Quality, Productivity and Economy in Welding Manufacturing - Case Study: West Africa
Gyasi, Emmanuel Afrane (2013)
Gyasi, Emmanuel Afrane
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This thesis studies quality, productivity and economy in welding manufacturing in West African states such as Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The study consists of two parts: the first part, which forms the theoretical background, reviews relevant literature concerning the metal and welding industries, and measurement of welding quality, productivity and economy. The second part, which is the empirical part, aims to identify activities in the metal manufacturing industries where welding is extensively used and to determine the extent of welding quality, productivity and economy measurements in companies operating in the metal manufacturing industries. Additionally, the thesis aims to identify challenges that companies face and to assess the feasibility of creating a network to address these issues. The research methods used in the empirical part are the case study (qualitative) method and the survey (quantitative) method. However, the case study method was used to elicit information from companies in Ghana, while the survey method was used to elicit information from companies in Nigeria and Cameroon. The study considers important areas that contribute to creating awareness and understanding of the current situation of the welding industry in West Africa. These areas include the metal manufacturing industrial sector, metal products manufactured, metal production and manufacturing systems deployed, welding quality, productivity and economy measurement systems utilized, equipment and materials on the markets, general challenges facing companies in welding operations, welding technology programs and research in local universities, and SWOT analysis of the various West African states. The notable findings indicate that majority of the companies operate in the constructionindustrial sector. Also, majority of the companies are project manufacturing oriented, thus provide services to customers operating in the growing industries such as the oil and gas, mining, food and the energy industry. In addition, only few companies are certified under standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 3834, and OHSAS 18001. More so, majority of the companies employ manual welding technique, and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) as the commonly used welding process. Finally, welder salary is about € 300 / month as of June 2013 and the average operations turnover of medium to large companies is about € 5 million / year as at 2012. Based on analysis of the results of the study, it is noted that while welding activities are growing, the availability of cheap labor, the need for company and welder qualification and certification, and the need to manufacture innovative products through developmental projects (transfer of welding expertise and technology) remain as untapped opportunities in the welding industry in the West African states. The study serves as a solid platform for further research and concludes with several recommendations for development of the West African welding industry.