Science Journal of Microbiology

Volume 2012, August 2012, ISSN:2276-6316

Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article


Adopting the Kaizen Suggestion System in South African Lean Automotive Components Companies

Adedeji Adeyemi Charles1, Okolie Kevin Chucks2

1Department of Industrial Engineering Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Port Elizabeth South Africa

2Department of Building Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Anambra State Nigeria

Accepted 8 June, 2012; Available Online 6 August, 2012

doi: 10.7237/sjbm/266


Purposeof the paper: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate theextent to which functional and organizational measures influence employees' participation in suggestion of ideas for continuous improvement(Kaizen) in the South African automotive components industry.
Methodology: The methodology employed in the study included a thorough review of the relevant literature and a questionnaire. A questionnaire relating to the diverse contents of suggestion constructs was developed and administered to both the management and employees of the thirty three automotive components suppliers in Eastern Cape. The target companies constituted the units of analyses and therefore provided the opportunity for a detailed investigation of the links between management and employees as well as a submission of ideas for operational and organizational processes as established in the literature review. Data generated from the questionnaire were analysed using Excel spread sheet and statistical; Version 9.0 Findings: The study reveals that majority of the respondents opineda lack of systematic mechanism for the practice and administration of the Kaizen suggestion tools in most Eastern Cape automotive companies. This demerit is found to have negatively affected maximum employee participation and involvement in organizational decision making within the automotive components companies in the Province.
Conclusion:The study has established a basic level of awareness and understanding among employees/employers relations that the Kaizen suggestion scheme is a vital tool for delivering strategic objectives in the management of decision making and organizational growth. The study strongly advocates the inclusion of employee suggestion systems as part of the organizational process, as well as the need for employees to acquire skills on critical aspects of Kaizen suggestion tools.
Research limitations/implications: The organizational scope of this research is limited to automotive components manufacturing companies employing in excess of 50 workers in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Findings will help to determine the extent and performance of employees in the Kaizen suggestion scheme in the companies. It identifies the employees' engagement/empowerment phenomenon in automotive industry and so forms the starting point for further studies in this area. Originality/Value: This study can assist automotive components industry in demonstrating the value of engaged and empowered employee for organizational improvement and competitive advantage.

Keyword: Lean, Kaizen, Suggestion Scheme, Competitive advantage, Functional performance, Paradigm shift, Performance evaluation.