African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4164

Full Length Research Paper

Improving quality and productivity at an automotive component manufacturing organisation in Durban - South Africa

Raveen Rathilall and Shalini Singh
Department of Operations and Quality Management, Durban University of Technology, South Africa  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 27 May 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2011


The manufacturing sector is considered to be an important industry in any country and is often plagued with a significant degree of competition. In order to cope with this competition, organisations attempt to improve their manufacturing operations by using different tools and techniques to reduce costs and improve profits. This study investigated the existing lean manufacturing tool of an automotive organisation in Durban. The objective of this study was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current lean manufacturing process in improving quality and productivity. An empirical study was conducted, using a survey questionnaire with an assessment score ranking to gather and evaluate employees’ responses pertaining to this lean application in their production environment. The quantitative method of research was adopted. The results of the study showed evidence of misalignment and inconsistencies for lean manufacturing in the organisation. Several important findings on the implications of lean activities that affect manufacturing performance were revealed. The study concluded that a significant gap exists between the actual adoption of lean manufacturing on the shop floor to those that are documented.


Key words: Lean manufacturing, automotive industry, operational performance, quality, productivity