n South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences - A Lean Six Sigma framework to enhance the competitiveness in selected automotive component manufacturing organisations - original research

Volume 21 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1015-8812
  • E-ISSN: 2222-3436



Background: Currently, globalisation, economic uncertainty and fluctuating market demands prompt leaders all over the world to improve their operations and to enhance innovations in processes, products and services in a very reactive manner. Literature shows that the adoption of an integrated Lean Six Sigma tool can assist them to compete with the rest of the world in a manner where productivity, quality and operational costs reduction are crucial for economic success. 

Aim: This article investigates the integration of Lean and Six Sigma tools as a unified approach to continuous improvement and develops a Lean Six Sigma framework for selected automotive component manufacturing organisations in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. 

Method: The quantitative methods of research were adopted. The target population (42) was organisations within the Durban Automotive Cluster of which five were used for the pilot work. An empirical study was conducted using a survey questionnaire in measurable format to gather practical information from the sample organisations on the status of their existing business improvement programmes and quality practices. 

Results: The results of the study demonstrated that the organisations had a very low success rate of Lean and Six Sigma adoption as standalone systems, as they found it difficult to maintain the transition from theory to practice. 

Conclusion: Hence the adoption of an integrated Lean Six Sigma approach was absent and it can be concluded that the proposed Lean Six Sigma framework affords the KZN automotive sector a unique opportunity to integrate and operate with both tools of quality that complement its management style and industry demands.

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