The Impact of ISO 9001 Certification on Brazilian Firms’ Performance: Insights from Multiple Case Studies

The evolution of quality management by companies was strongly enabled by, among others, ISO 9001 certification, which is considered a crucial requirement for several customers. Likewise, performance measurement provides useful insights for companies to identify the reflection of their decision-making process on their improvement. One of the most used performance measurement models is the balanced scorecard (BSC), which uses four perspectives to address a firm’s performance: financial, internal process, customer satisfaction, and learning and growth. Since ISO 9001 certified firms are likely to measure their performance through BSC approach, it is important to verify whether the certificate influences the firm performance or not. Therefore, this paper aims to verify the impact of ISO 9001:2015 on Brazilian firms’ performance based on the BSC perspective. Hence, nine certified companies located in the Southeast region of Brazil were studied through a multiple case study approach. Within this study, it was possible to identify the positive impact of ISO 9001 on firms’ overall performance, and four Critical Success Factors (CSFs) were identified as relevant on the linkage among ISO 9001 and firms’ performance: employee involvement, top management, process management, and customer focus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of interviews was limited to the quality manager specialist, and the sample was limited since several companies were closed during the period of the study. This study presents an in-depth analysis of how the relationship between ISO 9001 certification and firms’ performance in a developing country is.

Corrosion Study of Magnetically Driven Components in Spinal Implants by Immersion Testing in Simulated Body Fluids

Magnetically controlled growing rods (MCGRs) have been used to stabilise and correct spinal curvature in children to support non-invasive scoliosis adjustment. Although the encapsulated driving components are intended to be isolated from body fluid contact, in vivo corrosion was observed on these components due to sealing mechanism damage. Consequently, a corrosion circuit is created with the body fluids, resulting in malfunction of the lengthening mechanism. Particularly, the chloride ions in blood plasma or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may corrode the MCGR alloys, possibly resulting in metal ion release in long-term use. However, there is no data available on the corrosion resistance of spinal implant alloys in CSF. In this study, an in vitro immersion configuration was designed to simulate in vivo corrosion of 440C SS-Ti6Al4V couples. The 440C stainless steel (SS) was heat-treated to investigate the effect of tempering temperature on intergranular corrosion (IGC), while crevice and galvanic corrosion were studied by limiting the clearance of dissimilar couples. Tests were carried out in a neutral artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF) and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) under aeration and deaeration for 2 months. The composition of the passive films and metal ion release were analysed. The effect of galvanic coupling, pH, dissolved oxygen and anion species on corrosion rates and corrosion mechanisms are discussed based on quantitative and qualitative measurements. The results suggest that ACSF is more aggressive than PBS due to the combination of aggressive chlorides and sulphate anions, while phosphate in PBS acts as an inhibitor to delay corrosion. The presence of Vivianite on the SS surface in PBS lowered the corrosion rate (CR) more than 5 times for aeration and nearly 2 times for deaeration, compared with ACSF. The CR of 440C is dependent on passive film properties varied by tempering temperature and anion species. Although the CR of Ti6Al4V is insignificant, it tends to release more Ti ions in deaerated ACSF than under aeration, about 6 µg/L. It seems the crevice-like design has more effect on macroscopic corrosion than combining the dissimilar couple, whereas IGC is dominantly observed on sensitized microstructure.

Mechanical Contribution of Silica Fume and Hydrated Lime Addition in Mortars Assessed by Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Tests

The aim of the present study is to investigate the changes in the mechanical properties of mortars including additions of Condensed Silica Fume (CSF), Hydrated Lime (CH) or both at various amounts (5% to 15% of cement replacement) and high water ratios (w/b) (0.4 to 0.7). The physical and mechanical changes in the mixes were evaluated using non-destructive tests (Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV)) and destructive tests (crushing tests) on 28 day-long specimens consecutively, in order to assess CSF and CH replacement rate influence on the mechanical and physical properties of the mortars, as well as CSF-CH pre-mixing on the improvement of these properties. A significant improvement of the mechanical properties of the CSF, CSF-CH mortars, has been noted. CSF-CH mixes showed the best improvements exceeding 50% improvement, showing the sizable pozzolanic reaction contribution to the specimen strength development. UPV tests have shown increased velocities for CSF and CSH mixes, however no proportional evolution with compressive strengths could be noted. The results of the study show that CSF-CH addition could represent a suitable solution to significantly increase the mechanical properties of mortars.

