Monthly Archives: February 2011

RESEARCH BRIEF: Incremental innovation and continuous improvement: Are they related?

by Johanna Madrigal
jmadriga@vt.edu

February 15, 2011. Dean and Bowen (1994) suggest that continuous improvement (CI) has been one of the largest advances in business management; actually there are few businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector that can ignore CI as a working philosophy; in the same situation we can find innovation which is also receiving a lot of attention as a tool for sustainable growth and competitive advantage (Tushman and Nadler, 1986); but are they related?

There are authors who have challenged if both approaches in business management can be found in the same organization due to the difference in their nature; for example, Maguire and Hagen (1999) argue that CI is not compatible with innovation, since CI is developed for managing quality meanwhile innovation is required to break all the standards to come with something new. As Prajogo and Sohal (2003) states, there is a concern about organizations having to choose between quality and innovation since being successful at both is not reachable.
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Hidden Lean Energy Savings: TPM and Rework

Bryan M. Stinnett, MS. Candidate
bryan70@vt.edu  

 

January 30, 2011. Energy costs play a major roll in the financial position of most companies. Energy costs are often hidden in overhead expenses. A poll performed by (NAM) or National Association of Manufacturers showed that management of small and medium size manufacturing companies believe higher energy costs are having a negative affect on their bottom line (EPA 2007). Manufacturing facilities are dependent on large amounts of machinery/equipment that operate with various sources of energy such as electricity, natural gas and fossil fuels. Manufacturing processes are not the only demand for energy. Transportation of their raw materials and the final product, also maintaining a commercial office space should be considered. In Figure 1 these factors are shown. Considering these areas, 78% of the energy consumed by major sectors of the U.S. economy directly affects most Industrial and manufacturing companies in the U.S. such as the Wood products industry.

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