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Japanese business technique to boost auto productivity

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The Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) Eastern Cape has partnered with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to roll out Kaizen, which aims to boost productivity in the auto industry.

Kaizen is a global management method that drives quality and productivity improvement. The programme will be spearheaded by the Eastern Cape’s prolific automotive manufacturing base, according to the AIDC Eastern Cape.

“We believe that South Africa can compete with India and Thailand’s automotive component industries, but we need a common vision and plan
for this to be successful in our province,’’ said AIDC Eastern Cape CEO Shenxane.

“The idea is to reach out to at least 120 Tier 2 and 3 component suppliers over the next three years,“ Shenxane said.

Dr Justin Barnes Executive Director of the Toyota Wessels Institute of Manufacturing Studies said that input was needed to remedy the very poor performance of the South African manufacturing industry.

According to Barnes, manufacturing value added per capita (MVA) barely grew in 30 years between 1990 and 2019. “If we had kept manufacturing at 1990 levels we would have employed over a million people more, ’’Barnes said.

“The manufacturing sector is shedding jobs and becoming more capital intensive at a time of employment crisis. To achieve a high-income society, the driving force is manufacturing productivity and good jobs, whereas the economy is now welfare dependent,” he said.

Barnes noted that the auto industry had performed better than the manufacturing sector in general but the dark cloud was that local content had dropped.

“South Africa’s exported vehicles service the most demanding market globally, Europe, which puts OEM and Tier 1 purchasing departments under significant quality standards
pressure, which is why we have to stimulate the domestic markets. This might allow for standards differentiation that will allow smaller firms to manufacture for the local market,’’ Barnes said.

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