Machine Learning for Aiding Meningitis Diagnosis in Pediatric Patients

This paper presents a Machine Learning (ML) approach to support Meningitis diagnosis in patients at a children’s hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The aim is to use ML techniques to reduce the use of invasive procedures, such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection, as much as possible. In this study, we focus on predicting the probability of Meningitis given the results of a blood and urine laboratory tests, together with the analysis of pain or other complaints from the patient. We tested a number of different ML algorithms, including: Adaptative Boosting (AdaBoost), Decision Tree, Gradient Boosting, K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN), Logistic Regression, Random Forest and Support Vector Machines (SVM). Decision Tree algorithm performed best, with 94.56% and 96.18% accuracy for training and testing data, respectively. These results represent a significant aid to doctors in diagnosing Meningitis as early as possible and in preventing expensive and painful procedures on some children.

Clinical Utility of Salivary Cytokines for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The goal of this study was to examine the possibility of salivary cytokines for the screening of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. We carried out a case-control study, including 19 children with ADHD and 17 healthy children (controls). A multiplex bead array immunoassay was used to conduct a multi-analysis of 27 different salivary cytokines. Six salivary cytokines (interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-8, IL12p70, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)) were significantly associated with the presence of ADHD (p < 0.05). An informative salivary cytokine panel was developed using VEGF by logistic regression analysis (odds ratio: 0.251). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that assessment of a panel using VEGF showed “good” capability for discriminating between ADHD patients and controls (area under the curve: 0.778). ADHD has been hypothesized to be associated with reduced cerebral blood flow in the frontal cortex, due to reduced VEGF levels. Our study highlights the possibility of utilizing differential salivary cytokine levels for point-of-care testing (POCT) of biomarkers in children with ADHD.

Identifying Critical Success Factors for Data Quality Management through a Delphi Study

Organizations support their operations and decision making on the data they have at their disposal, so the quality of these data is remarkably important and Data Quality (DQ) is currently a relevant issue, the literature being unanimous in pointing out that poor DQ can result in large costs for organizations. The literature review identified and described 24 Critical Success Factors (CSF) for Data Quality Management (DQM) that were presented to a panel of experts, who ordered them according to their degree of importance, using the Delphi method with the Q-sort technique, based on an online questionnaire. The study shows that the five most important CSF for DQM are: definition of appropriate policies and standards, control of inputs, definition of a strategic plan for DQ, organizational culture focused on quality of the data and obtaining top management commitment and support.

Modern Spectrum Sensing Techniques for Cognitive Radio Networks: Practical Implementation and Performance Evaluation

Spectrum underutilization has made cognitive radio a promising technology both for current and future telecommunications. This is due to the ability to exploit the unused spectrum in the bands dedicated to other wireless communication systems, and thus, increase their occupancy. The essential function, which allows the cognitive radio device to perceive the occupancy of the spectrum, is spectrum sensing. In this paper, the performance of modern adaptations of the four most widely used spectrum sensing techniques namely, energy detection (ED), cyclostationary feature detection (CSFD), matched filter (MF) and eigenvalues-based detection (EBD) is compared. The implementation has been accomplished through the PlutoSDR hardware platform and the GNU Radio software package in very low Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) conditions. The optimal detection performance of the examined methods in a realistic implementation-oriented model is found for the common relevant parameters (number of observed samples, sensing time and required probability of false alarm).

