Abstract: The Government of Ethiopia is promoting the manufacturing sector to join the global market in a large scale. Due to its comparative advantages, the Ethiopian leather and leather products industry have been given due attention. To fully utilize such advantages, the country shifted its export items from hides/skins to footwear products. Nevertheless, the performance of the leather sector in general and footwear sub-sector in particular is far below the desired standards. The improvement strategies applied hitherto were mainly to tackle a small portion of their total problems. If the Ethiopian footwear companies have to become globally competitive, their entire business spectrum has to be assessed and appropriate improvement strategies must be selected. In this research, we used a Total manufacturing solutions (TMS) technique to identify areas of improvement and improvement strategy of one of Ethiopian footwear companies. For this purpose, we conducted two surveys using structured questionnaire. The first survey was to test the TMS technique against the context of footwear industry. The result proved that the original TMS model can be used to measure the performance of footwear companies. The second survey was done to identify company's total problems, map its current position and select appropriate improvement strategy. The result revealed that the company has company-wide problems and its current position is a plodder. For plodders which have company-wide problems, the improvement strategy must include aggressive application of BPR; and the implementation of best practices to develop workers skills that encourages networking and promotion, a market-led manufacturing strategy, employee involvement and team work cultures. According to the findings of this research, we suggested that a BPR technique followed by a continuous improvement programme could be an appropriate improvement strategy for this company. The company requires long-term improvement programme to achieve the category of world leaders.
Keywords: total manufacturing solutions, Footwear Company, current position, improvement strategy
Recieved: 02.08.2014 Accepted: 11.09.2014 UDC: 54.061