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An approach to improving quality management in small manufacturing firms in the Western Cape, South Africa
The clothing industry in South Africa is historically well established and caters from basic and low cost products to high-fashion tailormade garments. In 1995, the top five retail chains (Edgars, Wooltru, Pepkor, Foschini and OK) accounted for 58 percent of clothing retail sales. Research on quality management has shown that quality management programmes are not effectively utilised within small clothing manufacturing firms in the Western Cape, The result of this - poor goods and services - has been highlighted. This leads to useful insight into critical aspects pertaining to customer satisfaction and quality service delivery.The research problem researched within the ambit of this dissertation reads as follows: “Quality management programmes are not effectively utilised within small clothing manufacturing firms in the Western Cape, resulting in poor goods and services being produced”. The primary research objectives of this study are the following: To identify key drivers underpinning complaints in small clothing manufacturing firms in the Western Cape, in terms of service delivery. To identify the benefits of using quality management tools and techniques, used currently by small clothing manufacturing firms. To determine if small clothing manufacturing firms have a strategic focus on the quality of a product that they produce. To identify a mechanism that can be deployed to promote the application of a quality management system. To identify the benefits of implementing quality management systems within a small clothing manufacturing firm.Reciprocally, the research question, which forms the crux of the research, reads as follows: “What mechanisms can be deployed to promote the application of quality management systems in the Western Cape, thus leading to an improvement of goods and services?”The application of quality management tools and techniques, such as statistical quality control and quality function deployment, has been researched in the small clothing manufacturing sector. The research leads to an improvement in the current state pertaining to quality management programmes not being effectively utilised within small clothing manufacturing firms. Mechanisms to be deployed to promote the application of quality management systems will also be identified, possible solutions found to customer complaints and problem areas addressed. In addition, the research leads to improved quality of goods and services being produced resulting in satisfied customers.