Surveillance for African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever in Benue State, Nigeria

A serosurveillance study was conducted to detect the presence of antibodies to African swine fever virus (ASFV) and Classical swine fever virus in pigs sampled from piggeries and Makurdi central slaughter slab in Benue State, Nigeria. 416 pigs from 74 piggeries across 12 LGAs and 44 pigs at the Makurdi central slaughter slab were sampled for serum. The sera collected were analysed using Indirect Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test kit to test for antibodies to ASFV, while competitive ELISA test kit was used to test for antibodies to CSFV. Of the 416 pigs from piggeries and 44 pigs sampled from the slaughter slab, seven (1.7%) and six (13.6%), respectively, tested positive to ASFV antibodies and was significantly associated (p < 0.0001). Out of the 12 LGAs sampled, Obi LGA had the highest ASFV antibody detection rate of (4.8%) and was significantly associated (p < 0.0001). None of the samples tested positive to CSFV antibodies. The study concluded that antibodies to CSFV were absent in the sampled pigs in piggeries and at the Makurdi central slaughter slab in Benue State, while antibodies to ASFV were present in both locations; hence, the need to keep an eye open for CSF too since both diseases may pose great risk in the study area. Further studies to characterise the ASFV circulating in Benue State and investigate the possible sources is recommended. Routine surveillance to provide a comprehensive and readily accessible data base to plan for the prevention of any fulminating outbreak is also recommended.

Experimental Investigation on Cold-Formed Steel Foamed Concrete Composite Wall under Compression

A series of tests on cold-formed steel foamed concrete (CSFC) composite walls subjected to axial load were proposed. The primary purpose of the experiments was to study the mechanical behavior and identify the failure modes of CSFC composite walls. Two main factors were considered in this study: 1) specimen with pouring foamed concrete or without and 2) different foamed concrete density ranks (corresponding to different foamed concrete strength). The interior space between two pieces of straw board of the specimen W-2 and W-3 were poured foamed concrete, and the specimen W-1 does not have foamed concrete core. The foamed concrete density rank of the specimen W-2 was A05 grade, and that of the specimen W-3 was A07 grade. Results showed that the failure mode of CSFC composite wall without foamed concrete was distortional buckling of cold-formed steel (CFS) column, and that poured foamed concrete includes the local crushing of foamed concrete and local buckling of CFS column, but the former prior to the later. Compared with CSFC composite wall without foamed concrete, the ultimate bearing capacity of spec imens poured A05 grade and A07 grade foamed concrete increased 1.6 times and 2.2 times respectively, and specimen poured foamed concrete had a low vertical deformation. According to these results, the simplified calculation formula for the CSFC wall subjected to axial load was proposed, and the calculated results from this formula are in very good agreement with the test results.

Identifying and Ranking Critical Success Factors for Implementing Leagile Manufacturing Industries Using Modified TOPSIS

Leagile is combination of both lean and agile system. Lean is concerned with less of everything i.e. less material, less time, less space, less manpower to produce a product, while agile is concerned with quick respond to customer demand and to reconfigure the system as soon as possible to meet the customer expectations well on time. The market is excessively competitive, so there is a dire need for the companies to adopt new and modern technologies with latest equipments. It has been seen that implementation of leagile system become tedious so the purpose of the paper is to find critical success factors (CSF) affecting leagile manufacturing system using literature review and rank them by using modified TOPSIS (Technique of order preference by similarity to ideal solution) technique.

The Requirements of Developing a Framework for Successful Adoption of Quality Management Systems in the Construction Industry

