The Use and Impact of Manufacturing Productivity Improvement Tools and Methodologies within the Automotive Component Industry

  •  Robert Trimble    
  •  Keith Copeland    
  •  John MacIntyre    
  •  Peter Smith    


This paper presents the results of a study which was undertaken with the overarching objective of investigating the use and impact of manufacturing productivity improvement approaches within automotive component suppliers. It has the specific aims of identifying (i) the level of understanding and use of continuous improvement tools and management methodologies within organisations and (ii) the factors which could contribute to them failing to achieve the results expected. The results of a survey of 161 automotive suppliers are presented. The survey investigated all elements of selection, training and implementation of tools and methodologies. This paper highlights that the adoption of continuous improvement tools and methodologies is widespread and discusses the relatively high failure rates. The reasons which may contribute to failure are presented and discussed, with the major findings being a lack of suitable resources, a lack of understanding and training within senior personnel and a non-strategic approach to the application of tools and methodologies.

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