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Effectiveness of lean manufacturing layout of a firm within the apperal industry in Sri Lanka - A case Study

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EFFECTIVENESS OF LEAN MANUFACTURING LAYOUT OF A FIRM WITHIN
THE APPAREL INDUSTRY OF SRI LANKA: A CASE STUDY
R. M. D. K.Ratnayake1, V. Dinosha2
1Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Management, University College Dublin
2Department of Industrial Management, Faculty of Management, National School of Business Management
Abstract
The study is based on Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer ABC and its SBU of Best Clothing to identify
the effectiveness of a lean layout. Apparel export industry is the most important and dynamic
contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy. The share of the world market clothes and its share of exports of
Sri Lanka are steadily losing since 2000. The imports to US from Sri Lanka have reduced by 1 % in
2015.
The time has come for Sri Lanka to look beyond the ordinary clothes and move from low -cost
strategy. Retailers are demanding more on increasing for short lead times, to meet the customer
demand. They prefer in maintaining a low inventory, material just in time at a low cost as to reduce
the tax and increasing interest rates. Effective facility layout design reduces manufacturing lead time,
increases the quantity and efficiency of the plant.
In today’s society no style longs for more than a week. Four fashion seasons namely spring, summer,
fall, winter is blending out 52 "micro-seasons" per year. For a style changeover, an effective layout is
set to reduce the loss in efficiency because it will minimize the changeover time by developing multi
skilled employees and easy changeover of machines with the size of the layout.
Therefore, the findings of this research show that there are two aspects that must be fulfilled for a lean
layout to be effective. They are better organizational performance and contented employees. The
organizational performance was measured using quality, speed, flexibility, dependability and cost.
The employee contentment was measured using safety and ergonomics, income generated,
relationship and support received from superiors, peers and supporting department, opportunity for
skill development and career growth.
Key Words: Apparel Industry, Lean Layout, Retailers, Lead Time, Organizational Performance,
Contented Employees
Introduction
The researcher has chosen this topic to study the effectiveness of Lean manufacturing layout of a firm
within the apparel industry of Sri Lanka. The research is focused on a famous Sri Lankan apparel
manufacturer ABC and its SBU of Best Clothing. ABC holdings, one of the South Asia’s largest
intimate-apparel manufacturers, operating in 5 countries with more than 50,000 employees are based
in Sri Lanka. The company has reached great mile stones in its lean journey and has done vivid
improvements to the process and one of them is the lean manufacturing layout. Currently they are
using 18 lean layout and 33 other types of layouts. They have not clearly identified the real benefits of
the lean manufacturing layout. They are operating this method on the trial and error basis and have a
need to find out the effectiveness of this layout type. In the economic environment the apparel
industry whose direct customers are retailers, demand is increasing for short lead times and prefer in
maintaining a low inventory and need material just in time at a low cost as to reduce the tax and
increasing interest rates. Shorter lead times avoid losing business, and increase cash flow, having a
continuous fast turnaround helps businesses gain grip and outpace their competitors. In the social
environment, fashion trends in today’s society no style longs for more than a week, according
Elizabeth Clines Four fashion seasons namely spring, summer, fall and winter is blending out 52
"micro-seasons" per year. With the new trends coming out every week, the goal of fast fashion is for
consumers to buy as many garments as possible. Hence the central theme of the study was to “Identify
the effectiveness of lean manufacturing layout in the organization” with its specific objectives to;
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Ascertain the layout type that contributes highest to the organization performance.
Determine the employee’s contentment working in lean layout.
Identify the relationship between employee contentment and lean layout effectiveness.
There were few limitations as limited literature that was available on this research topic and they were
not freely accessible so the researcher has used the free sources to collect literature and this study is
only done focusing on one organization SBU and the limited time.
