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Technological Factors for Improved Productivity of Manufacturing Projects in the South-East Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria

FEATURED PAPER

Ibeawuchi I. Echeme Ph.D. and Ihuoma Okwara

Department of Project Management Technology
Federal University of Technology, Owerri

Owerri, Nigeria


Abstract

The study focused on technological factors for improved productivity of manufacturing projects in the south-east, Nigeria. The study discovered that the level of productivity of manufacturing projects by firms is very low. The identified technological factors contributory to this level include; the size and capacity of plant, level of repairs and maintenance, level of waste reduction, and efficient materials management. Likert’s five-point scale questionnaire was designed and distributed to 260 respondents for assessment on the level of effect of the technological factors on the productivity of manufacturing projects in the study area. Multiple regression analysis result showed that all the identified technological factors except the level of waste reduction are significant to the level of productivity of manufacturing projects. The result also show that the size and capacity of plant is a major technological factor for improved productivity in manufacturing projects, while waste reduction level is the least factor in the prediction of productivity level of manufacturing projects in the South-east geopolitical zone of Nigeria. In view of these findings, the study recommends increased size and capacity of plant and training of the project staff to guaranty improved productivity of the manufacturing projects.

Keywords: technological factors, manufacturing projects, productivity, size and capacity of plant, waste reduction.

Introduction

The rapid development of technology requires quick reaction by manufacturers in order to survive in an emerging competitive environment and keep up with new trend and innovative service which other competitors might be utilizing (Yang and Ying 2013). Productivity is considered as one of the most important factors affecting the success and overall performance of every organization, whether large or small, in today’s competitive market (Sweis, & Abu, 2009). Due to the rapid growth of technological innovation, the product life cycle of new and other products is much shorter than earlier. Reducing the delivery time in these markets reduces costs and creates value.

In today’s highly competitive market where technological innovation and its growth are very significant, time to market or on-time delivery is a very important aspect, among many other things, in order to achieve high level of product success. Introducing a new product faster, increase project velocity, profitability, customer satisfaction and overall sales volume. Successful projects are necessary to complete on time, to budget, and with appropriate technical performance/quality. In the recent times, projects tend to be constrained with respect to time, cost, and quality specifications, and the ability to deliver a project quickly is becoming an increasingly important element in winning a bid. This is especially important for manufacturing organizations where in most cases other parties (suppliers, contractors) are also involved. Many manufacturing projects like batch and job shop production lots have been characterized with a lot of problems such as project deliverables not meeting specified requirements, inefficient execution process which cause delay and schedule slippage. Delaying the introduction of new / ordered products into the market can result to negative consequences like lower market share, lower margins, capital loss, and maybe most critical the loss of customers’ goodwill, thus affecting the project’s productivity. These problems affect the productivity of firms and the satisfaction of their customers because when there is delay in supply or delivery of an order, production is affected equally. For instance, consider a situation where some companies manufacture plastic containers use for packaging for some companies. One may discover that sometimes, the cork of the containers do not tight very well i.e. loose, sometimes due to rush orders and short delivery time, the project is not delivered as scheduled as a result of one technological factor or the other.

Technological factors are influences that have an impact on how an organization operates that are related to the equipment used within the organization’s environment. Due to increased reliance on equipment, technological factors currently exert a considerably effect on the success of a business than they did many years ago. These technological factors can include materials, machines and processes that can present opportunities and treats but it is vital for competitive advantage and is a successful drive in globalization.

Within every sector, developments in technology directly reflect the priorities of the industry they serve. So in the highly competitive world of fast moving consumers’ goods (FMCG), technological factors have evolved to enable firms to be commercially alert and responsive to change (Robinson, 2013). As every department in manufacturing industry understand their role in the cross functional processes, fully supported by technologies and systems aligned to the unique need of the industry, productivity is greatly improved.

High technology has become like a force of nature, it transforms the economy, schools, consumer’s habits, and the very character of modern life.  The reason while multinationals enjoy foreign competition is because of their superior and up to date technology which enables them to enjoy economies of scales and quality products (Holger, Alexander & Murakozy 2009).

Technological factors influence all activities in a company’s value chain and technology which particularly affects a company’s productivity and competitiveness in the field of manufacturing. Products manufactured and sold to the customer, processes used to make the products and information system use to integrate the various areas of a company are each a part of the technology  in use and are expected to show an impact on the performance of the manufacturing system. Technological factors make room for improved products.  For example, mobile phone technology has evolved with years; nowadays we use smart phones which have been an advancement of an ordinary mobile phone.  When these factors are considered in manufacturing it help to enhance innovations and creativity.  It sparks the brain to work to its full potential.

Technological factors affecting productivity of manufacturing all over the world demand a changing behavior.  A manufacturer does not need to relax because the market for his product is moving rather he has to always modify and or improve his products.

More (with figures, tables and references)…

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About The Authors

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Ibeawuchi I. Echeme, PhD

Owerri, Nigeria

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Ibeawuchi Ifeanyi Echeme
is a lecturer in the department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. Echeme has a B.Tech, MSc, and PhD in Project Management Technology and has published more than fifteen (15) articles in both international and national reputable journals. Dr. Echeme has published a textbook on Project Time, Cost and Quality Management. He is a Certified Project Director (CPD) and a member of International Project Management Professionals (IPMP). Dr. Echeme has presented papers in conferences and workshops within and outside Nigeria. He can be contacted through [email protected]

 

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Ihuoma Kwara

Owerri, Nigeria

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Ihuoma Okwara
is a lecturer in the department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. She has a bachelor’s degree and M.Sc. in Project Management Technology and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the same discipline. Ihuoma Okwara has many international and national publications in reputable journals.