Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)


Construction Management

Document Type



The goal of this study was to explore the proposed relationship between employee satisfaction, ergonomics, and safety while implementing a Kaizen event. In order to address this goal, two Kaizen events (K1 and K2) were conducted in a heavy equipment manufacturing plant. Before and after both events, levels of employee satisfaction were documented for Kaizen and Non-Kaizen (NK) participants using the Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS). The objective of the first event (K1) was to improve the efficiency of the task of torqueing the rear axle bolts in Station #1- skid assembly. The K1 methodology followed a traditional Kaizen structure, enhanced with ergonomic and safety evaluation tools, Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) and Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) respectively. During the event (K1), problem areas caused by the current skid were identified, analyzed, and a new skid was developed and implemented via a prototype. After testing the prototype all skids were replaced for full implementation. Ergonomic and safety was again evaluated. By using this approach to redesign the process, it was possible to improve productivity (83%), while reducing employee safety (5 JHA hazards to 1 hazard) and ergonomics (Employee #1 REBA score 13 to 11). The objective of the second kaizen event (K2) was to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process for the welding subassembly station. The K2 methodology followed a traditional Kaizen structure, where the team identified the key problems for the welding subassembly station, analyzed the concerns for the material arrival, developed a solution for more consistent material delivery, and implemented a solution. By using Kaizen as a tool to address scheduling and material movement it was possible to improve the manufacturing process efficiency (36%). The JDS evaluation revealed mixed results for the impact of a Kaizen event on job satisfaction- some employee’s job satisfaction levels increased when others decreased. The findings also show that some characteristics (Feedback from Agents (p=0.036), Experienced Meaningfulness of the Work (p=0.036), Growth Satisfaction (p=0.027), Satisfaction with Compensation (p=0.034), and Motivating Potential Score (p=0.025)) were significantly different across participants’ groups (e.g. K1, K2 and NK). The events helped to encourage communication and involvement making the new processes more efficient and less frustrating for employees. Findings from this research contribute to a better understanding of the impact of lean on employees’ ergonomics, safety, and job satisfaction.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Nahmens, Isabelina