Managing strategic improvement programs: the XPS program management framework

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Torbjørn H. Netland


Multinational corporations are introducing holistic company-specific production systems (XPSs) in order to improve the productivity of their global manufacturing networks. XPSs are multi-plant improvement programs that are coordinated from the corporate headquarters and implemented in all subsidiaries of the firm. However, research and practice show that the implementation of process improvement programs is a challenging task that often ends up unsuccessful despite good intentions and substantial resource investments.

In this paper, I investigate how program management theory can help provide deployment guidelines for successful XPS implementation in global firms. I am proposing an XPS program management framework, which has been developed through merging program management theory with descriptions of real-life XPSs. It is suggested that the structured approach found in project-based program management literature can be partly adapted to strategic programs such as the XPS.

This paper contributes to program management theory by enhancing our understanding of how strategic programs, such as XPSs, differ from other more project-based types of programs. Secondly, it contributes to the process improvement literature with practical management guidelines for XPS deployment adapted from program management theory.


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Author Biography

Torbjørn H. Netland, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Torbjørn Netland is a PhD Candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway, and a Research Scientist at SINTEF Technology and Society, Trondheim, Norway. He is rewarded a Fulbright Scholarship to visit McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA, for the academic year 2011/2012.