American Connector Company

Topics: Quality control, Manufacturing, Production and manufacturing Pages: 5 (1669 words) Published: February 17, 2010
Executive Summary:
In order to make their plant globally competitive, American Connector Company’s Sunnyvale facility needs to improve on production, process, quality control and inventory control. They should optimize the production line to smoothen the process flow, increase the yield and reduce overall costs. They need to analyse and standardize their product mix. Also, schedule optimization will go a long way to minimize start-up and end costs and to avoid wastage. Work in process inventory needs to be controlled. Quality control measures and checkpoints should be introduced to reduce rejections. Indirect staff for monitoring and production control needs to be minimized to increase the overall productionunits per employee. Also, they should revamp their pricing strategy and implement activity based-costing. Statement of Issues:

Sunnyvale would be competing directly with Kawasaki’s high volume / low cost products and faces the possibility of losing lower margin, price sensitive customers. A plant modeled on DJC’s Kawasaki production facility has a tremendous manufacturing advantage over ACC’s Sunnyvale facility. Also, given DJC’s goals strong product quality(1 defect in a million), ACC needs to come up with an action plan to avoid losing their market share to DJC. Criteria:

A good criteria for the decision will help in eliminating all the inefficiencies form the process of ACC Sunnyvale plant and will also help them to compete with the competitor if they set up the plant in north America . Analysis

DJC Corporation, dedicated to process positioning and robust systems engineering, required that the Kawasaki facility be highly automated. Particular emphasis was placed on what they termed “pre-automation.” DJC’s belief was that a production process could only be fully automated following when the process was fully understood and properly designed. They were concerned that automating a production line too early might result in investing in an inefficient process. This pre-automation process helped analyze process flows, worker movements, and raw material consumption. As a result, the warehouse facility was centrally located and intentionally right-sized, leaving no room for excess material or products. Additionally, each production line was equipped with a dedicated injection mould press, and was a complete line from raw material in-flow to packaging. DJC also believed it better to utilize an older, more established process, rather than implementing newer unproven processes. Continuous improvement of existing processes was highly relied upon. DJC also emphasized reliability of equipment and invested significantly in repair and maintenance to ensure the most critical portions of the manufacturing process were well maintained. DJC staffed experts in polymer physics and former employees of mold manufactures, and followed a strict process of mould replacement and upgrades. This dedication to process reliability helped protect DJC from unexpected down time and profit losses due to unexpected failures. Furthermore DJC developed in-house workshops in their factories in order to protect proprietary processes, believing their competitive edge would be eroded if equipment suppliers had insight into their processes. DJC’s “Technology Development Division” coordinated the product planning session, materials section, process engineering, and the mouldingtechnology group. It was TDD’s responsibility to make certain these sections operated together in the achievement of efficient resource utilization, design quality and manufacturability, smooth manufacturing introduction, shortened development cycle, and continuous process improvement. Furthermore, TDD coordinated efforts to ensure product improvement. The remaining portions of the Kawasaki facility were sourcing, quality control, and production and inventory control. Sourcing developed close relationships with material suppliers and insisted they meet rigorous...
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