Stickley Furniture

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Stickley Furniture
Yvonna Liang
BUS 644 Operational Management
Dr. Vanessa Washington
June 4, 2012

Abstract
Stickley Furniture started off in 1900 as a family owned furniture company, manufacturing fine cherry, white oak, and mahogany furniture. In the 1980s, the company reintroduced their line of mission oak furniture, which now accounts for almost 50% of their sales. Since, founding of L&J.G., the company has grown to employ 1,350 employees and now has a total of five retail showrooms located in the states of New York, Connecticut, and North Carolina. Like most companies facing growing competition, Stickley Furniture must design and offer better products and improve their overall operations. To achieve such a task, the company will need to first examine their current state of operations at their manufacturing facilities and then devise a plan that will allow for a leaner system. In the process of evaluating their current operations, Stickley Furniture will examine their current types of production processing methods, job status and location tracking methods, as well as how well suited their current production policy plan is for an increase in demand. Once such factors are considered, and all benefits and problems are evaluated, recommendations will be provided for the devising of an action plan.

Stickley Furniture
Stickley Furniture was originally founded in 1900 by the Stickley brothers, and they specialize in the manufacturing of fine, high quality furniture. Currently the company employs 1,350 employees, has a total of five retail showrooms in New York State, Connecticut, and North Carolina, and distributes to 120 dealers nationwide. To stay competitive, Stickley Furniture, like many other companies “facing today's levels of unprecedented global competition must design and offer better products and services and improve their manufacturing operations (Taj & Morosan, 2011).” To improve overall manufacturing performance, Stickley Furniture must first evaluate the current state of their operations at their manufacturing facility and then devise a plan that will create a leaner system of operation. A leaner system will mean that the company will manufacture with a minimal amount waste, and waste more specifically, “is anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, and working time, which absolutely are vital to production (Taj & Morosan, 2011).” Should Stickley implement a leaner system without sacrificing demand in the short term or the long term, they will be able to further improve operational efficiency and profitability through cost reducing efforts.

An important aspect of lean operations within manufacturing, in regards to eliminating waste, is the issue of system design within manufacturing facilities. “In order to identify and eliminate waste, every step and individual action involved in the processes for specific service is mapped; and the flow analyzed (Soriano-Meier, 2011).” The main purpose of layout design is “aimed at improving the efficiency of movement of materials or parts through the process (Ubani, 2012).” With that being said, process selection plays an important role in layout decisions. The five basic process types are job shop, batch, repetitive, continuous and project. Since Stickley has a process of simple or standardized tasks in their production, which includes many repetitive functions, the assembly line layout would be their most cost effective approach to manufacturing their products. The benefit of a repetitive function would be the allowance of lower skilled and lower cost employees coupled with limited equipment variation among other things. Unfortunately, since Stickley’s offers more than a few product variations, they may have a need to focus on batch process to accommodate the differentiation associated with their products. Stickely’s offers many furniture products that range in size and shape, for example, they...
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