Many organizations claim that their main focus is on customers' satisfaction. However, they do not possess a clear system that can gauge the level of customer satisfaction. As a result, most of these organizations are unable to control the results they value. Some of the valued aspects within an organization include customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and cash flow. The concept of Six Sigma entails a system of management that focuses on customer satisfaction (Thomas, Francis, Fisher & Byard, 2016). The main goal of Six Sigma is to ensure that better financial results are realized. Lean manufacturing, on the other hand, entails a practice of production that that takes into account how resources are spent within an organization for any other reason that does not involve value creation for the end customer. Therefore, lean manufacturing main objective is to ensure that wasting resources is minimized within an organization (Sheffield, 2018). The concept of Six Sigma and lean manufacturing are similar with the difference being that the implementation of lean manufacturing focuses specifically on waste elimination.
Lean Six Sigma and lean manufacturing share a lot in common. In this view, they are both focused on creating customers' value. But different strategies used in their successful implementation can be combined together (Lawless, 2016). The main focus of Lean is to eliminate processes and activities that do not add value to the customer while the application of Six Sigma is intended to ensure the improvement of activities that entails ensuring quality through focusing on customers' satisfaction in the daily operations of the company.
Namibia CNC bolts manufacturer is one of the branches of the main German CNC manufacturer based in Namibia. The company operates mainly on imported nuts and bolts and making of machines and other tools. The company's production has been stretched successfully to offer a variety of products which include type wheel markers, stylus markers as well as laser marking and camera reading systems (Shagluf, Longstasff & Fletcher, 2014). However, it is not clear to what extent the company has applied the creative lean Six Sigma regarding its engineering manufacturing. This research, therefore, is intended to evaluate the application of the concept Lean Six Sigma in the operations of Namibia CNC bolt manufacture and make recommendations on areas that require improvement in efforts to ensure customer satisfaction.
Research Problem Statement
Manufacturing of bolts has some peculiarities such as the considerable lot-size and high production levels. For example, because of the high demand for machine parts German CNC bolts manufacturer always requests their Namibian branch to assist with manufacturing of these components. These components include special bolts, nuts, and pins. However, the Namibian branch still lacks the capacity to produce high levels of products as characterized by the bolt manufacturing industry. There is no robot arm at Namibia CNC bolts manufacturer. The robot arm could have made their work easier fast and accurate. Since they have skilled workers to program CNC it would not be a challenging thing to program a robot arm. The robot arm will be putting/ removing workpieces/finish products in/from the CNC machines. The Lean Six-Sigma has been used to increase the production of bolts and reduction of costs. Therefore, this research will explore the role of the lean six-sigma methodology in bolt manufacturing in the Namibian CNC. The problem of the research project is to develop a feasible way to impact the lean six sigma knowledge, principles, and tools to the real production and processing manufacturing through hands-on exercise.
- RQ1: How is SixSigma used at Namibia CNC bolts manufacturer to enhance optimal utilization of resources?
- RQ2: What is the role of Lean Six-Sigma at Namibia CNC bolts manufacturer to enhance customer satisfaction?
- To find out how Lean Six-Sigma is used at Namibia CNC bolt manufacturer in efforts to minimize wastage of resources.
- To determine the role of Lean Six-Sigma at Namibia CNC bolt manufacturer in creating value for customers.
The significance of the Research
The research will embark on developing and testing Lean Six Sigma exercises. The research will add to the literature the fundamentals of Lean Six Sigma as used in the bolt manufacturer. The Namibian CNC branch lacks the capacity to produce high levels of products needed in the bolt manufacturing industry. Besides, there is no robot arm at Namibia CNC bolts manufacturer which could make their work easier, fast and accurate. Therefore, this study will focus on the importance of the Lean Six-Sigma methodology and give suggestions on how it can be used effectively to reduce the production costs of a bolts manufacturer by increasing the volume produced. The project aims at suggesting ways to improve some parameters of the processes associated with its manufacture.
