Scoring the human role in ‘lean’ implementation

A fundamental aspect of lean manufacturing practice is the notion that human resources are vital to the success of production. In an effort to improve the ability of organisations to track and manage human capital employed within lean manufacturing in an engineering environment, UNISA School of Business Leadership Master’s student Collin Moopanar has researched the development of a tool to track human capital performance to complement the Balanced Scorecard report popular with Executive Management.

Moopanar’s findings indicate that an ability to track and manage human performance is an essential element in achieving lean manufacturing, while the scorecard supports improved management reporting and human capital management.

Moopanar is studying under the tutelage of SmartProcurement Editorial Board Member Dr. Douglas Boateng.

Lean production, or simply lean, is a practice which sets out to eliminate all waste in a production process. It originated with car maker Toyota’s approach to vehicle manufacture.

Moopanar explains that his research examines lean manufacturing using an engineering division of a state-owned transport entity as a case study for the development of a human capital scorecard.

“Consideration of human capital factors is deemed to be crucial for lean implementations,” he explains. “This research not only shows the impact of human factors, but also provides insight for companies to develop a scorecard based on the Balanced Scorecard that supports tracking of human factors in the implementation and operation of a lean manufacturing environment.”

Noting that top executives place great emphasis on the concept of scorecards, Moopanar says the approach is appealing as it provides a quick comparison of the status of key measures.

“As a management tool, scorecards can be very important to shape the direction of human capital investment and improve or maintain performance of the organisation through the implementation of preventative programmes.”

From his review of previous research, Moopanar notes that a human capital scorecard should rest on:

  • Clarifying and translating organisational vision and strategy into specific action programmes.
  • Linking strategic objectives to team and individual goals.
  • Linking strategic objectives to resource allocation.
  • A periodic review of performance data with adjustment to strategy as appropriate.

Furthermore, he explains, human capital factors, deemed crucial for a successful lean implementation include:

  • Training.
  • Job roles and responsibilities.
  • Job empowerment.
  • Job multi-skilling.
  • Communication.
  • Respect for humanity.

As a consequence, all these considerations are incorporated into Moopanar’s concept for a human capital scorecard, which Boateng says has been achieved through the study.

“Based on the findings of this work, a scorecard has been developed that incorporates the key human capital factors which can be used to measure and manage the implementation of lean manufacturing within an engineering environment,” he says.

Moopanar has made it clear that human capital factors are important in ensuring a successful lean implementation, says Boateng.

“[Moopanar’s] work, therefore, provides other engineering companies with a useful tool for the measurement of human performance to complement the other metrics of business efficacy.”

For more information or to get in touch with the author or study co-ordinator please email 

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