Donner Company Case
Donner Company manufactures printed circuit boards for both large and small companies, specializing in experimental devices and for pilot production runs in the late 1980s. The circuit boards that it produces are made from thin sheets of narrow metal strips and insulating material. The process to produce each circuit board is very meticulous and involves many intricate steps. Their process, otherwise known as the “soldermask over bare copper” (SMOBC) process includes the preparation stage, image transfer, and fabrication.
The Donner Company faces problems with both the physical flow of production as well as information flow within the company. It does not have a consistent pattern of how its factory operates as variables changes from day to day because of problems that deal with the fabrication and the design of the circuit boards. More specifically the varying order size significantly changes the “Work in Process” and inventory at each step. Because of this, it is unable to properly identify the bottleneck since it changes frequently. As a result of this shift in bottleneck, employees that are qualified in more than one department are usually shifted to different jobs throughout the day. There was even one instance where 15% of the employees’ time were spent walking between the desk and the tanks.
Another problem Donner Company is forced to deal with is the pressure to fill orders, which does not allow it to focus on issues with information flow such as productivity and quality control. For example, during several months when the Donner Company was in operation, one tenth of the circuits boards that were returned were damaged, and the remaining nine tenth were returned because Donner failed to accomplish one or two the essential operations. In addition some of the Donner Company’s orders are sent later due to this pressure to take large orders from companies, which translates into the company not following a proper...
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