Critical success factors for sustaining continuous improvement at Blendcor-Durban.
Innovation and increased knowledge management are the outcomes of successful continuous improvement deployment in an organisation. Innovation is a key strategy for growing economies and industries to maintain a competitive advantage. Knowledge management is an enabler of innovation and is considered as “the heartbeat” of continuous improvement. Blendcor which is an oils and lubricants manufacturer located in Durban introduced continuous improvement in 2011 to comply with international standards in manufacturing. Whilst Blendcor is in the infancy phase of the improvement journey, after four years, the results have not met the targets set by the company. In order to understand the problem a qualitative study was conducted among the senior management team to identify the barriers inhibiting the sustainability of continuous improvement and the critical success factors required to overcome the barriers. A qualitative study was chosen in order to obtain rich data that would get to the heart of the problem and to understand how the leadership were implementing continuous improvement. Eight face-to-face interviews were conducted based on an open ended interview schedule. Follow-up questions were asked for clarity and to expand on points that were raised by the participants. The responses were captured verbatim and were input into NVIVO for analysis. A number of themes emerged from the study. The lack of leadership commitment, goal misalignment and improper change management were the critical barriers experienced by the organisation. The results have demonstrated that these factors have the greatest impact on the sustainability of continuous improvement in the organisation. The empirical findings provided a platform for recommendations to overcome these barriers. The alignment of goals, effective change management and competency are the critical factors highlighted to overcome the barriers mentioned. It is critical that the leadership team assess the current situation and act on the recommendations immediately. The benefits of an effective continuous improvement plan will ensure focus and clear objectives, saving time and resources.