New’s research addresses process improvement and supply chain management. Within these areas, the focus of his recent work has been the application of the Toyota Production System (TPS) in medical care, and in the development of an underlying theory of provenance within supply chains which provides the foundation for understanding reputation and ethics within supply chains.
New’s broader interests include the effectiveness of public sector services, and the social construction of value.
A further strand of work relates to the methodology of operations management, and, in particular, the construction of a critique of the use of structural equation modelling in operations management research.
His research work is informed by extensive consulting and training work for organisations in a wide range of sectors.
Understanding Process Improvement
It is arguable that the (TPS) represents one of the major managerial innovations of the twentieth century. However, aside from the major challenge of understanding the internal logic and human dynamics of the system, there remains the daunting question of why it so difficult to apply outside of Toyota itself; where even firms in the car industry have struggled to match Toyota's success.
New’s recent work in this area has included the editing of a special issue of the International Journal of Production Research which celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the first English language paper describing the TPS. This special issue, with an introduction by New, contained papers from a wide range of leading scholars who have attempted to get to grips with the approach.
The other major strand of this work has been to explore the impact of the TPS in medical settings; for this New worked with colleagues in Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Surgery, and in particular with Mr Peter McCulloch and Dr Ken Catchpole of the Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit. Their work has explored the impact of TPS-style interventions on patient safety and they saw improvements of up to 200% in some of the safety critical care processes measured. The initial substantial publication from this work has been published in the top-rated surgical journal, the Annals of Surgery and is forthcoming in the British Medical Journal.
New, S. J., (2007). "Celebrating the Enigma: The Continuing Puzzle of the Toyota Production System", International Journal of Production Research, 45 (16) 3545-3554
McCulloch, P., Kreckler, S., New S., Sheena, Y., Handa, A. and Catchpole, K. (2011 forthcoming) “Effect of a “lean” intervention to improve safety processes and outcomes on a surgical ward” British Medical Journal.
Kreckler, S; Catchpole, K; New, S.J; Handa, A; Mcculloch, P. (2009). 'Quality and Safety on an Acute Surgical Ward: An Exploratory Study of Process and Outcome'. Annals of Surgery. 250/6: 1035-1040.
Supply Chains: Reputation, Ethics and CSR
New has worked extensively in the area of supply chain management (SCM). His recent work in this area has been associated with two initiatives in the School: in 2006, working with Dr Dana Brown, he helped set up the Oxford-Achilles Working Group on Corporate Social Responsibility, which has a particular focus on supply chain-related issues. He also a programme director in the Centre for Corporate Reputation, where he works with Tamar Yogev and Rowena Oligario on projects related to the concept of 'provenance and reputation'. An article stemming from this work ("The Transparent Supply Chain") was published in the Harvard Business Review in 2010.
New is the editor (and contributor to) two books in the field: Understanding Supply Chains (Oxford University Press, 2004, with Roy Westbrook) brought together leading authorities to provide a general survey of the state of research in the field, and to lay a foundation for general theoretical development; Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives in Business and Management (Routledge, 2008, Four Volumes) collated major works in SCM and cognate disciplines, framing the collection in a theoretical framework of operational, relational and functional integration.
New, S.J. (2010) “The Transparent Supply Chain.” Harvard Business Review. October.
New, S.J. (ed) Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. London: Routledge. (Four Volumes). 2008.
New, S, Green, K & Morton, B, 'An analysis of private versus public sector responses to the environmental challenges of the supply chain', Journal of Public Procurement, Vol 2:1, 2002, pp 93-105.
New, S.J. (2009). "Supply Chain Traceability and Product Provenance: Challenges for Theory and Practice". In: Supply Chain Management and Logistics in a Volatile Global Environment. (Sweeney, E. ed.). Dublin: Blackhall Press.
Burnes, B. and New, S.J. (2008). "Collaboration in Customer-Supplier Relationships: Strategy, Operations and the Function of Rhetoric". In: Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management (Volume Two). (S.New, ed.) Routledge: London. 401-413. [Originally published in International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management. 33/4: 10-17, 1997].
New, S.J. (2008). "Understanding Supplier Resistance: Overcoming Obstacles to Supplier Innovation" In: Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management (Volume Two). (S.New, ed.) Routledge: London. 463-470. [Originally previously In: TQM and Innovation: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on ISO9000 and TQM., Ho, S., (ed.), 1999].
New, S.J. (2008). "Designing High-Technology Services, Or Not: A Bittersweet Tale of Love and Loss". In Designing for Services - Multidisciplinary Perspectives: Proceedings from the Exploratory Project on Designing for Services in Science and Technology-based Enterprises, (L. Kimbell and V. Seidel, eds.) SBS: Oxford. 15-16.
New, S.J. (2008). "Supply Chain Impacts" In: Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management (Volume Four). (S.New, ed.) Routledge: London. 1-4.
New, S.J. (2008). "Frameworks for Explaining Supply Chains" In: Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management (Volume Three). (S.New, ed.) Routledge: London. 1-5.
New, S.J. (2008). "Relational and Functional Interpretations of Supply Chain Integration" In: Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management (Volume Two). (S.New, ed.) Routledge: London. 1-6.
New, S.J. (2008). "Operational Interpretations of Supply Chain Integration" In: Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management (Volume One). (S.J. New, ed.) Routledge: London. 1-6.