Thomas et al. (2016) conducted a case study on the implementation of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) to overcome challenges of production in aerospace manufacturing company. They highlighted the key steps of the framework analyzing the effectiveness of the model and challenges met in its application. It was observed that when the LSS framework is implemented, significant improvements in business performance was achieved. On a similar note, Shagluf, Longstaff, & Fletcher (2014) investigated the feasibility of producing a concise yet effective framework that will provide framework that would provide a preliminary approach for integrating LSS philosophies to certain goals of reducing unnecessary downtime on machine manufacturing at the same time maintaining the ability to work to the required tolerance. They agreed that machine tool accuracy is very important for high-value manufacturing. However, over-measurement of machines to ensure accuracy reduces the production volume. Another research conducted to develop an innovative and creative hands-on project based on Lean Six Sigma experiments for engineering education at the College of Engineering at the University of Hail. To provide the student with solid experience in waste elimination and variation reduction and to engage students in exercises relating to assembly line mass production and motion study.
The study adopted a design for manufacturing washers, bolts, and nuts (WBN) assembly junction box described it as a hands-on tool for students of industrial engineering at the University of Hail. The junction box assembly was designed with a thorough understanding of the downstream manufacturing process and the assembly procedures were modified by the assembly team based on the feedback provided by the manufacturing designer. The variation of the WBN in junction box assembly enabled the teams to conduct several hands-on exercises in multiple concepts related to Lean Six Sigma such as 1. Manufacturing process flow, variation journal development, and waste identification 2. Visual control, 5S, waste elimination 3. Pull production system 4. Work standardization 5. DMAIC junction box assembly consists of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control the Six-Sigma approach. This study consolidates the efficiency and the excellence of the DMAIC methodology, providing arguments to demonstrate its usefulness for the implementation of improvements, both in terms of quality and in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes. This case reveals that there exist important complementarities between the methodology used and the Lean Six-Sigma concepts when dealing with a continuous improvement project in the context of bolts manufacturing.
The level of this research is confirmatory. The benefits of Lean Six Sigma and lean manufacturing have already been proven in many studies by different researchers. Our objective is to confirm their findings using Namibia CNC Bolts as a case study. We will examine if the implementation of Lean Six Sigma and lean manufacturing techniques at Namibia CNC Bolts will ultimately lead to a reduction of wastage and higher productivity and its lack of thereof as the main cause of redundancies and lower productivity in the company. This proposed research project intends to add to the bulk of knowledge in the field of LSS and lean manufacturing.
To achieve acceptable quality assurance and the objectives of the project, the best method of approach is qualitative research. The main reason for this approach is the size of the sample. We will be sampling employees from a single firm. Our major focus is to get an insight into the whole manufacturing process of the company from the start to the end. Qualitative research does not give measurable values but it does give a full depiction and analysis of our research questions. Quantitative research narrows its focus on a specific area and that would have limited the scope of our study. Qualitative research has its shortcomings. The quality of the research depends on the skillfulness of the researcher and the outcomes may be considered non-objective due to the inherent personal biases of the researcher. However, this is appropriate for small samples and the results do not represent the wider population.
For this research, we will be using the inductive approach. In this approach, a researcher begins by making specific observations which will then be used to generate generalizations or theories and a final conclusion based on the results of the study. The main reason for choosing the inductive approach is that it focuses on areas of research that are active and is most appropriate when dealing with small samples of a population. Observation results from small samples are considered unreliable.
Data Collection method and tools
Our main mode of data collection will be in-depth interviews. In-depth interviews are private and unformatted. This method affords the researcher in close contact with the participant and consequently the researcher will be able to recognize the participants' sentiments and outlook regarding the subject matter. In-depth interviews also have a lower non-response rate. The interviewer has to establish rapport with participants prior to conducting the formal interviews. Interviewers need excellent communication skills and people skills to make interviewees feel at ease. Unstructured interviews will accord the researcher with new insights and conclusions that were not discernible from the start of the project. However other interviewees might veer off the...
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