Original Research

Influence of a shop floor management system on labour productivity in an automotive parts manufacturing organisation in South Africa

Robert W.D. Zondo
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 23, No 1 | a3269 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v23i1.3269 | © 2020 Robert W.D. Zondo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 July 2019 | Published: 18 February 2020

About the author(s)

Robert W.D. Zondo, Department of Entrepreneurial Studies and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Background: South Africa’s labour productivity at the shop floor remains an issue of central concern for business. It plays a role in the life of every person and the performance of every business, thus requiring the business to solve problems at the shop floor level. This sentiment underpins the concept of a shop floor management (SFM) system. An SFM system refers to the extent of control exercised at the shop floor level for commitment and involvement of shop floor employees aimed at improving productivity. It is a process that facilitates employee engagement.

Aim: This study examines the influence of an SFM system for productivity improvement in automotive parts manufacturing companies in South Africa. Productivity in the South African’s manufacturing sector is low compared to its counterpart industries in the Asian and Western countries. This sector experiences the lack in short to medium term growth in productivity.

Setting: The automotive parts manufacturing company that has adopted an SFM strategy for productivity improvement participated in the study.

Methods: The study objectives were achieved by examining the production and related experiences in the company. The collection of data was carried out in two phases. This includes the collection of results pre and post-SFM implementation from company records for spoilage, absenteeism and housekeeping rates. The pre-SFM results were quarterly data reflecting the company’s performance over the three-year period prior to the implementation of the SFM. This company operates in the eThekwini District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

Results: The study established that housekeeping and SFM have no relation to labour productivity. However, it revealed the relationship of both absenteeism and spoilage rates with labour productivity.

Conclusion: SFM is an employee engagement process that creates a working environment that encourage worker participation and commitment.

Contribution: The original value of this paper is its approach in uncovering strengths and weaknesses of SFM for productivity in South Africa.


Automotive parts manufacturing organisation; employee shop floor engagement; employee motivation; labour productivity; shop floor management.


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Crossref Citations

1. Shopfloor Management – A Tool of Lean Management
Lars Christopher Wester, Milos Hitka
Management Systems in Production Engineering  vol: 30  issue: 3  first page: 238  year: 2022  
doi: 10.2478/mspe-2022-0030