Volume 13, Number 4 Article by Linus Osuagwu December2001
Production Management Strategies: A Nigerian Perspective :
The Nigerian economy has been experiencing substantial difficulties since 1982 when the government of the day introduced austerity measures. In contemporary times, business management strategies and practices have been affected by political instability, rising prices of goods and services (inflation), high interest rates and costs of production, unsold stock, problems of equipment replacement, low capacity utilisation and a lop sided exchange rate, among others. Added to these is the impact of environmental factors on management practices in Nigerian organisations.
Against the backdrop of the above issues a research was conducted, using empirical evidence from Nigerian companies, to determine the relative emphasis on production management issues in Nigerian companies and the extent to which production management practices were influenced by certain environmental variables. Using a survey research methodology, it was found that product-related issues received substantial attention while staff-related issues experienced relatively low emphasis. The highest emphases were placed on the production management items of quality standards, production/operations costs. The product-orientation on the part of Nigerian companies in preference to internal client (staff) orientation seems to be at variance with the philosophy of total quality management (TQM), which advises organisational executives and strategists to emphasise customer satisfaction (starting with internal customers/clients) in all their strategic actions. Also, environmental variables impacted intensely on the production management activities. The highest environment impact came from government policy, which seems to confirm the complaints from many Nigerian companies concerning the stifling effect of certain government policies on capacity utilisation, inventory, and other production management issues. The least environmental impact came from legal factors.
These issues were discussed in the context of extant literature and other cognate issues, in addition to their managerial and academic implications.
The research could contribute substantially in expanding the frontiers of knowledge pertaining to production/operations management in a developing country like Nigeria, which is trying to restructure its economic and business activities. Additionally, its research instrument may be used to assess production/operations management issues in other cultures, especially countries that have embraced the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Efforts made by organisational executives towards improving their production management activities will go a long way in assisting allied government policies and efforts. Finally, it is hoped that future researchers will benefit from, and expand the frontiers of this research.
Reprint No 01405