The Application of Process Improvement Techniques at a Clothing Manufacturing Company in the Western Cape.
This research project focuses on the application of process improvement techniques in a clothing manufacturer to address delay problems in workflow in the factory. The objective of the research is threefold; investigate delays at the beginning of production and make suggestions, show the usefulness of continuous improvement techniques in improving activities in a clothing manufacturer and demonstrate how action research can be used in doing research in production and operation management. Using tools such as flow charts, check sheets, pareto analysis, fishbone diagrams, interviews and the "ask why five times" tool, an investigation into delays led to a second investigation into sewing defects. This established that these sewing defects are caused mainly by time constraints, the malfunctioning of machines, the wrong handling of garments, and previous operations. After an investigation using the above tools it was established that these defects could be addressed by setting realistic targets, doing regular maintenance on machines, cautioning operators to be more careful during their operations, and encouraging regular checks on garments before the next operation. The action learning methodology led to the following lessons; selecting a correct measuring tool is important, that not all tools need to be used, and that it takes time to do a research project using this method.