Keywords: quality improvement tools, improvement toolbox, improvement survey
A study of the use and effects of quality improvement tools
This paper describes a study with the objectives of understanding which quality improvement tools produce the best effects in given situations. Enterprises were asked to provide experiences with different improvement tools. In the analysis of the survey data, improvement was defined as a function of: (1) actions, (2) variable attributes of the improvement situation, and (3) non-variable attributes of the enterprise. A correlation analysis was undertaken that revealed many findings. Several very strong correlation factors were found linking some of these three factors to improvement results achieved. Six different mechanisms of interplay between factors were identified, which seemed to govern the improvement outcome. Finally, a ranking of the tools was established based on the improvement effects. These findings were merged into one improvement toolbox, presenting enterprises with guidelines about which tools to select and how to apply them to maximise the probability for success.