Viability of Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques in the Apparel Industry in Sri Lanka
Lean Manufacturing can be considered as a business strategy which was originated and developed in Japan. It tries to identify waste and eliminate it. Thus it leads to improvement in productivity and quality and companies can achieve a competitive advantage over others. Sri Lankan industries, especially apparel sector have attempted to implement this, but a little research work is carried out in regarding its suitability. This research is an attempt to identify a suitable Lean model for the apparel industry in Sri Lanka. As the initial stage of this study, a literature review is carried out to study about the Lean Manufacturing. It starts by looking at how Lean Manufacturing first began. Then it seeks to identify the core principles, tools and techniques and how those tools and techniques are currently being used worldwide. After studying the global scenario the next step is to look at the Sri Lankan context using real world data. This was undertaken by means of structured surveys, observations, and on site interviews. Also the study will reveal period of Lean implementation, suitable implementation methods, order of implementation, tools which are avoided, sustainability of different tools, challenges faced, ways of overcoming challenges and benefits achieved after applying Lean Manufacturing concepts in the apparel sector of Sri Lanka. The findings state Lean Manufacturing can be applied to mass production apparel industries and has created a positive mindset on employees. As implementation of Lean concepts is still in developmental stage, the full benefit is not yet achieved. But current situation suggests that the industry can go forward with Lean and capitalize on its full potential. In this research the authors have proposed a model which can be used to implement Lean in a systematic manner and each manufacturer must develop their own Lean system through training, experiments, employee empowerment, right leadership and kaizen mindset. Originality of the research— The research builds up a Lean Model which is not yet developed for the apparel sector in Sri Lanka. It can be further modified to suit the global apparel industry and other industries as well.
S.K.P.N. Silva et al., "Viability of Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques in the Apparel Industry in Sri Lanka", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 110-116, pp. 4013-4022, 2012