A continuous improvement implementation framework for manufacturing companies: a Delphi study-based approach for development and validation

Richard Scott McLean, Jiju Antony*, Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes, Ashutosh Samadhiya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Due to the absence of industry and region-specific implementation guides, change efforts, in particular continuous improvement implementations, continue to report high failure rates. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to present a finalised implementation framework specifically tailored for manufacturing companies.

Design/methodology/approach: A conceptual framework derived from the existing literature is validated, through a Delphi study, by an expert panel to review its content and suitability for a practical application.

Findings: This paper proposes a finalised framework tailored to the practical needs of users. The results of the Delphi approach offer a phased implementation framework that provides an overview of the implementation process of continuous improvement initiatives and the key activities involved. The framework is suitable for use by both business leaders and continuous improvement practitioners with varying degrees of previous implementation experience.

Research limitations/implications: The research was carried out in the UK and is specifically focused on the manufacturing industry. It is therefore not clear the applicability of the framework presented to other regions and industries. The framework, although validated through several phases of research, still requires practical application and testing.

Originality/value: Business leaders and continuous improvement practitioners will benefit from having the necessary content presented in a manner that will promote its practical application. It has also been demonstrated that the framework is robust in its content, incorporating the literature findings as well as the experience of an expert panel encompassing 20 people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2222-2246
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
Issue number9
Early online date28 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2023


  • Continuous improvement
  • Delphi method
  • Framework
  • Implementation
  • Manufacturing companies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management


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