The implementation of Just In Time manufacturing through team leaders
This thesis examines the implementation of Just In Time manufacturing through team leaders. Western industry has failed to achieve the performance benefits experienced in Japan with the introduction of Just In Time, a manufacturing system based on the relentless elimination of waste. Criticism is emerging of the experience of employees of Just In Time. It is argued that stress levels are high and motivation is low. However, Just In Time relies on a new, more active, role for employees. A contradiction is apparent between the needs of Just In Time, in terms of the role played by employees, and the reality of their experience of a Just In Time working environment. Resolving this contradiction, while improving industrial performance, is the subject of this research. The research draws on knowledge from a wide range of fields. Work on Just In Time is combined with work on employee motivation, and the management of change. The role of the team leader emerges as a critical factor in the review of the literature. The implementation of Just In Time, through a focus on team leaders, utilising knowledge gained from socio-technical systems is tested in a year long, action research project with Alcan Aluminiurn at their Banbury extrusions factory. Survey evidence is gathered to analyse its impact. The results suggest that companies will benefit from the utilisation of the approach developed; the implementation of Just In Time through team leaders. There is substantial scope for further work to develop this approach to the implementation of Just In Time and to explore its application in other forms of change.