Development of the Respect for People model for lean implementation in the South African context
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This thesis is premised on the understanding that production management includes both technological and human elements. The advent of the Toyota Production System during the 1970’s constituted a landmark event in the evolution of production management, as it was founded on the conceptual pillars of Continuous Improvement and Respect for People, thus emphasising in particular the importance of the human aspect of production management. Over time, the lean philosophy that was developed from the Toyota Production System gained global popularity. Successful lean implementation, however, is often hindered by a lack of understanding of the original meaning and intent associated with the human aspect of lean, resulting in lean tools being used without sufficient understanding of Respect for People. This study responds to the need for a balanced lean implementation approach, focusing on both the Continuous Improvement and Respect for People pillars of the Toyota Way model in the South African context. Utilising the elaborated action design research method, within the design science research paradigm, a lean implementation model that centres on the Respect for People pillar was developed. The elaborated action design research continuum was entered at the Problem diagnosing stage, after which four iterative Concept design stages were completed: (1) A systematic literature review was followed to determine the meaning of Respect for People. The findings were synthesised in the Respect for People (RFP) framework and the first conceptual RFP lean implementation framework. (2) An applied thematic analysis was conducted to determine the understanding of the RFP principles in the South African context and their applicability to this context. (3) The design requirements were developed during the third iteration. (4) The fourth and final concept design iteration was used to develop and evaluate the Respect for People model for lean implementation. Verification was done by means of the Delphi technique, a design requirement checklist and a review of the design intent, while a gap analysis, a research validation matrix and the Delphi technique confirmed the research validity. The RFP model consists of two value streams − the traditional product value stream as well as the people value stream. These two value streams are connected by means of a specific problem-solving process, used to bring problems to the surface and help develop individuals who can solve these problems. The benefits of the lean philosophy can only be achieved through a comprehensive, all-inclusive approach, with buy-in and cooperation at all levels of an organisation. Leadership buy-in is required to provide direction to and enablement of employees, while employee buy-in is required to help access the valuable input acquired from employees' performance of daily tasks. It was concluded that only by valuing employees' knowledge, experience and insight, and developing their skills, can an effective and sustainable lean implementation occur. An improved people value stream will naturally lead to an improved product value stream. This study contributes to the field by providing a new solution for a known problem. Industrial Engineering literature has been enriched through a framework which explains the meaning of RFP, as well as through a novel, balanced model for lean implementation. The RFP model contributes towards organisational success by providing a practical means to include people during the lean implementation process, thereby contributing to improved lean implementation.
- Engineering