SUNConferences, 27th Annual Conference of the SA Institute for Industrial Engineering

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Critical success factors for implementing a labour productivity improvement initiative in a competitive South African manufacturing plant for greater international competitiveness
Bruno Emwanu, Risel N. Govender

Last modified: 2016-09-20


High manufacturing competitiveness in South Africa has the potential to contribute towards mitigating the poor economic performance and high unemployment rate prevailing in the country. However, manufacturing competitiveness is lacking, majorly due to labour productivity issues that are idiosyncratic to South Africa. One of the dilemmas is how to increase manufacturing productivity without major capitalisation, as doing so usually leads to redundancy and retrenchment of employees. A possible solution is to implement manufacturing performance improvement programmes without major capital investment (or capital-labour substitution). Although various programmes exist and are successful elsewhere in the world, these have been found to fail in South African firms due to implementation challenges.

This study assesses the results from implementing a manufacturing performance improvement programme called Integrated Work Systems (IWS) in a South African factory of a multinational company, which has already proven successful in the multinational’s factories in other parts of the world, to determine the critical success factors and develop a framework for the successful implementation of such a programme in South Africa.

It is expected that the critical success factors for implementation in a South African firm will differ from other parts of the world, providing valuable information for practitioners.


Labour productivity in Manufacturing