6.2 Descriptive Data Analysis
This section discusses the general demographic descriptions, demographic features of the respondents, on the basis of the implementation of the four building block shop floor management tools, the two improvement practices and the improvement outcomes.
6.2.1 Demographic description
Table 6.8 shows the sample distribution of survey participants’ qualifications. 77.2%, of the participants reported that they did not attend university; followed by 21.4 % who held a bachelor degree; and a small 1.4% had a masters degree or above. All employees, irrespective of their qualifications were encouraged to contribute in individual improvement suggestions scheme and also to participate in group improvement activities.

Qualification Frequency Percentage (%)
Secondary/college or below 407 77
Bachelor Degree 113 38.3
Masters Degree or above 7 1.3
Total 527 100
Table 6.8 Sample distribution on participants’ qualification

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In the context of the position held in the company, Table 6.9 indicates that the line supervisor to shop floor worker was 1:10.2 (54 line supervisors to 446 shop floor operators). Thus, there was no considerable difference between the proportions of respondents in the ratio of line supervisors to shop floor operators and the data obtained from the joint ventures official documents for all employees (about 1:8). Additionally, Table 6.9 also exhibits that majority of the respondents (77%) were shop floor operatives, 12.9% were line supervisors and 3.2% managers. It obviously marks that Improvement activities were not dominated by the top and middle management. This is in consonancet with the ideas of Caffyn (1999), Bodek (2002), Bessant and Caffyn (1997) who opined that the employees’ total involvement was one of the critical enablers for implementing continuous improvement.

Work title Frequency Percentage (%)
Shop floor worker 415 86
Line supervisor 52 12
Manager 16 2
Total 371 100
Table 6.9 Sample distribution on participants’ work title

Work improvement experience were classified into four groups, as shown in Table
6.10 and Table 6.11. Table 6.10 shows that the majority of the respondents (72.3% = 50.4% + 13.2%+ 5.7%) had more than five years of experience working in the same organisation. 15.2% had more than ten years of experience and a further 5.7% had more than 15 years of experience. Table 6.11 depicts that 100 out of 385 respondents (25.0%) had less than five years of experience of implementing continuous improvement activities. However, the rest of the respondents (74.1% = 50.7% + 20.5% + 2.9%) had at least five years’ experience. 87 out of 527respondents (22.4% = 20. % + 2.2%) had more than ten years’ experience.

Years in the organisation Frequency Percentage (%)
Less than 5 years 220 33
Between 5 to 10 years 287 53.4
Between 10 to 15 years 52 10.2
More than 15 years 21 5.7
Total 371 100
Table 6.10 Sample distribution on participants’ working experience

Years of continuous improvement activities Frequency Percentage (%)
Less than 5 years 200 28.0
Between 5 to10 years 178 51.7
Between 10 to 15 years 85 18.3
More than 15 years 9 2
Total 502 100
Table 6.11 Sample distribution on participants’ improvement experience

Table 6.12 depicts that more than half of the respondents had participated in QCCs (51.3%). Based on the previous findings (Inoue, 1985; Lillrank and Kano, 1989; Harrington, 2006), the large number of the QCC improvement practices was most probably due to the source of the survey sample that was made from the organisations whose improvements were mainly made on a department-wide/company-wide basis for long- term changes. Nevertheless, the results also depict a similar proportion of participants (49.9%) had participated in both QCCs and Teians.

Improvement focuses Frequency Percentage (%)
QCC 270 50.7
Teians 80 12.4
About the same 152 30.9
Total 502 100
Table 6.12 Sample distribution on participants’ improvement focuses

Table 6.13 indicates that 85 % of the participants were QCC group members, and 21.3% of the respondents were QCC group leaders or facilitators. Table 6.14 shows that the majority of the QCC groups had 5 to 15 members. Around two-third (62.7%) of the participants reported that their QCC groups had 5 to 10 members, and another one-third (32.0%) had 10 to 15 members. Only a small portion of the respondents had very small or large QCC groups (0.2% and 3.0% respectively). This result is in consonance with other studies (Lillrank and Kano, 1989; Honda Motor, 1998).

QCC group position Frequency Percentage (%)
Member 303 81.7
Leader/facilitator 68 18.3
Total 371 100
Table 6.13 Sample distribution on participants’ QCC group position

QCC group size Frequency Percentage (%)
Less than 5 persons 1 0.3
Between 5 to10 persons 229 61.7
Between 10 to 15 persons 126 34.0
More than 15 persons 15 4.0
Total 371 100
Table 6.14 Sample distribution on participants’ QCC group size

Table 6.15 shows that 292 out of 502 (33.4%) respondents revealed that QCC members were mostly from the same area, 102 (23.0%) reported that most participants were from different areas, and the rest of the 198 (39.6%) the group was equally distributed. Wood and Munshi (1991), advise that this might be due to the organisations focused upon department-wide/company-wide changes which needed cross-functional improvement ideas.

QCC membership Frequency Percentage (%)
Mainly from the same area 146 39.4
Mainly from the different areas 78 21.0
About the same 147 39.6
Total 371 100

Table 6.15 Sample distribution on participants’ QCC membership

The frequency of improvement training was categorised as presented in Table 6.16. More than half (58.8% = 57.0% + 1.8%) of the respondents did not attend regular training (less than once in every two months), only a small number (24.8%) of the respondents trained about once every two months and a lot less (15.3% = 12.9% + 2.4%) trained at least once per month. Yasuda (1989) observed that continuous improvement, especially Teians, requires hands-on improvement knowledge which emanates from hard core first-hand working experience.