The Real Strategies in Shoe Manufacturing

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ABSTRACT
In this paper “The real strategies in shoe manufacturing” we take a look at the reality of a Mexican industry dedicated to shoe manufacturing, with the intention of showing the lack of professional techniques that take place not only in the company studied, which affect the efficiency of the business. THE REAL STRATEGIES IN SHOE MANUFACTURING

Nowadays there are many different approaches and methodologies that can be used for industrial systems’ optimization and analysis. Among these techniques are the ones for production and inventory management and industrial plant distribution, which are mainly used for reducing the company’s cost. According to APICS Dictionary, production management consists of “planning, scheduling, executing and controlling the process of converting inputs into finished goods.” In addition APICS Dictionary defines inventory as “those stocks or items used to support production (raw materials and work-in-process items), supporting activities (maintenance, repair, and operating supplies), and customer service (finished goods and spare parts).” (2) For many businesses it is very important to maintain certain number of goods in inventory because their capacity it is not enough to fulfill clients’ orders. Each product in inventory represents money, an investment tied up until finished products are delivered to clients. It is important to select the best techniques depending on the type of industry and the goals of the company. ZEBRA SHOES

The company Zebra Shoes is located in the metropolitan area of Mexico City, Mexico, and they produce and sell sneakers. Those shoes are manufacture in seven different colors and eight different sizes. Zebra Shoes doesn’t have any methodology at the moment of making business decisions. They produce according to the demand, but in many cases they don’t complete the entire orders on time. This is why they base their production rate and inventory levels on intuition, with the objective of avoiding stock-outs during the demand period. This leads them to have problems; not only with their efficiency but also with their inventories (large quantities of shoes stuck or lack of them for an uncertain period of time). A complex analysis was made in order to understand how the company’s procedures could be improved. How they work

Zebra Shoes produces approximately 6,500 pairs of shoes per week. They use the following raw materials for the manufacturing: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fabric, shoelaces and iron holes. The company uses a chase strategy for purchasing raw materials; this means that purchasing varies to meet demand. Usually they get 1.5 ton of PVC, 400 m2 of fabric, 91 boxes of shoelaces (each box has 72 pairs of shoelaces) and 130 000 pieces of iron holes. The way that Zebra Shoes keeps its warehouse is not well planned. They don’t have a specific order for raw materials nor finished products. This isn’t only a space optimization problem but also an ergonomic and time issue. Workers have an active movement inside the factory and it’s difficult because of the lack of free space to walk. In addition they don’t always reach the shelves properly and have to carry ladders from one place to another; and even worst, sometimes they use the pile of bags or boxes as stairs. These obstacles create a waste of time which affects the factory’s efficiency. FIGURE 1

Actual warehouse distribution
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
There are some mathematical methods used to optimize the size of inventory and orders. One of them is EOQ model that assumes instantaneous production (it may be a purchase), a deterministic and constant demand. This model will be used in this study to determine the optimal quantity because it allows analyzing singly every raw material. Its graphic behavior shows that the inventory will be decreasing on time and when the product is over you must buy more material. In the case of Zebra Shoes this EOQ model applies perfectly because providers deliver products at...
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