Understanding and improving the manufacturing and changeover process in Saudi Arabian business - a multiple case study approach

  • Majed Alnaeem

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The importance of the changeover process in the manufacturing industry is becoming widely recognised. Changeover is a complete process of changing between the manufacture of one product to manufacture of an alternative product until specified production and quality rates are reached. The initiatives to improve changeover exist in industry, as better changeover process typically contribute to improved quality performance. A high-quality and reliable changeover process can be achieved through implementation of continuous or radical improvements. This research examines the changeover process of Saudi Arabian manufacturing firms because Saudi Arabia’s government is focused on the expansion of GDP and increasing the number of export manufacturing firms. Furthermore, it is encouraging foreign manufacturing firms to invest within Saudi Arabia. These initiatives, therefore, require that Saudi manufacturing businesses develop the changeover practice in order to compete in the market and achieve the government’s objectives. Therefore, the aim of this research is to discover the current status of changeover process implementation in Saudi Arabian manufacturing businesses. To achieve this aim, the main objective of this research is to develop a conceptual model to understand and examine the effectiveness of the changeover process within Saudi Arabian manufacturing firms, facilitating identification of those activities that affect the reliability and high-quality of the process.
In order to provide a comprehensive understanding of this area, this research first explores the concept of quality management and its relationship to firm performance and the performance of manufacturing changeover. An extensive body of literature was reviewed on the subject of lean manufacturing and changeover practice. A research conceptual model was identified based on this review, and focus was on providing high-quality and reliable manufacturing changeover processes during set-up in a dynamic environment. Exploratory research was conducted in sample Saudi manufacturing firms to understand the features of the changeover process within the manufacturing sector, and as a basis for modifying the proposed conceptual model. Qualitative research was employed in the study with semi-structured interviews, direct observations and documentation in order to understand the real situation such as actual daily practice and current status of changeover process in the field. The research instrument, the Changeover Effectiveness Assessment Tool (CEAT) was developed to evaluate changeover practices. A pilot study was conducted by examining the CEAT, proposed for the main research. Consequently, the conceptual model was modified and CEAT was improved in response to the pilot study findings. Case studies have been conducted within eight Saudi manufacturing businesses. These case studies assessed the implementation of manufacturing changeover practice in the lighting and medical products sectors. These two sectors were selected based on their operation strategy which was batch production as well as the fact that they fulfilled the research sampling strategy. The outcomes of the research improved the conceptual model, ultimately to facilitate the firms’ adoption and rapid implementation of a high-quality and reliability changeover during the set-up process. The main finding of this research is that Quality’s factors were considering the lowest levels comparing to the other factors which are People, Process and Infrastructure. This research contributes to enable Saudi businesses to implement the changeover process by adopting the conceptual model. In addition, the guidelines for facilitating implementation were provided in this thesis. Therefore, this research provides insight to enable the Saudi manufacturing industry to be more responsive to rapidly changing customer demands.
Date of AwardMay 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRobin P Clark (Supervisor)


  • changeover
  • set-up time
  • set-up process
  • manufacturing
  • Saudi Arabia

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