Literature Review
Lean
Lean is defined as: “an integrated socio-technical system whose main objective is to eliminate waste
by concurrently reducing or minimising supplier, customer, and internal variability” (Shah and Ward,
2007). “Lean production” which is a western version of the Toyota production system (TPS)
introduced in Toyota Japan (Womack et al., 1990). Lean mainly focuses on eliminating wastes or
Muda (Japanese term for waste) in the production process. There are seven types of waste that can be
seen in an organization. They are Transportation (Unnecessary movement of the materials), Inventory
(Materials not used to current orders), Motion (unnecessary movement of employees while they are
working), Waiting (Waiting to begin the process), Over production, over processing (Doing more than
what customer has requested and defects) (Womack and Jones, 2003)
Lean Layout
Lean layout also called as cellular manufacturing, a cell is a combination of people, equipment and
workstations organized in the order of process to flow, to manufacture all or part of a production unit.
It helps in reducing the work in process inventory in the layout by setting up a balanced flow of
materials from machine to machine, Improved communication between the employees, better
scheduling and material flow, better utilization of the machines, better surfacing of the problems with
low work in process in layout, Reduces the throughput time and finally it helps in capability
development of employees through multi skilling them. (Heizer and Render, 2003)
Organization Performance
Performance measures are categorized as financial performance measures and non-financial
performance measures (Hall, 2008). In modular manufacturing in garment industries five performance
objectives are quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost (Sudharshan & Rao, 2013).
Employee Contentment
The term contentment or employee satisfaction refers to as “the combination of affective reactions to
the differential perceptions of what he/she wants to receive compared with what he/she actually
receives”. Therefore, it is necessary that the organizations to source the employee expectations as to
approach the employee satisfaction. (Judge, Cranny, Smith, & Stone, 1994)
Employee contentment is affected by many things such as salary, communication, autonomy, working
environment, and organizational commitment. Safety and ergonomics are considered as factors that
determines employee contentment at the layout. The relationship between peers, superiors and other
department in a particular type of layout affect employee contentment (Friedlander and Margulies,
1969).
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Conceptual Framework of the Research
Figure 3 - conceptual Model
Source- Conceptualized by the Author
H1: There is a positive relationship between organizational performance and lean layout
effectiveness
H2: There is a positive relationship between contended Employees and lean layout effectiveness
Methodology
Research Design
This study was mainly a quantitative research in descriptive format that uses relatively less complex
and common statistical tools such as descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis and correlation
coefficients.
Population and Sampling
In this study, the author has taken Best Clothing of ABC Holdings which is located in pallekele as the
population and strategic business unit or SBU of linea clothing is selected as the sample to measure
the hypothesis. To measure the organizational performance variables, all the available layout types in
that SBU is selected and the internal data base of “SAP data base” and direct observation has used to
measure the organizational performance.
In order to measure the employee contentment, the author carried out a survey using a questionnaire.
Five likert scale questions are included in the questionnaire. To identify sample population to do the
survey on employee contentment a simple random sampling is done among team members who are
currently working in those layouts. Sample size was 84 team members working in three layouts at
Lean Layout effectiveness
H1- Better results on organizational Performance
Quality
Speed
Dependability
Flexibility
Cost
H2- Contended employees
Safe and ergonomical layout
Increased relationship and support
Generate better income
Opportunity for skill development
and career growth
Independent Variables
Dependent Variable
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Best Clothing. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression Analysis and Correlation coefficients
comparison are used to analyze the data.
