Title page for ETD etd-11212011-143915

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Prinsloo, Caroline
Email caroline@beefcor.com
URN etd-11212011-143915
Document Title The interactive contribution of resources with regard to the operation and outputs of a clothing production system
Degree MConsumer Science
Department Consumer Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof A C Erasmus Co-Supervisor
Mrs B M Jacobs Supervisor
  • optimum utilisation of resources
  • physical resources
  • operational resources
  • human resources
  • systems theory
  • South African clothing production
Date 2011-09-09
Availability unrestricted
The clothing and textile industry has a significant impact on the world economy and has secured itself as one of the six most important industries in South Africa. This industry faces many challenges and over the years has been branded by economical changes, company closure, extensive job losses, low productivity, lack of investment in machinery, intensive competition from low-priced imports, trends toward outsourcing and growth in the informal sector (Pride & Ferrell, 1993:34). All of these factors had a direct impact on the South African clothing industry’s overall output. This study’s focus is primarily on the South African clothing production industry that has, despite its prominence in the country’s economy, shown considerable decline in the last decade. For South African clothing production to survive, it is important to connect to global value chains and to increase exports. To do this, clothing manufacturers and operational managers have to improve operational productivity and overall plant performance. Although companies are unable to control external and environmental factors, they can adjust internal factors within the company. Therefore this study explores the utilisation of a company’s resources in relation to their productivity.

In this study the aim was to explore and describe the interactive contribution of resources (human, operational and physical) with regard to the operation and outputs of a South African clothing production system from a management’s and employees’ perspectives to formulate recommendations whereby the clothing industry could become more competitive in the current cut-throat environment.

A clothing production company can be viewed as a social system with constant interaction with the environment. It does not operate in a vacuum and consists of a collection of interrelated parts of various subsystems (Spears & Gregoire 2004:24). The systems theory was adapted as a theoretical framework for this study, as it provides a basis for understanding how the various interactive resources are interrelated to the clothing production system and contribute to the overall outputs thereof (Spears & Gregoire, 2004:24). A case study research design was followed, which permitted a more flexible and multi-perspective approach to understand the phenomena under study (Maree, 2007:5). A combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques was used with relevant data analysis procedures. The unit of analysis was a clothing production company in the Bronkhorstspruit area in Gauteng. The operational management, line supervisors as well sewing machine and cutting room operators participated in the study. Purposive sampling was used to select the case, and the individuals within the case study (Babbie & Mouton, 2003:166). Individual interviews were held with the operational management. From the focus group interviews, with the line supervisors, a questionnaire was developed. The sewing machine and cutting room operators participated in the completion of the questionnaire. Qualitative data analysis was done on the interviews and focus group interviews according to Miles and Huberman’s (1994:10) data analysis process. Overall 137 questionnaires were completed and was thereafter analysed by a statistician.

Findings indicated that the internal resources in this factory were interrelated. Thus the optimisation of each resource individually contributed to a more efficient overall production output. Human resources were the core and heartbeat of any production company. Employees’ needed, employees’ satisfaction, training, and communication and feedback were crucial for optimal outputs. Resources that had a direct relation to human resources were performance appraisal, motivation, training and ergonomics. Optimum training was facilitated by motivating workers. Performance appraisal was directly influenced by training as management trained employees through a performance appraisal system. When the trained employees knew how to operate their equipment effectively it contributed to ergonomic posture and the optimum usage of equipment. Thus all four of these resources were closely interrelated on all levels. Operational and physical resources (technology, production planning, material handling and production system used) were all related to ergonomics and indirectly related to the other human resources mentioned. Quality control was incorporated into all the resources within the company and played a role within the use of every one of the above-mentioned resources. Human resources implemented quality control in their work on hand, which was facilitated by technology, production planning, material handling and the production system used.

An investigation of a single resource would therefore not have reflected a true scenario in terms of strengths and shortcomings that could be attended to, to improve the outputs of a clothing production system. This study revealed the pertinence of all of the resources in terms of the success of a clothing production system but clearly indicated that failure to control one resource could jeopardise the entire system unless other resources are able to compensate for such shortcomings. In this particular study the potential role of human resources in terms of the success of a clothing production system was confirmed. Although not conducive in the long term, when properly trained and well-treated, employees could be motivated to overcome frustrations caused by poor working conditions created by poor ergonomic features and dated machinery. The hierarchy of resources and the interactive contribution of resources towards the output of the system should therefore be understood and acknowledged by management in order to succeed and to survive in a cut throat industry.

© 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Prinsloo, C 2011, The interactive contribution of resources with regard to the operation and outputs of a clothing production system, MConsumer Science dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11212011-143915 / >


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