Donner Company (Case Analysis)

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Donner Company started its operations in 1985 and developed specialized capability in manufacturing circuit boards for experimental devices and for pilot production runs. The company uses “Solder mask over Bare Copper” (SMOBC) technology which is a popular technology for denser circuit patterns and more reliable final product. Automated processes as well as manual processes are used to perform medium-duty, short-cycle, repetitive tasks. They promise a delivery within three weeks for orders less than 1000 boards and 5 weeks for larger orders. While reviewing the company’s position prior to planning 1988 operations, Edward Plummer, President of the company found that the firm was experiencing production delays due to serious problems in productivity, quality and delivery of products.

Problems with productivity:
In the case it was realized that it was impossible to evaluate shop productivity as it shifted from one pattern to another without any pre-specified pattern. Different order sizes imposed different workloads on various operations. These variations stemmed from difference in order size, from orders by-passing some operations and from difference in circuit designs. The methods in use were far from ideal and there was a large scope for improvement in most of the activities, but it was difficult to adopt improvements because of the current pressure for output.

Problems with delivery time:
The company had a policy of shipping and clearing all work possible before the end of each month. Although the company promised that a delivery time of less than 3 weeks on orders of less than 1000 circuit boards and 5 weeks for orders of more than 1000 circuit boards, it was being observed that the shipments were constantly being delayed.

Problems with product quality:
It was observed that the rejection rate had increased from less than 1% recently to around 3%. This was one major cause of concern for the company’s business. A rigorous quality standard could not be enforced since the quality guidelines differed from order to order and customer to customer. It was also observed that only one tenth of the boards that had been returned were damaged or out of tolerance, the remaining was returned because Donner had missed or failed to complete one or two of the required operations. These boards were shipped within one to two days of return after reprocessing the required operations.

Actual process:
The SMOBC process consists of three stages:
1.Preparation – Master artwork received from the customer is used to produce a negative image replicating the exact circuit pattern with the actual dimensions. During this process the location holes are punched that are later used for aligning the panels in drilling, imaging and routing. 2.Image transfer – In this process the boards are configured according to customer specification and the pattern of conducting/insulating strips is transferred to the laminate panel. 3.Fabrication – This is the final process which includes profiling of the circuit board to the required size and shape. This is followed by visual inspection, electrical testing, packaging and shipping

This standard process can be modified depending on specific customer requirements.






We made some observation from the given exhibits.
We have assumed that the figures given in the month of September is a good average representation of the monthly sales and have used them for our calculations

For Orders >= 140 => CNC Drill is being used (though the case mentions the figure as 100 orders) •For Orders < 140 => Manual Drill is being used
For Orders >= 229 => CNC router has been used for Profiling (case mentions it as orders >= 200) •Approx. 84% of the orders (4825 out of 5761) are being processed by CNC drill •Artwork generation process has zero...
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