Lean Production

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Answer

A Business Trip to Brussels

1.Identify all the micro operations and their activities which are mentioned.

The micro operations are categorised in 'order of appearance' in Attachment 1. In class this stage can be missed, going straight on to the analysis matrix. For assessed work both steps would probably be used.

2.Classify them in accordance with the structure in Table 1.5.

Refer to Attachment 2. Starting with the blank matrix, and filling it out on the board or overhead projector is a really good way of getting interaction with a big class early on a course. Everyone has an opinion, and there is a lot of debate about where each activity should fit. Often, of course, there are many places to put some activities, so we may decide to classify only dominant types of processing. In each case ask what is being processed (material, information, customers) and how is it being transformed to give value-added. The downside of this approach is the time it will take: allow at least half an hour for about 20 activities filled in.

3.Which of these micro operations were most affected by the severe weather?

The case study describes the effects of severe weather on the daily micro operations within the airport. All the micro operations listed in Question 1 have a challenge to meet due to the weather conditions, but in the majority of cases this is not caused directly by the weather. Rather, the severe weather affects some micro operations which in turn cause problems in other micro operations. This creates an operational 'chain reaction', which is illustrated in Attachment 3.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) reacts to the severe weather first by closing and later reopening the airfield. This micro operation then uses the limited flexibility of its operations by rescheduling aircraft take-off and landing slots. Meanwhile, on the airfield itself, runway clearance and de-icing operations commence as a direct consequence of the severe weather.

The ongoing rescheduling of the flights has consequences for information processing operations (general flight information, inter-airport communications and customer announcements) and operations involved in aircraft turnaround. ATC cannot, however, break the safety rules for separation of aircraft, and often increases effective capacity by batching groups of landings and then of takeoffs. One may therefore assume that many flights have been compacted, shortening the time between them.

Consequently, many operations have to increase their speed and flexibility to meet this challenge. The micro operations affected are inflight catering, aviation refuelling, baggage handling, cabin cleaning, servicing units, technical maintenance, passenger/crew transport, departure gate control, check-in desk, and push-off tractors.

Further consequences of ATC's rescheduling are flight delays. This means that capacity within the airport is stretched - more people are waiting in the airport for flights, so this area becomes a bottleneck.

A number of micro operations are affected by an increase in people (WIP). This can be a problem - for example, airport catering facilities need to increase the speed and flexibility of their operations to increase the volume of customers served. There may also be a shortage of seating in departure lounges. However, this situation can also be advantageous, as trade will increase for catering and retail facilities. Frustrated customers may complain more, taking scarce capacity away from more serving.

In this case, the micro operations affected are customer waiting areas, customer transportation, airport catering, shops, first aid, airport cleaning, border control, customs, left luggage, flight information desk and customer announcements.

Rescheduled flights and flight delays are not necessarily caused by the severe weather. Other causes could be ATC strikes or technical problems. Similarly, flight delays will increase the number of people...
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