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A case study for surgical mask production during the COVID-19 pandemic: continuous improvement with Kaizen and 5S applications

Ezgi Aktar Demirtas (Department of Industrial Engineering, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey)
Ozgul Sevval Gultekin (Department of Industrial Engineering, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey)
Cigdem Uskup (Department of Industrial Engineering, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 21 December 2022

77

Abstract

Purpose

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the production shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, has become increasingly significant. It is vital to quickly provide high-quality, hygienic PPE during pandemic periods. This comprehensive case study aims to confirm that Kaizen and 5S applications reduce wastage rates and stoppages, which as a result, created a more efficient and sustainable workplace in a small–mediumenterprise (SME) producing PPE in Turkey.

Design/methodology/approach

The method for this case is discussed with the help of a flowchart using the DMAIC cycle: D-define, M-measure, A-analyse, I-improve and C-control.

Findings

The total stoppages due to fishing line, gripper, piston and yarn welding have decreased by approximately 42.4%. As a result of eliminating wasted time and reduced changeovers, a total of 5,502 min have been saved per month. This increased production of approximately 10.55% per month, led to an addition of 506,184 units.

Originality/value

The use of lean manufacturing (LM), Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma and continuous improvement methodologies are not common in textile SMEs. Based on the current literature reviewed, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first comprehensive case study that combines statistical tools, such as hypothesis tests and LM practices, in the production process for a PPE company operating as a textile SME.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professor Fatma Pakdil, Professor Jiju Antony and the anonymous referees for their valuable comments. The authors thank Katarina Turgeon for her help with editing. At the same time, the authors would like to thank the employees and managers of the Tekkan Group, where the study was conducted.

Conflict of interest: No conflict of interest has been declared.

Citation

Aktar Demirtas, E., Gultekin, O.S. and Uskup, C. (2022), "A case study for surgical mask production during the COVID-19 pandemic: continuous improvement with Kaizen and 5S applications", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLSS-02-2022-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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