Multi-Plant Improvement Programmes: A Literature Review and Research Agenda
International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 34, Issue 1, 2014
36 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2013
Date Written: February 29, 2012
Purpose: To advance the productivity of all plants in the network, multinational corporations develop and deploy multi-plant improvement programmes. In this paper, we systematically review and synthesise the emerging literature on multi-plant improvement programmes.
Methodology: Through a systematic manual search, we examine fifteen top journals from operations management, general management and international business literature in the time span between 1998 and 2011.
Findings: We found 30 papers that specifically deal with operational improvement programmes in a multi-plant international setting, of which only nine take a headquarter perspective. This low number contrasts sharply with the magnitude and importance of such programmes in industry. We discuss key dimensions that explain how multi-plant improvement programmes result in the adopting, adapting, acting or avoiding of programme practices in subsidiaries, and propose a related research agenda.
Research implications: We affirm that a new field is in the making, with IJOPM as the leading professional journal. Further, more empirical research is called for, but particular methodological caution must be paid to the phenomenon of acting in subsidiaries.
Originality: No coherent stream of research has addressed multi-plant improvement programmes. This paper represents a focused review that supports the further development of the field.
Keywords: Improvement program, Production system, Process improvement, Global operations management, Lean
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