Operationalization
Table 1: Operationalization
Hypothesis
Variable
Indicator
Measurement
1
Organizational
performance
decides the
effectiveness of
the lean layout
Quality
AQL(Acceptance
Quality Limit) failure
rate-
(Number of pieces
quality failed against the
manufactured pieces)
Percentage
(The lower
the better)
Speed
Throughput time-
(The time lapse for a
piece to go from input to
output of the module)
Minutes
(The lower
the better)
Work in progress in
module/layouts-
(Number of pieces
resting on machine table
without adding value)
Number of
pieces
(The lower
the better)
Dependability
On time delivery to
customer-(Number of
orders reach the
customer required date
from the total placed
orders)
Percentage
(The higher
the better)
Flexibility
Change over time-
(Time taken from the
last piece of the previous
style to the first good
piece of the new style)
Minutes
(The lower
the better)
Cost
Standard hours -
(Number of hours
manufactured by
employee)
Hours
(The higher
the better)
2
Contentment of
employees
decide the
effectiveness of
the lean layout
Safety and
ergonomics
Safe and ergonomical
lean layout makes
employees contended
Likert scale
1-5*
relationship
and support
from the
peers,
superiors and
other
departments
Increased relationship,
support from the peers,
superiors and other
departments in a lean
layout makes employees
contended
Likert scale
1-5*
21
Income levels
High income levels in
lean layout makes
employees contended
Likert scale
1-5*
skill
development
and career
growth
opportunities
Increased skill
development and career
growth opportunities in
lean layout makes
employees contended
Likert scale
1-5*
questionnaire
*5=Strongly Disagree, 4=Disagree, 3=neither agree nor disagree, 2=Agree, 1=Strongly Agree
Source-Authors work
Result / Discussion / Analysis
To Ascertain The Layout Type That Contributes Highest To The Organization Performance. (SAP
data base)
According to the structured questions asked 100% of the participants mentioned that there are 3 types
of layouts. They are: Lean layout, Zig Zag layout, Straight line layout
The below are the designs of these types of layout.
Figure 4 -Zig zag layout design
Source-Authors work
Figure 6 Straight line layout design
Source-Authors work
Table 3-Summary of the performance objective rankings
Performance
objective
Measurable
Lean Layout
Zig zag layout
Straight line
layout
Quality
AQL
1
2
3
Speed
Through put time
2
3
1
Speed
WIP
2
3
1
Figure 5 -Lean layout design
Source-Authors work
22
Dependability
OTD
1
2
2
Flexibility
Changeover time
1
3
2
Cost
Standard Hours
1
3
2
Average rank
1.3
2.7
1.8
Final Rank
1st
3rd
2nd
Source-Authors work
According to the above table the highest contributing model to organization performance is lean
manufacturing layout as it has the lowest ranking average of 1, then the straight line layout and finally
the zig zag layout. So it can be concluded that lean layout is the highest contributing layout type to the
organization.
To Determine the Employee’s Contentment Working In Lean Layout.
The below shows the summary of employee agreeability of the above factors.
Table 4 -Employee agreeability on contentment working in lean layout
Variable
Mean value
Level of agreeability
Lean layout is Safe and ergonomical
2.3
Agree
Increased relationship and support from the
peers, superiors and other departments is in
lean layout
1.8
Agree
Working in lean layout Generate better
income
2
Agree
Lean layout gives Opportunity for skill
development and career growth
1.8
Agree
Employee are contended working in lean
layout (Average)
1.975
Agree
Source-Authors work
According to the above table it can be concluded that employees are contended working in lean layout
as the average of the mean value of the four variables that determines the employee contentment is 2
or agree as the rating scale taken.
4.3 To Identify The Relationship Between Employee Contentment Working In A Lean Layout To The
Variables, Safety And Ergonomics, Income Level, Relationship With Other And Skill Development
And Career Growth.
Table 5 -Hypothesis results
Variables
P value
Pearson
correlation
Strength of
correlation
H1- safety and ergonomics of lean layout
impact Contentment of employees
.000
.470**
Weak positive
relationship
H2-Relationship built and support received
in lean layout impact Contentment of
employees
.000
.529**
Moderate
positive
relationship
23
H3-Income generated in lean layout impact
Contentment of employees
.002
.332**
Weak positive
relationship
H4- Skill development and career growth
opportunity in lean layout impact
Contentment of employees
.000
.528**
Moderate
positive
relationship
Source-Authors work
According to the above table it is seen that all 4 variables taken to analyse has positive relationship or
positive impact to the employee contentment of working in lean layout.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Since this study has focused on lean layout effectiveness, it can be concluded that the lean layout is
effective and can be rolled throughout the organization and in other SBU’s as well. Following
recommendations are suggested to the organization and to its stakeholders.
WIP reduction-The WIP levels of the lean layout is comparatively higher than the straight
line layout. According to the lean principles, work in progress is a waste and it hides
problems. If this is reduced, problems can be revealed quickly and solved timely.
