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THE CULTURE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT AT A SOUTH AFRICAN SHORTTERM INSURANCE COMPANY STATE OF AFFAIRS ON THE EXTENT OF THE USE

OF LEANS TOOLS FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT


Presenting Author: Lecturer: Sambil Charles Mukwakungu,
Department of Quality and Operations Management
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
University of Johannesburg
Telephone Number (Work): +27 11 559 1201
Telephone Number (Mobile): +27 61 495 8712
Email Address: sambilm@uj.ac.za
Room 209.6
Concowan Building
Bunting Road Campus
Auckland Park
2092
Johannesburg
South Africa
Co-Author: Associate Professor Charles Mbohwa,
Department of Quality and Operations Management
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
University of Johannesburg
Telephone Number (Work): +27 11 559 1202
Email Address: cmbohwa@uj.ac.za
Office No 3, Block C
Bunting Road Campus
Auckland Park
2092
Johannesburg
South Africa

ABSTRACT

The South African Short-term Insurance industry contributes more than 15% to the
South African economy and employs more than 17000 people on a permanent basis,
positioning itself as one of the major sectors in the country. It is in the insurance
companies best interest to continuously improve their processes leading to the
improvement of service offerings, and eventually higher customers satisfaction. The
industry faces some major challenges on the technological aspect as well as
regulatory front, which put some stringent pressure on companies to find ways of
continuously satisfying their customers as well as shareholders. Consequently, this
has led the underwritten small companies also facing a major challenge caused by
its acquisition. As a result, this paper explores the state of the culture of continuous
improvement at this local South African short-term insurer based in Johannesburg,
South Africa. The paper presents the extent to which this short-term insurer has
embraced a culture of continuous improvement in its drive to improve its processes
as well as services. The data was collected through questionnaire from the one of
the insurance companies. Findings have shown that continuous improvement has
proven to be a very effective approach to achieving higher customers satisfaction
when embraced by organisation as part of their organisational culture. Lean as a
philosophy has seen its tools successfully applied in manufacturing and service
sector alike in continuous improvement processes. It has been also noted that this
particular insurance company places high interests in satisfying the needs of their
customers, although continuous improvement has yet to be adopted as an
organisational culture. It is proposed through this paper that the company prioritises
the effective use of continuous improvement tools by empowering its employees
through training and development geared toward internal as well as external
customers satisfaction.

TRACK V: Management

Keywords: Continuous Improvement, Lean Operations