As a leader in the fruit industry, National Cranberry Cooperative (NCC) is ready to take on some changes in order to increase efficiency in its operation. The entire process flow by which cranberries enter, move, and exit Receiving Plant No. 1 (RP1) can be improved by tweaking certain stages of the overall operation. Such improvements will reduce the expensive overtime costs that have been incurred and reduce the waiting time for inbound delivery trucks, hence, enabling the plant operate at more normal business hours and increase the overall profitability of NCC.
After running a process flow [see Exhibit 2], it becomes apparent that a main bottleneck exists at the Drying stage of the Wet Berry process, even after using all bins from Bins 17-24 for the Wet Berries, and filling up all dual-processing units (Wet/Dry) with Wet Berries first, before using them for any Dry Berries [see Exhibit 3]; since Dry Berries are able to store overnight, Wet Berries need to be processed first at all times. It is also clear that, since 18 trucks will be delivering every hour, and it takes an average of 7.5 minutes to unload the truck’s raw fruit, we have an immediate backup problem as there is an hour and a quarter line of trucks already waiting. And, when starting the factory at 11:00 AM, we have at least four hours of waiting time for the first truck that arrives at 7:00 AM.
Since we have a processing capacity of 16,000 bbls per day, where 70% (11,480) are Wet and 30% (4,920) are Dry, there are constraints of 957/hr and 410 bbls/hr respectively [see Exhibit 1]. The plant starts getting truck deliveries at 11:00 AM at a rate of 18 trucks pre hour, but these trucks need to wait until 7:00 AM when the employees arrive for their work day, and the plant opens up. This ultimately creates a problem that NCC is most aware of, as they do not want truckers waiting around doing nothing in the parking lot. However,...