Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Evaluation of the Nissan Plant Management System as a Global Improvement Tool and the Role of Hoshins

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Evaluation of the Nissan Plant Management System as a Global Improvement Tool and the Role of Hoshins

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper examines the Nissan Plant Management System (NPMS) as a global improvement tool and examines the roles of Hoshin kanri (policy management) in middle and shop floor management in Nissan South Africa (NSA). How Nissan achieves synchronisation with its customers and how it identifies production problems and puts solutions in place are also aspects which are investigated. The great success of Japanese management techniques such as the NPMS and the role of hoshins in this success should generally serve as an example to companies who are serious about quality outputs. Such innovative techniques can and should be applied to many industries. In a continual modality of quality improvement, workers are given both the authority and responsibility to enhance their performance and this is important for management practitioners to note if success is to be achieved.

Keywords: quality, innovation, management systems, processes, performance.

INTRODUCTION

The Japanese have for decades had a phenomenal impact on world markets. Many industries including automotive products, are either towered over by Japanese firms or are very heavily impacted upon by them. In March 1999 during a severe economic downturn, Nissan acquired large debts from imprudent keiretsu and property investments. Consequently, the company forged an alliance with the French motor vehicle manufacturer Renault. Such alliances require considerable thought and trust between partners (Gulati & Nickerson, 2008). This alliance necessitated a comprehensive review of Nissan units including its overseas' plants such as NSA. Changes were introduced, including the use of hoshin kanri (policy management auditing) in Nissan's overseas' plants, aimed especially at middle and shop-floor management. Executive teams were tasked to review the manner in which NSA personnel develop their competences for the effective management of strategic objectives at the operational level.

Nissan South Africa (NSA), which operates in an unrestricted, and highly competitive, motor vehicle market, has supplied quality vehicles to South African customers for over forty years. Originally through the importation and local assembly of completely-knocked down (CKD) vehicles, and subsequently through the establishment of manufacturing facilities at Rosslyn, near Pretoria, Nissan and its forerunner, Datsun, provide effective transport solutions for South Africans while greatly enhancing the country's motor industry. NSA has almost a 10 per cent share of the total South African vehicle market. It supplies a fully inclusive range of passenger cars, light and medium commercial vehicles and recreational and specialised vehicles manufactured in South Africa although some types are imported from sister plants around the world. NSA is presently busy in a dynamic programme of new model introductions and the company employs over 2,500 people in South Africa and 1,900 employees are in the manufacturing division, and training is therefore an important tool for driving improvement and promoting transformation. An ideal condition of manufacturing, (douki-seisan), must be reached for optimum efficiency and profits to be realized. A fixed sequence and time schedule production that supports the pipeline from order to delivery which satisfies customer needs is the desired objective. The reduction of lead-time for production and development so as to synchronize production with Nissans customers (douki) as closely as possible is critical to success. Essentially customers must receive what they order on time and in excellent condition.

A unique business model was created by the Renault- Nissan Alliance and this has built significant value for both companies. How companies approach amalgamations and alliances is very important for future success (Lavie, 2006). Both companies have integrated and evolved an effective production methodology which draws on both the Nissan Production Way and the System Production Way of Renault. …

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