بهبود تکنولوژی و کیفیت در شرکت های مکزیکی : چند مقایسه بین المللی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|454||2000||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Quality Management, Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2000, Pages 119–137
This paper focuses on selected initiatives oriented towards technological improvements of performance in Mexican companies and betterment of the quality of Mexican products. These aspects are examined quantitatively and qualitatively. Data on research and development (R&D) and education expenditures, indicators of infrastructure development, technology adoption rates, and level of skills, and features of corporate and national cultures are used in analyses. Two restructuring approaches—Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and Total Quality Management (TQM)—are explored from the perspective of their applicability to Mexican conditions. It is observed that substantial problems can be expected when implementing them in Mexico when trying to improve quality and technological indicators of performance. Some suggestions regarding restructuring procedures are outlined.
Although, empirical tests have not been conclusive regarding specific means through which technological change impacts on economic performance, technology is regarded as a driving force behind gains in quality and competitive position, both at the macro- and micro-economic level. Technological change is fostering competitive advantage (for example, flexibility in response to marketplace challenges) while undermining the importance of traditional resources, such as low-cost labour and availability of raw materials, which frequently helped economies sustain growth in the past. Currently, ISO/QS certification is often required to establish or keep cooperation links. Yet, quality and technology should be viewed in a broad perspective that encompasses social acceptance and understanding, infrastructure and economic conditions surrounding business operations, as well as legal and competitive pressures, which force companies to excel and be innovative. Cost (price) may be, according to d'Aveni and Gunther (1994), irrelevant if quality requirements are not satisfied. Furthermore, there are currently “pervasive long-term trends that will have broad implications for the future productive performance” (Berger et al., 1989, pp. 45–46), i.e., an increase in international industrial cooperation and the resulting increases in the mobility of technologies, technological change and increased sophistication of consumers. These patterns are likely to continue to impact on the competitive position of those who develop technology and those who can absorb it efficiently. These unable to perform either of these tasks are left behind in terms of economic progress. Not surprisingly, therefore, questions of technology development and acquisition, along with its adoption and diffusion, are of immediate interest to scientists, managers, and politicians. A critical link between technology and the economy exists: the only real choice is whether one wants to see it. Inheritance is of lesser importance than the ability to create factors of competitiveness (Porter, 1990), and irrespective of whether or not one accepts similarities between company type and national type competitiveness (Krugman, 1994). The objective of this paper is to explore the ability of Mexican companies to absorb modern approaches related to technology and quality improvements. Possible implementation problems and means for betterment are presented. Selected aspects pertinent to technological restructuring of Mexican companies are discussed. Based on the examination of: - quantitative conditions for technology improvement initiatives (e.g., items related to National Innovation Systems (NIS)), - qualitative conditions for technology improvement initiatives (e.g., the level of infrastructure development, industrial practices, and the rate of technology adoption), and - cultural conditions, the competitiveness of the Mexican economy is explored in detail through a comparison of its respective indicators to those in other countries. The first two sets of indicators are evaluated through the analysis of statistical data and ranking of Mexico according to the World Competitiveness Report (1995, 1997). The possibility of using new technologies, in particular, person-embodied technologies (Kedia & Bhagat, 1988), is examined with the use of culture characteristics as presented by Hofstede's (1991) indices. Radical, dramatic, fundamental, and comprehensive technological changes are frequently needed in Mexican companies. Thus, two restructuring approaches are explored in more details: Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Process Reengineering (BPR). Their principles are outlined highlighting major assumptions, implementation procedures, and the congruency of their underpinnings to the Mexican context. Restructuring of Mexican companies is not unusual, yet, most often, it takes place in these companies, which either cooperate with foreign companies or which operate internationally. To a substantial number of firms protected by specific Mexican market rules, issues of quality and efficiency are quite alien. The basics of BPR and TQM need to be reformulated to fit the specifics of Mexican cultural, social, and financial conditions. Certainly, other methodologies customarily used for technological/quality restructuring, such as Strategic Management (SM) and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) are relevant, but may not offer a quick fix to Mexican's reality.