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A Survey on Adoption of Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques in Sugar Processing Industries in Kenya

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Industrial Engineering Letters

Abstract

The study sought to examine the extent to which lean manufacturing tools and techniques are adopted by sugar processing industries in Kenya and their impact on factory time efficiency. The study was a survey covering five sugar processing industries which approved the study and those that have been in operation for more than three years. Purposive sampling was used to select a sample of 135 employees from production, engineering and quality assurance departments. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire consisting mainly of closed-ended questions and was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The motivation of the study was based on the contribution of the sugar sector to the Kenyan economy. The research revealed that companies in the sugar sector in Kenya have not given attention to all the key areas of lean manufacturing from a holistic perspective. The industry has only adopted practices related to lean manufacturing and there was little impact of these practices to factory time efficiency. Conclusions drawn from the research was that sugar processing industries in Kenya lack understanding of lean manufacturing concepts and have therefore not reaped the full benefits of lean implementation. Recommendations made were that the sugar industries in Kenya need a focused training on lean manufacturing to enable better understanding of lean manufacturing concepts among personnel and then give attention to the implementation of all areas of lean manufacturing from a holistic perspective for the industry to reap full benefits. The research has provided insights into the implementation of lean practices in a Kenyan context using survey data as opposed to case studies. Several practices and activities were selected associated with lean manufacturing and not specific to the sugar industry in Kenya. However, there may be other practices and activities that could be related to lean manufacturing and more relevant to the sugar sector that were not included in the study. There has been very little research in the area of lean manufacturing and therefore need for further research not only in the sugar sector but also in other areas of the Kenyan economy. Keywords: Lean manufacturing, sugar processing industries, lean tools and techniques, Kenyan economy.

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