National Cranberry Cooperative
September 22, 2011
National Cranberry Cooperative (NCC) is a major processor and distributor of cranberries. Through their full-scale processing operation at receiving plant, NCC is able to handle all aspects of production from the physical collection of cranberries from suppliers to the packaging of product for sale. Through detailed analysis, it has become apparent that significant issues exist within NCC’s operation. In particular, are the continuously growing overtime costs of their staff and the long wait times for trucks making deliveries to the receiving plant. The underlying reasoning of these issues can be directly linked to the bottleneck in NCC’s production, the relative capacity of the dryers. By partially relieving a bottleneck in any process, significant efficiencies can be realized. We propose that NCC purchase a fourth dryer for their operations. The addition of a fourth dryer will ensure that delivery trucks move with relative ease through the cranberry drop-off station which will then lead to savings that are more than capital expenditures. In addition, we also suggest that the start-up time of the factory receiving line be moved from 11am to 7am. This will eliminate the constant backup of trucks caused by the full capacity of holding bins. The process flow at the plant can be separated into 2 distinct lines; (i) wet berries and (ii) dry berries. By separating these berries, we are able to identify the unique operations for each processing line and further estimate the throughput and capacity of these lines. The process flow is illustrated below.
Indicative in this analysis, are the following assumptions: bins 25 to 27 will be fully used for holding wet berries only and convertible bins (17 to 24) will also be used only for wet berries. Our focus in this analysis is strictly on wet berries and their role in the bottleneck as they need to be dried. We know 16,400 barrels are delivered to the plant...
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