Unwanted motions, absenteeism, poor line balancing have noticed as the causes for this. Time
and motion study can be done to create a proper visual process so that unnecessary
movements can be eliminated. Make multi-skilled employees to work in a stable, reliable
manufacturing process that consistently produces a quality product within the agreed-upon
lead time. Job rotations can be done to make the employees aware on each of the production
stage.
Improving the throughput time-The throughput time of the lean layout is high compared to
other types of layout this can also be a result of the work in process of the module, as to
improve the through put time the organization can consider the line balancing or do time
studies and method studies in order to improve the throughput time of the layout. When
employees lack the necessary training, they may struggle to find improvements that they can
make. Worse yet, undertrained employees may accidentally create delays because they don’t
understand the entirety of the production process and how a change or adjustment saves them
a minute creates 5 minutes of extra work for someone else. Therefore, proper training and
development is required.
Reduce the changeover Time-Increased changeover time result in loss in standard hours
produced according to experts, currently at the lean layout there is a changeover time of
average 25 minutes this can be improved by preparing on machine setting and training of
team members earlier to the changeover so it will reduce the changeover time, also the
researcher would like to suggest to do an activity analysis to study the reasons for the
changeover time and improve it more.
Improve housekeeping in modules-The researcher observed deviations in housekeeping
practices in the layout, there were no standards created to keep materials, and the cleanliness
of the shop floor to be improved. The researcher would suggest demarcating the floor areas
and aware the team on housekeeping practices, according to the lean house of Toyota
production system housekeeping is a foundation to build a lean organization.
Improve safety conditions in lean Layout-According to the questionnaire results the
average for the question “Lean layout creates no accident” is where employees don’t agree or
disagree, but 15 (18%) of the respondents have disagreed with this statement, so the
researcher would suggest the organization to further study on what areas the safety to be
improved and give the necessary precautions in improving safety at the layout.
24
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... The study was based on Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer XYZ and its SBU of Best Clothing because it is the most dynamic and vital contributor to Sri Lanka's economy (Ratnayake & Dinosha, 2018). Ratnayake and Dinosha (2018) noted the significant loss of share of the world market clothes and their share of exports in Sri Lanka. Thus, the imports to the US from Sri Lanka reduced by one percent in the year 2015. ...
... The authors further measured the organizational performance using cost, speed, dependability, quality, flexibility, and speed (Ratnayake & Dinosha, 2018). Also, the employee contentment was measured using income generated, career growth, the opportunity for skill development, safety and ergonomics, peers and supporting department, relationship, and support received from superiors. ...
... The cellular layout was used in Sri Lanka apparel export industry to identify its effectiveness. The study was based on Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer XYZ and its SBU of Best Clothing because it is the most dynamic and vital contributor to Sri Lanka's economy (Ratnayake & Dinosha, 2018). Ratnayake and Dinosha (2018) noted the significant loss of share of the world market clothes and their share of exports in Sri Lanka. ...
... The study was based on Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer XYZ and its SBU of Best Clothing because it is the most dynamic and vital contributor to Sri Lanka's economy (Ratnayake & Dinosha, 2018). Ratnayake and Dinosha (2018) noted the significant loss of share of the world market clothes and their share of exports in Sri Lanka. Thus, the imports to the US from Sri Lanka reduced by one percent in the year 2015. ...
... The authors further measured the organizational performance using cost, speed, dependability, quality, flexibility, and speed (Ratnayake & Dinosha, 2018). Also, the employee contentment was measured using income generated, career growth, the opportunity for skill development, safety and ergonomics, peers and supporting department, relationship, and support received from superiors. ...
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Additional problems and exercises for Operations Management, sixth edition; and Principles of Operations Management
  • J Heizer
  • B Render
Heizer, J., & Render, B. (2003). Additional problems and exercises for Operations Management, sixth edition; and Principles of Operations Management, fourth edition (6th ed., pp. 345-346). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Apparel Textiles
Textiles and Apparel. (2016). Otexa.trade.gov. Retrieved 6 April 2016, from http://otexa.trade.gov Womack, J., & Jones, D. (2003). Lean thinking (1st ed., p. 400). London: Free Press.