Quality management systems (QMSs) in the construction industry are often implemented to ensure that sufficient effort is made by companies to achieve the required levels of quality for clients. Attainment of these quality levels can result in greater customer satisfaction, which is fundamental to ensure long-term competitiveness for construction companies. However, the construction sector is still lagging behind other industries in terms of its successful adoption of QMSs, due to the relative lack of acceptance of the benefits of these systems among industry stakeholders, as well as from other barriers related to implementing them. Thus, there is a critical need to undertake a detailed and comprehensive exploration of adoption of QMSs in the construction sector. This paper comprehensively investigates in the construction sector setting, the impacts of all the salient factors surrounding successful implementation of QMSs in building organizations, especially those of external factors. This study is part of an ongoing PhD project, which aims to develop a new framework that integrates both internal and external factors affecting QMS implementation. To achieve the paper aim and objectives, interviews will be conducted to define the external factors influencing the adoption of QMSs, and to obtain holistic critical success factors (CSFs) for implementing these systems. In the next stage of data collection, a questionnaire survey will be developed to investigate the prime barriers facing the adoption of QMSs, the CSFs for their implementation, and the external factors affecting the adoption of these systems. Following the survey, case studies will be undertaken to validate and explain in greater detail the real effects of these factors on QMSs adoption. Specifically, this paper evaluates the effects of the external factors in terms of their impact on implementation success within the selected case studies. Using findings drawn from analyzing the data obtained from these various approaches, specific recommendations for the successful implementation of QMSs will be presented, and an operational framework will be developed. Finally, through a focus group, the findings of the study and the new developed framework will be validated. Ultimately, this framework will be made available to the construction industry to facilitate the greater adoption and implementation of QMSs. In addition, deployment of the applicable recommendations suggested by the study will be shared with the construction industry to more effectively help construction companies to implement QMSs, and overcome the barriers experienced by businesses, thus promoting the achievement of higher levels of quality and customer satisfaction.

Analysis of Critical Success Factors of Six Sigma in Pakistani Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Six Sigma is a widely adapted quality improvement methodology applied throughout the world. Through this paper, an attempt has been made to identify Critical Success Factors (CSF) for successful implementation of Six Sigma in Pakistani Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). A survey methodology was used to collect the data from SMEs in Pakistan. The results of this exploratory empirical research reflect the importance of different CSFs of Six Sigma implementation in SMEs in Pakistan. On the basis of extracted factors, a framework has been proposed for successful Six Sigma implementation in Pakistani SMEs. This study will provide a base for Pakistani SMEs and future researchers working in Six Sigma implementation and help them to prepare a road map to eradicate the hurdles in Six Sigma implementation.

Critical Success Factors Influencing Construction Project Performance for Different Objectives: Procurement Phase

Critical success factors (CSFs) and the criteria to measure project success have received much attention over the decades and are among the most widely researched topics in the context of project management. However, although there have been extensive studies on the subject by different researchers, to date, there has been little agreement on the CSFs. The aim of this study is to identify the CSFs that influence the performance of construction projects, and determine their relative importance for different objectives across five stages in the project life cycle. A considerable literature review was conducted that resulted in the identification of 179 individual factors. These factors were then grouped into nine major categories. A questionnaire survey was used to collect data from three groups of respondents: client representatives, consultants, and contractors. Out of 164 questionnaires distributed, 93 were returned, yielding a response rate of 56.7%. Using the mean score, relative importance index, and weighted average method, the top 10 critical factors for each category were identified. The agreement of survey respondents on those categorised factors were analysed using Spearman’s rank correlation. A one-way analysis of variance was then performed to determine whether the mean scores among the various groups of respondents were statistically significant. The findings indicate the most CSFs in each category in procurement phase are: proper procurement programming of materials (time), stability in the price of materials (cost), and determining quality in the construction (quality). They are then followed by safety equipment acquisition and maintenance (health and safety), budgeting allowed in a contractual arrangement for implementing environmental management activities (environment), completeness of drawing documents (productivity), accurate measurement and pricing of bill of quantities (risk management), adequate communication among the project team (human resource), and adequate cost control measures (client satisfaction). An understanding of CSFs would help all interested parties in the construction industry to improve project performance. Furthermore, the results of this study would help construction professionals and practitioners take proactive measures for effective project management.

Thixomixing as Novel Method for Fabrication Aluminum Composite with Carbon and Alumina Fibers

This study focuses on a novel method for dispersion and distribution of reinforcement under high intensive shear stress to produce metal composites. The polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based short carbon fiber (Csf) and Nextel 610 alumina fiber were dispersed under high intensive shearing at mushy zone in semi-solid of A356 by a novel method. The bundles and clusters were embedded by infiltration of slurry into the clusters, thus leading to a uniform microstructure. The fibers were embedded homogenously into the aluminum around 576-580°C with around 46% of solid fraction. Other experiments at 615°C and 568°C which are contained 0% and 90% solid respectively were not successful for dispersion and infiltration of aluminum into bundles of Csf. The alumina fiber has been cracked by high shearing load. The morphologies and crystalline phase were evaluated by SEM and XRD. The adopted thixo-process effectively improved the adherence and distribution of Csf into Al that can be developed to produce various composites by thixomixing.

