Management Practices and Performance of Tea Companies in Kericho County, Kenya
Terer, Kipkoech Micah
Kipkorir, Sitienei Chris Simon
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Performance in tea industry has been declining and the management face many challenges in trying to ensure there is affordable cost, better revenues, quality, flexibility and reliability. Cost of production and quality aspect if not controlled can negatively affect firm revenues. The aim of the study was to determine effects of management practices on performance of tea companies in Kericho County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to analyse the effect of material management, to determine the effect of lean production, to analyse the effect of total productive maintenance and to determine the effect of balanced scorecard on performance of tea companies in Kericho County, Kenya. The study would be of great significance to researchers as it brings openness to new ideas that enable them to face challenging situations and to become critical and creative thinkers in their own rights in solving emerging issues. Tea companies would be able to understand better areas of improvements that led to huge cost savings and generate more revenue. The study used Generic strategic model and scientific management theory. The research used descriptive research design which is the most efficient design method in getting information concerning current status of the phenomenon being studied. It describes what exists in the current scenario with respect to the anticipated outcome of the study. The target population of study was 78, which included all the management and supervisors of Kenya Tea Development Agency managed tea companies in Kericho County. The study used simple random sampling technique. Data collection was done through semi structured questionnaires and interviews. Content validity was determined by peers as well as managers and supervisors of tea companies in Kericho County. The reliability of the study was 0.821 and collected data was analysed using quantitative data analysis with the help of Statistical Program for Social Sciences. Multiple linear regression was used to test the effects of material management, lean production, total productive maintenance, balanced score card on firm performance. Open ended questions were analysed using contextual analysis. Data was presented using tables and bar graphs. The findings indicated that material management affected significantly the firm performance in terms of quality and quantity of tea produced. Lean production ensured wastage reduction at every stage of production through right process conditions and set up time. The total productive maintenance affects production through the level of plant optimization. Balanced scorecard ensured that the firms achieved desired targets through performance indicators. In conclusion, material management, lean production, total productive maintenance and balanced scorecards influenced the performance of tea production. It recommended technology that would ensure high quantity is harvested through mechanization as well as reduction of firewood usage during production. The study recommended improvement on marketing of Kenya’s teas internationally and use of high yielding tea clones to ensure that Kenya fetch better prices in international markets. The Kenya government should also review on power tariffs that are becoming unfavourable to the tea sector.