sense of opportunities in building material production
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
2015 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 1754-2731, E-ISSN 1754-274X, Vol. 27, no 6, 781-797 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – Breakthrough improvement requires management decisions, which indicates that making sense of existing opportunities is important. This is a particular challenge when the improvement is a possibility and not a problem. The purpose of this paper is to propose the practice of doing an Opportunity Study as the way to create a sense of management urgency for realising dormant possibilities.

Design/methodology/approach – A process-based Opportunity Study is presented consisting of a Diagnosing-Analysing-Solving (DAS) approach. Benchmarks are defined and compared with the actual performance resulting in a quantifiable improvement potential (D). Main causes are analysed (A), which leads to proposed solutions (S). The Opportunity Study practice is applied to a cement milling process, a cement plant and a supply network for cement-based building products.

Findings – Results indicate that applying DAS methodology highlights realisable opportunities in all of the studied cases. This seems to be a necessary, but not sufficient criterion to create a sense of urgency for facts based change.

Research limitations/implications – The results indicate that there is need for further research for looking at the process of sense making and to what extent facts alone can drive change initiatives.

Practical implications – Results indicate that by a simple review, focusing on what a system can do instead of which the problems are, valuable opportunities for improvement could be detected.

Originality/value – The paper highlights the value of focusing on opportunities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 27, no 6, 781-797 p.
Keyword [en]
Opportunity Study, Process-based systems, Process dimension, Process model
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267291OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-267291DiVA: diva2:872628
Available from: 2015-11-19 Created: 2015-11-19 Last updated: 2016-01-07

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