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The research exercise employed the survey method with questionnaires which were filled by managers at different levels in the company.  The main objective was to analyze waste management and decreasing lead time in a medium manufacturing company.  The questionnaires was composed of open ended questions which addressed the key areas of communication, current work issues, training and other challenges in the working environment, and the possible solutions to the prevailing issues.  After the managers were trained and equipped with the necessary information regarding lean terminologies, applications, techniques, and team dynamics.

Data analysis

            After all the questionnaires were filled up, a thorough check was performed for each completed questionnaire. This was done to check for missing data, and factual gaps in the responses received from the participants.  After coding the questions, data from the completed questionnaires was critically analyzed. Responses to each particular question were examined and devised into categories. This data was then coded and interesting responses from the respondents was quoted in the report.  

All the responses in the questionnaires were entered into the database, and enough times was spent cleaning the data to identify inconsistencies and outliers. Frequency figures were also produced for each question. This helped to identify the outliers. Cross tabulation was also done to identify nonsensical responses.

Data coding

Thirteen identical questionnaires with 28 questions each were filled by different members of the management.  Data from the questionnaires was coded as shown below;

Question 1: 70% responded that there is work flow process that concerns them directly in their current roles and responsibilities.

Question 2: 100% of the interviewed managers responded that they have other responsibilities and roles in addition to their first role and responsibility.

Question 5: in response to whether there was some form of training in executing both primary and secondary responsibilities and roles, a 100% acknowledged to have been trained although 30% claimed that the training was not adequate especially  in secondary responsibilities and it was mostly through  observing others perform the tasks, that they were able to perform on the same.

Question 6: 90% accepted that staff training is done both locally and from external resources.

Question 7: 95% of the respondents confirmed that they are in contact with other workers or units during their normal operations.

Question 8: 100% confirmed that email and phone are the most used modes of communication, 80% further included meetings and face to face communication.

Question 9: 100% confirmed that there are loopholes and issues encountered in the course of their work. The most highlighted issues are failure of the suppliers to deliver in time, lack of timely communication, compromise on accuracy, human errors, and power outages.

Question 10: 100% were positive that there can be improvement on the issues mentioned in Question 9.

Question 11: On an overwhelming response on question 10, several ideas were suggested including holding meetings with the suppliers, improvement, having defined procedures, and level loading supplies.

Question 12: 85% suggested forgetting transaction procedures as the most frequent error in the company.

Question 13: 100% accepted that there is an annual appraisal in the company.

Question 21: 95% reported that failure and disappointment is handled positively in their respective companies.

Question 22: 100% confirmed that they were comfortable in communication with their superiors, and they were positive on the management of their company.

Question 24: 80% of the interviewed were aware of their company’s culture, 20% left the question blank.

Question 25: 90% of the interviewed felt that there is need for change in the current structure and mode of operation, with 95% confirming that they would individually embrace new ideas.

Question 27: 92% were skeptic on supporting structural change in their respective companies.

Question 28: 100% of the participants were interested in being part of change in the team. 

            The data analyzed and coded above was obtained from thirteen interviews carried out from different members of different companies.  These analyses were entered into the computer database and used to come up with the results and conclusions.

Summary

The study was successful in analyzing waste management and decreasing lead time in a medium manufacturing company. The questionnaires addressed to the managers gave a conclusive feedback on the key areas of communication, training, current work issues and challenges in the work processes and procedures, in the present and also in the future.

The open ended questions provoked interesting and comprehensive answers, suggesting that improvements were necessary in the above key areas for the company to achieve sound waste management objectives and also decrease lead in their manufacturing companies. From their response, it was clear that managers were inclined to new technology for the purpose of improving the process of waste reduction by reducing setup times, improving quality, rationalizing the supplier base, and reducing paper inventories. These methods would help reduce diseconomies arising from multiple products sharing constrained resources.

The questionnaire also gave a clear view of managers’ advocacy for change. It was also clear that there was a need for quality improvement to achieve a subsequent reduction in machine malfunctions that results into defective output. The results also indicated that there should be a substantial channeling of resources. Rework increases with batch size and improving quality allows the manufacturers to produce larger batches that are needed for wider product lines. Flexible technology subsequently reduces related costs leading to production of higher quality products.

The responses offered by the managers on the issue of commonly made errors in the workplace included time limits on research and development. This has led to inefficiency and wastage of resources at the workplace. On recommendations on solving the challenge, one respondent suggested that review of work progress be formative and continuous.

Lack of cooperation among employees was also identified as a major challenge by the managers. Team leaders and employees are given job training specifications with expectations for tremendous results. In the study for instance, work groups at the workplace are involved in processing of batch production, delivery and management failure in any of the work process ultimately ripples into greater problems in service delivery.

The managers' experiences with the employees especially in the training sessions were found to be challenging in the working group. By using actual manufacturing process in the simulation, employees identified excess product carrier movements as a waste. The simulation determined that eliminating the excess carrier movements would eliminate waste of motion, over processing, and inventory in various staging areas.

Commitment to the company’s initiatives is very fundamental in any company’s success.  The managers’ responses indicated that constant reviews should be placed to ensure that the objectives of the company are met. The reviews should be in line with the organization’s vision and missions. Communication channels should be placed to ensure that the status of projects is well-known to all employees, subsequently leading to improvements and prevention of conflicts in the organization.                                                                                                                           

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