Mechanisation: A Radical Approach for Improvement in a Selected Automotive Assembly Organisation in South Africa

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Robert Walter Dumisani Zondo


The increased practice of mechanisation in the execution of tasks in the manufacturing sector, as a method for productivity improvement through standard time achievement and downtime reduction, requires changes in layout and the application of robotics capabilities. In this way, using layout designs for optimum assembly process optimises the assembly process.  Hence, this study examines the adoption of mechanisation for quality improvement and downtime reduction in a selected automotive assembly organisation in South Africa.

The study was quantitative in design and examined the production process of the selected automotive assembly organisation that had adopted a mechanised system for quality improvement in its roof process in the weld plant.  The company, which operates a three-shift system, is situated in the eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.  The study was achieved by collecting pre- and post-quarterly data for product quality, defects per unit and downtime.  The results indicate that downtime and product quality improved as a result of mechanisation.  Through mechanisation, the organisation has made technological changes in their processes that have led to opportunities for greater flexibilities.  This study uncovers the strengths and weaknesses of mechanisation in this automotive assembly organisation in South Africa. 

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