Measuring the prevailing lean culture at a South African aviation organisation
Alabi, Micheal O.
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In recent times, the aviation industry has needed continuous improvement to raise customers’ satisfaction levels and Lean philosophy is one of the managerial procedures that an organisation can use to achieve continuous improvement efficiency. In South Africa, the aviation industry is playing a significant role in the national economy and in the economies of other Southern African states and serves as a means of job creation for numerous South African. The commercial aviation industry is contributing ZAR50.9 billion (2.1%) to South African Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A South African aviation organisation is well-positioned to support this industry and to assist with regional growth emanating from related maintenance and manufacturing activities, and through this platform a South African aviation company will remain competitive. The purpose of this study was to contribute to more successful implementation of Lean manufacturing and continuous improvement philosophy in an aviation environment in South Africa and a South African aviation organisation was used as the case study for the research. The primary aim of this research was to measure the prevailing Lean culture at a South African aviation company and to assist the aerospace company Lean culture implementation. Lean manufacturing has become a new production philosophy for many organisations to employ. An effective Lean culture implementation improves organisational competitiveness and sustainability by eliminating waste and creating organisational value. An in-depth literature study was conducted to gain insight into Lean philosophy and Toyota Production System (TPS). The literature study covers the evolution of Lean production, Lean culture, culture itself, and organisational culture. The fourteen management principles of the Toyota way were also reviewed in the literature study because the management principles of the Toyota way could help Lean organisations to shape their understanding of the Lean culture. The literature study revealed that most Lean culture failures have to do with inability of the management to monitor the Lean implementation journey. This research employed a quantitative research method. A measuring instrument (i.e. structured questionnaire) was used to carry out a survey at a South African aviation company. The questionnaire was divided into both dependent variable (prevailing Lean culture) and independent variables (Awareness, Engagement, Consistency, and Accountability). The data was collected, analysed and interpreted appropriately. All the results returned acceptable reliability coefficient Cronbach alpha 0.70 above and this suggests that all items have a relatively high internal consistency. The entire null hypotheses (H0) were accepted based on the effect size and the significant value P (i.e. P >.05). The research results identified both the weakness and strength of the prevailing Lean culture at a South African aviation company and showed areas of improvement as relating to Lean culture. Based on the data interpretation, conclusions and recommendations were drawn. Suggestions for future research were provided.
- Engineering