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Learning and continuous process improvement during new product development

Chatzimichali, Anna



Consumer attitudes and fashion trends during the last decades increased the need for varied product designs, imposing severe constraints in manufacturing and especially in traditionally mass production processes. Additionally, the workforce is shifting increasingly towards more cognitive and problem-solving tasks that are diffcult to automate. In this context, learning faster than competition is one of the most critical and sustainable advantages that firms can develop. The purpose of this study is to research the implications of the learning curve theory in todays' manufacturing systems. In this research, I attempt to pose some unstructured research questions and explore firsthand uncharted research territories. Based on an empirical study in ceramic tile manufacturing, I critically examine the learning curve theory in its potential to address current issues in an actual production environment. The challenge was to discover new potentials of the learning curve and highlight the details of the learning process in micro scale to reveal phenomena usually neglected in the literature. Quantitative insights from this study have led to a better understanding of the role of learning in modern production systems. In essence, this research reveals a missing link between the role of specific products and process improvement theories. As a result of this study, an integrative model of learning is proposed that takes under consideration both system dynamics and product idiosyncrasies.

Thesis Type Thesis
APA6 Citation Chatzimichali, A. Learning and continuous process improvement during new product development. (Thesis). Democritus University of Thrace