Management Practices for Processes Optimization: Case of Slovenia

Management Practices for Processes Optimization: Case of Slovenia

Zlatko Nedelko (University of Maribor, Slovenia) and Vojko Potocan (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0130-5.ch025


The main purpose of this paper is to examine utilization of management practices in Slovenian industrial organizations. The focus is on examination of the level of utilization of management practices in industrial organizations and comparison to the level and pattern of use with Slovenian organizations in services. The paper discusses the role and importance of typical industrial practices for processes optimization and processes outcomes. Research results reveal that employees in industrial organizations significantly more use management practice to support their processes then those employees working in services organizations. Also the pattern of management practices utilization in industrial and service organizations is rather different. The sample for this study includes 357 responses from employees in Slovenian organizations. In discussion we addressed the link between management practices and processes optimizations, while in practical implications are outlined suggestions how to use management practices in order to improve performance of industrial processes.
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In current economic conditions, processes improvement has become an important research stream, which help organizations retain and/or increase their competitiveness (Slavicek, 2011; Dumas et al., 2013; Sinur et al., 2013). In frame of possible utilization of management practices that are available to managers in order to improve processes in organizations, management has a plethora of available practices that can be utilized in order to optimize organizational processes. Those practices can improve processes in general, such are, for instance, lean production, business process reengineering, six sigma, supply chain management and processes, as well as practices that enhance innovativeness such as collaborative innovation, as well as customer or supplier relationship management (Dabic et al., 2013; Nedelko & Potocan, 2013).

Literature and business practice reveal that a lot of management practices, which can support and improve organizational processes, have been developed and successfully utilized in organizations in the last decades (Rue & Byars, 1992; Van Assen et al., 2009; Rigby, 2011; Potocan & Dabić, 2012). Furthermore, literature speaks a lot about management practices, whereas the focus is on most known and used practices, like outsourcing, strategic planning, total quality management, lean production, and customer segmentation (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994; Tamosiuniene & Jasilioniene, 2007; Ooi et al., 2012). Those studies usually consider several selected practices, while studies, including majority of the most frequently used practices are rare (Rigby, 2001; Rigby & Bilodeau, 2009), and dealing mainly with explaining those practices and level of their utilization.

Management literature in Central and East Europe, focused on issues about improving, optimizing and developing businesses, is abundant (Kiezun, 1991; Newman, 2000; Sarotar-Zizek et al., 2013). But, the role and importance of management practices for business, especially about their meaning for optimization of production and process improvement are seldom considered (Potocan & Dabić, 2012; Dabic et al., 2013).

Thus, there is a significant lack of the evidences about utilization of different management practices in industrial organizations, backed up with a concrete and comprehensive report about the level of management practices utilization for industrial organizations. Studies usually report about utilization of management practices together for organizations in various industries (Rigby, 2001; Rigby & Bilodeau, 2009, 2011; Dabic et al., 2013). Furthermore, the role of typical management practices for supporting industrial processes is not often considered, as well as the link between utilization of several management practices and process outcomes are seldom considered. Thus, the literature does not provide a satisfactory answer about the level of management practice utilization in industrial organizations and explain their effect on the process optimization and process outcomes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Manufacturing Management Practices: Typical management practices aimed to support optimization of processes in industrial organizations, like total quality management, six sigma, and lean operations.

Process Optimization: The improvement and/or optimization of processes.

Industrial Organizations: Those organizations which are operating in the industry and their main activities are related to manufacturing products.

Management Practices: An entity of instruments to support implementation of concepts and ideas at all levels of conceptualization and realization of concepts, ultimately aiming to support organizational processes.

Process: A set of interrelated activities in order to obtain a result.

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