Polaroid Case

Topics: Control chart, Quality control, Management Pages: 8 (1849 words) Published: August 2, 2011
Polaroid Case Objectives

* Introduces the construction and use of statistical process control (SPC) charts and an understanding of the relationship between SPC and conformance quality.

* Creating the strategy and implementation steps for transforming an operation from inspection-based to one that relies on statistically controlled process.

* Understanding the complex human and organizational problems that occur when the basic operating philosophy is changed.

* Applying quality tools to assess the root causes of defect problems.

* Understanding the limits of product sampling and inspection methods, especially for a product that is destroyed by the inspection process itself


In the mid 1980s, one of Polaroid's instant film plants is reassessing its traditional approach to quality and is trying to move itself onto a new improvement path. Management must decide what recently gathered data reveal about process control and what actions are appropriate.

1. What is the magnitude of cost of quality problems at the R2 plant? How effective were its past procedures for quality management?

2. Using the data in the exhibits and the note on process control charts, construct and analyze the appropriate SPC charts. What conclusions should Rolfs draw?

3. What recommendations would you make to Rolfs in order to address both near- and longer- term issues?

4. How did Polaroid maintain quality film cartridges before Project Greenlight? What are the implications of that approach

5. What is Rolf's strategy for Project Greenlight?

6. From your analysis of the pod weights, is the pod-making process in control?

7. What about the finger height of the injection molded plastic end cap? How can you begin to understand what's going on here?

8. Is the pod weight process a capable process? How is capability determined?

9. What is your assessment of Project Greenlight?

10. Is the quality better or worse as a result of Project Greenlight?

Process control at Polaroid

Basing your analysis on both quantitative and qualitative tools, what evidence is there that quality is getting better? Pod Weight control
According to Pod Weight control chart in Appendix, the pod weight performance variability is within the control limit (between 2.774 - 2.835), which means the process is in control. This indicates the quality is getting better since the Pod Weight defect rate is normal (Pod Weight measurement is a part of defect report issued by operator, which continue 1% after Greenlight implementation) and in control, although they reduce the number of quality control samples. However, each average of sample of the last five shifts has decreasing trend. Therefore, Polaroid might want to investigate the cause before the process is out of control. Less Quality Control expense

Since quality control activities do not add value to the Polaroid camera, a company normally wants to reduce the cost of quality control as much as possible.

In Polaroid, the quality control process itself can increase the defect rate and makes the sampling product to be reworked. Therefore, reducing the number of samples by implementing Greenlight saves the company’s expense. Standardize the process

Prior to the Greenlight project, the process quality at Polaroid was rely on operators’ individual performance since each of them had their own mindset how to handle the machines from their experience. The knowledge of dealing with machines belonged to operators, not the company. The Greenlight project s provides the standard direction, which benefits to the company since now the knowledge belongs to the company. Basing your analysis on both quantitative and qualitative tools, what evidence is there that quality is getting worse? Finger Height control

The control chart of Finger Height measurement in appendix is not as good as Pod Weight. 20 of 45 sampling data are out of control....
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