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The Implementation of Lean Principles in the Furniture Manufacturing Sector.

In December 2022, the South African Furniture Initiative (SAFI), on behalf of the local furniture manufacturing industry, made an application to the Localisation Support Fund (LSF) to facilitate the adoption of lean manufacturing principles among a cluster of local furniture manufacturers.

Within this context, the LSF implemented a comprehensive skills development intervention, designed to impart both theoretical knowledge and practical application of lean principles within the furniture manufacturing process.

This intervention aimed to enhance operational efficiency and competitiveness in the industry, and further aimed to foster continuous improvement throughout the manufacturing value chain, drive waste reduction, and streamline processes to achieve higher productivity and product quality.

The intervention comprised the following stages:

  • Phase One: Introduction of lean principles via a series of webinars.

  • Phase Two: Implementation and tracking of lean principles on the shop floor of selected participant furniture manufacturers.

Phase One Outcomes

Through a collaborative effort, the LSF in partnership with Dizani Consulting and SAFI was able to implement and conclude Phase One of the Implementation of Lean Manufacturing principles in the furniture manufacturing sector, aimed at enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Over an eight-week period, the group completed a series of webinars on lean manufacturing. These webinars served as an interactive platform for knowledge dissemination, enabling participants to better understand the fundamental principles and methodologies that underpin lean manufacturing practices.

In addition, they had one-on-one coaching with lean manufacturing experts and engaged in a self-assessment process to ascertain existing lean manufacturing gaps within their entities based on the knowledge they had acquired.

A total of 19 furniture manufacturing entities participated in Phase One of the intervention. Among these, 12 successfully completed all the components of Phase One.

An update on Phase Two

The LSF is pleased to announce that we will soon be rolling out Phase Two - Implementation and tracking of lean principles on the shop floor of selected participant furniture manufacturers.

In this phase, all eligible participants from Phase One will benefit from dedicated and on-site expertise aimed at translating the practical knowledge they gained during the theoretical component of the intervention into tangible practical applications. The goal is to help manufacturers transform their operations using lean manufacturing principles.

This intervention by the LSF is in support of the South African Furniture Industry Masterplan whose goal is to create local capacity and capability in manufacturing. Among other goals, the Masterplan aims to reduce imports, create jobs and enhance competitiveness within the local furniture manufacturing sector.

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