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Impact of continuous improvement on new product development within SMEs in the Western Cape, South Africa

Abstract

Bingwen Yan * and Oluwole Daniel Makinde

Companies generally embrace Continuous Improvement (CI) in their quality improvement process over the last decades. The adoption of CI on New Product Development (NPD) has not been practically communized. In the current dynamic environment, many companies are focusing on innovation and NPD in order to be innovative and competitive. It has become an important issue on investigating the application of CI practice on NPD process. This paper reports on the findings from a research project that applied a survey approach to investigate the impact of CI on NPD process. Data were collected from 40 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through questionnaire and interviews. The findings of the study indicate that CI plays a significant role in boosting NPD management within SMEs, although some areas still need to involve in depth learning to improve management competency and knowledge in order to implement CI effectively. Finally, a new NPD model that embedded CI into NPD management process in SMEs is proposed. This model will add value to the future research on CI and NPD management.

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