Critical Success Factors for Successful Energy Management Implementation towards Sustainability in Malaysian Universities

Recently, universities are increasingly consuming energy to support various activities. A large population of staff and students in Malaysian universities has led to excessive energy consumption which directly gives an impact to the environment. The key question then ascended “How well is an energy management (EM) been practiced in universities without taking the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) into consideration to ensure the management of university achieves the goals in reducing energy consumption. Review on past literature is carried out to establish CSFs for EM best practices. Thus, this paper highlighted the CSFs which have to be focused on by management of university to successfully measure the EM implementation and its performance. At the end of this paper, a theoretical framework is developed for EM success factors towards sustainable university.

The Critical Success Factors for Effective ICT Governance in Malaysian Public Sector: A Delphi Study

The fundamental issues in ICT Governance (ICTG) implementation for Malaysian Public Sector (MPS) is how ICT be applied to support improvements in productivity, management effectiveness and the quality of services offered to its citizens. Our main concern is to develop and adopt a common definition and framework to illustrate how ICTG can be used to better align ICT with government’s operations and strategic focus. In particular, we want to identify and categorize factors that drive a successful ICTG process. This paper presents the results of an exploratory study to identify, validate and refine such Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and confirmed seven CSFs and nineteen sub-factors as influential factors that fit MPS after further validated and refined. The Delphi method applied in validation and refining process before being endorsed as appropriate for MPS. The identified CSFs reflect the focus areas that need to be considered strategically to strengthen ICT Governance implementation and ensure business success.

Critical Success Factors of Information Technology Projects

Information Technology (IT) is being used by almost all organizations throughout the world. However its success at supporting and improving business is debatable. There is always the risk of IT project failure and studies have proven that a large number of IT projects indeed do fail. There are many components that further the success of IT projects; these have been studied in previous studies. Studies have found the most necessary components for success in software development projects, executive information systems etc. In this study previous literatures that have looked into these success promoting factors have been critically reviewed and analyzed. 15 Critical Success Factors (CSF) of IT projects were enlisted and examined. These factors can be applied to all IT projects and is not specific to a particular type of IT/IS project. A hypothesis was also generated after the evaluation of the factors.

Service-Oriented Enterprise Architecture (SoEA) Adoption and Maturity Measurement Model: A Systematic Literature Review

This article provides a systematic review of existing research related to the Service-oriented Enterprise Architecture (SoEA) adoption and maturity measurement model. The review’s main goals are to support research; to facilitate other researchers’ search for relevant studies; and to propose areas for future studies within this area. In addition, this article provides useful information on SoEA adoption issues and its related maturity model, based on research-based knowledge. The review results suggest that motives, critical success factors (CSFs), implementation status, and benefits are the most frequently studied areas, and that each of these areas would benefit from further exposure.

The Impact of Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) in a South African Company

This paper presents the findings of the investigation of ERP implementation, challenges experiences by a South African Company in ERP implementation, success factors, failures, and propose recommendations to improve ERP implementation. The data collections methods used are questionnaires. The paper contributes to discussion on ERP implementation in developing economics.

Six Sigma in Mexican Manufacturing Companies

This work is about Six Sigma (SS) implementation in Mexico by using an empirical study. Main goals are to analyze the degree of importance of the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) of SS and to examine if these factors are grouped in some way. A literature research and a survey were conducted to capture SS practitioner’s viewpoint about CSFs in SS implementation and their impact on the performance within manufacturing companies located in Baja California, Mexico. Finally, a Principal Component Analysis showed that nine critical success factors could be grouped in three components, which are: management vision, implementation strategy, and collaborative team. In the other hand, SS’s success is represented by cost reduction, variation reduction, experience and self-esteem of the workers, and quality improvement. Concluding remarks arising from the study are that CSFs are changing through time and paying attention to these nine factors can increase SS’s success likelihood.