Our original experiment measured the impact of improving management practices in a set of large textile firms near Mumbai. This experiment involved 28 plants across 17 firms in the woven cotton fabric industry. Firms had been in operation for 20 years on average, and all were family-owned and managed. These firms are large, complex organizations, with a median of 2 plants per firm and 4 reporting levels (Table A1 reports baseline summary statistics). We contracted with a leading international management consultancy firm to work with the plants in order to change plant-level management practices rapidly.
The intervention ran from August 2008 until August 2010, with data collection continuing until November 2011. The intervention focused on a set of 38 management practices that are standard in American, European, and Japanese manufacturing firms and which can be grouped into five broad areas: factory operations, quality control, inventory control, human-resources management, and sales and orders management (for details see Appendix Table A2). Each practice was measured as a binary indicator of the adoption (1) or non-adoption (0) of the practice.
The consulting intervention had three phases. The diagnostic phase took one month and was given to all treatment and control experimental plants. It involved evaluating the current management practices of each plant, constructing a performance database, and providing each plant with a detailed analysis of its current management practices along with recommendations for change. The second phase was a four-month implementation phase given only to the treatment experimental plants. In this phase, the consulting firm followed up on the diagnostic report to help introduce as many of the 38 management practices as the plants could be persuaded to adopt. The third phase was a measurement phase, which lasted until November 2011, involving the collection of performance and management data from all treatment and control plants.
See Bloom et al. (2013) for more details