Module 4 – Case
SOLVING A COMPLEX PROBLEM BASED UPON CAPACITY PLANNING AND FORECASTING
Case: The Excellent Manufacturing Company & a Complex Operations Problem
Note: Click the following link for information on the Excellent Manufacturing Company (EMC). You will find information on (A) EMCBackground Information; (B) Product Brochure; (C) Plasti-Brack Information; (D) Manufacturing Processes; (E) Basic Financial Information about EMC; (F) Organizational Chart; (G) Plant Layout
FROM: Gerald Garcia
SUBJECT: Major Issue pertaining to customer orders backlog
As we discussed the other day with Philip Lesh, the Director of Materials, we have begun to experience a growing backlog of customer orders in the Plasti-Brack product line.
For the last two to three months apparently we have had a slow creep-up of order backlog in the MLD250 department, specifically the Plasti-Brack molding group. It seems that we now have a 5 to 6 week backlog which is entirely unacceptable to our customers. As you know, our customers have been accustomed to getting orders shipped almost immediately or within a week of placing their orders. So now they dont like to have to wait. William Graham and I think that this could possibly adversely affect our business since these items are so popular.
It is my opinion that we need more capacity in Machine Group 251. As you know, we have four 250-Ton plastic injection molding machines which run these six parts. However, lately one of the machines seems to be experiencing excessive downtime. There also seems to be some tool wear causing low productivity. I suggest you talk to Philip Lesh to get more details on the order backlog and his scheduling system. Talk to Tom Gunner in Engineering or one of his Manufacturing Engineers about the machines and tools. And you should also check with Robert Weir and someone in the Plastic Injection Molding area about the tools. And while you are talking with Robert, ask him about his opinion of capacity. Ask Philip Lesh his opinion as well.
What I expect you to do consists of three main activities: 1) check out our capacity problem. See what we need to do to increase capacity. There is a capital budget available for the MLD2500 group – see Harvey Lund for more details. 2) We have to get our delivery time down to acceptable levels – see Philip Lesh for the details. 3) And while you are at, see what you can do to improve productivity and lower our costs. I expect your report in about two weeks with your recommendations and justification.
Be sure to use the Report Template I provided in the first assignment.
Let me know if you have any questions as you proceed. Thanks. GG
As a result of this assignment, you have investigated over several days and taken some notes. Click to see your notes.
Analyze the situation in the Plasti-Brack product line. Diagnose the problem and possible solutions to the capacity and order backlog. Determine an appropriate plan for correcting the problem. Justify your plan and make recommendations using your knowledge of productivity, process improvement, inventory, capacity, forecasting, and quality. Write a report to the VP of Operations. Use the Report Template provided.
Use the information provided in the Background readings from Module 1 through Module 4. It is not necessary to do any additional research.
Review your backlog notes from your investigation about the Excellent Manufacturing Company and the various opinions, policies and data surrounding this backlog issue for the Plasti-Brack product line.
Explore the possibilities of spending some of the capital budget on machines and or tools. Also consider improving setup time, improving quality, increasing capacity, and determining EOQs.
Determine a plan for solving this problem in the Plasti-Brack product line. Consider there may be both a short-term solution and a long-term solution.
Analyze the capacities including the rates of production, the amount of physical space and needs for equipment and people. At what level of capacity are these processes operating? What are some of the possible bottlenecks?
What impact does the forecast have on future capacity needs? What are the implications if the forecast is inaccurate (too high or too low?)
What are some possible ways of increasing capacity and what are the implications for the short term and long term such as costs and investment in capital?
Read and review all of the references and resources on productivity, processes, inventory, quality, and capacity.
Study your notes carefully to obtain all of the important information about this problem. Think through this situation carefully and determine how all of the various operations ideas interact with each other to make this a complex problem.
NOTE: If you use the references provided in the Background, then you do not need to include a References section. If you do decide to use additional references, then you need to cite them and include them in a References section.
The report should be 35 pages, and submitted by the modules due date.
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