Quality improvement practices: patterns of Adoption by manufacturing firms in Nairobi, Kenya
This study was conducted to investigate patterns of adoption of quality improvement practices adopted by manufacturing firms in Nairobi. The study also studied the challenges encountered in implementing the quality improvement practices among manufacturing firms. The study probed how various quality improvement practices have been adopted in the manufacturing firm and how size of the firm influences the adoption process. To achieve the objectives of the study a descriptive survey study was undertaken where by all the quality assurance departments employees in the 700 manufacturers under Kenya Association of Manufacture were the population. The study used stratified random sampling to select 60 employees who formed the sample size. Data was collected using a semi structured questionnaires. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages, mean scores and standard deviation) were used to analyse the data. Analysis of variables and correlation analysis was used to determine the patterns of adoption among the categories of firms. The data was presented in form of table and figures and enhanced by a narrative explanation to bring out salient themes. The findings show that the firms have adopted various aspects of quality improvement which cut across the available quality improvement models. The study found that firms adopted QI practises with a view to achieve consistency in production and customer services, customer satisfaction, waste reduction; improved efficiency in production, minimization of defects in production process and quality and service improvement. The study found that the key challenges in adoption of QI practises include inadequate resources, cost of technology, inadequate investment in trainings and lack of accessible case studies to learn from. The study found no evidence of a relationship between size of the firm and patterns of adoption of quality improvement practices in the manufacturing industry. The study recommends that there is need for documentation of quality improvement processes and increased information sharing within the firms and also with the manufacturing industry in Kenya.