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Implementation of continuous improvement cells: a case study from the civil infrastructure sector in the UK

Tezel, Algan; Koskela, Lauri; Tzortzopoulos, Patricia

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Associate Professor in Civil Engineering and Management

Lauri Koskela

Patricia Tzortzopoulos


The interest in lean management in the UK’s civil infrastructure sector is on the rise. In parallel with this interest, a team-based, participative management technique called Continuous Improvement (CI) cells has been widely adopted by the sector. The research on the technique has been scarce even though it has been adopted widely in some sectors as part of lean management. The study presented in the paper explores implementation characteristics, benefits, challenges and roles of CI cells in other management strategies through a case study conducted at a large public client organisation in the infrastructure sector in the UK. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through interviews, participant observation at CI cell meetings, and from organisational and team records. It was found that CI cells show some similarities and differences in application with other participative management techniques in lean management. A large set of CI cell benefits and challenges were identified. CI cells were also found linked with Visual Management, kaizen, hoshin kanri, work coordination and planning, and employee training at team level.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 27, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 16, 2021
Publication Date Jan 2, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2023
Journal Production Planning and Control
Print ISSN 0953-7287
Electronic ISSN 1366-5871
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 68-90
Keywords Lean management, continuous improvement, work planning, participative management, CI cells
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