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The daunting problem for Mexican companies—and, indeed, companies that operate in a country rich in people and resources—is the comparatively low level of technological and quality performance. If current industrial practices are not reassessed, the existing gap between the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’ is likely to broaden and the dedication of a few local specialists and some foreign investment may not suffice to ameliorate the situation. Moreover, beyond organisational arrangements, a number of cultural prerequisites are required for BPR/TQM projects to succeed. Modifications to these approaches are essential before they can be used in Mexican environment, because underpinnings of these concepts differ in the context from which these methods originated. TQM and BPR may be regarded as useful approaches to technological/quality-oriented restructuring. They propose different perspectives in problem formulation and suggest opposite solutions: training vs. education; ‘life employment’ vs. hiring/firing as needed; teamwork vs. coordination of activities; job specialisation vs. a combination of jobs; emphasis on control vs. reduction of check points; job rotation vs. job enrichment; compensation based on seniority vs. compensation based on activity and results. Concurrently, however, these methods offer some common solutions: workers' empowerment, a change of values from protective to productive, managers as coaches, flatter organisational structures, executives as leaders instead of storekeepers, etc. These approaches may supplement one another. Implementation of BPR may lead to a revolutionary change: TQM may be recommended in order to continue changes initiated by BPR. Following from the current analyses, the following may be expected. ⋅ Implementation of technology and quality improvement solutions in Mexico will be hampered by attitudes, power struggles within companies, and, generally, a low level of understanding of quality imperatives in the contemporary business. The same problems may not be clearly visible when ISO standards are implemented—these seem to be more imminent and their use can be forced within mechanic structures. ⋅ Basics of TQM/BPR need to be reformulated to fit the specifics of Mexican cultural, social, and financial conditions. In particular, assurance of participation, ability to base decision on facts, and continuity of changes may be critical. These requirements call, however, for specific organisational cultures, which may be somewhat alien within the Mexican cultural environment. ⋅ Implementation of quality improvement oriented projects should be accompanied by training sessions both for top and line management. Such an initiative is expected to assure stronger support during the stage of design and implementation. Understanding by top management of the benefits of and the need for long-term orientation may be critical. Training sessions should be regarded a process rather than a one-time event. ⋅ Emphasis should be put on results visible in the early stages of the project implementation (an item difficult to achieve in TQM projects) in order to strengthen support for change. ⋅ Keeping in mind Mexican specificity, a change towards quality excellence may be a lengthy process, which would require substantial reformulation of social norms and enhancement of levels of educational attainment. The success of such a process will largely depend upon strong support of the highest political levels and a commitment of business to the idea. When the technological restructuring of Mexican companies and a reformulation of Mexican policies to technological progress seem to be a must, neither the areas for concentration of efforts, nor methods to carry out restructuring are clear. More research in these areas is warranted in order to formulate comprehensive policies which would guarantee success in the next century. Concurrently, the discussion on available methods for technological restructuring reveals one more macroeconomic concern. Implementation of BPR/TQM initiatives seems to be frequently associated with high technology. To advocate a high-tech concentration is ‘politically correct’ and frequently justified in the Western style economic restructuring. Yet, it need not be the best option for Mexico. Increased spending for technology in R&D-intensive industries boosts export of these sectors. At the same time, expenditure levels for technology in low R&D-intensive industries decrease and make it more difficult to improve performance. Innovations in low-technology industries can eliminate some job positions. Such a loss will not necessarily be compensated by job creation in the high-technology sector. However, it has also been proven that due to R&D in the low-technology sector, new job opportunities may be developed in related sectors of industry in order to offset any loss of jobs (Gibbs et al., 1989, pp. 93–119). For Mexican companies, this issue is quite important. On the one hand, the current economic and cultural context is not conducive to technology or quality improvement initiatives. On the other hand, technology and quality improvement can be regarded as a never-ending process. Thus, it maybe more justified to concentrate first on application of progressive solutions in these sectors which are crucial to the local economy and where solutions tested elsewhere can be absorbed. Then, having already a base of experience, and once conditions change, concentrate efforts on more profitable, yet also more difficult sectors linked to medium and high technology. If Mexican companies aim at productivity improvement a ‘Mexican rooted’ methodology should be developed, which take into account the specifics of Mexican companies, their environment, and the characteristics of people who work there. Such methodologies should draw upon philosophies developed and tested in other countries, yet, consider their applicability and transferability to Mexican surroundings. Observations made in this paper point out to the need to use a two-stage approach. The first stage should allow the company to achieve acceptable levels of functioning in terms of productivity, efficiency, managerial competence—radical, comprehensive change. The second stage should permit gradual improvements in efficiency and competitiveness, and include the development of appropriate tools for such projects. These efforts require time and resources, yet are warranted.