Keywords: research and development (R&, D), continuous improvement (CI), quality management, quality management system
Application of Integrated Quality Management Systems to promote CI and learning in R&D organisations
The central theme of this paper is to establish an improved understanding of the nature of Continuous Improvement (CI) in R&D organisations and to provide key concepts for analysing CI practices within the scope of an Integrated Quality Management System. In particular, the paper looks at the management processes used to capture project and process learning and how this learning can be used in practice for further improvements. Case studies reported here exemplify that CI and quality enabling factors have been inseparably linked. It was concluded that the CI process within R&D can have an influence at three levels: project, process and strategic. In each of these levels, CI enabling mechanisms have been identified and the functioning of these within an Integrated Quality Management System are discussed.