ops management, Operation Management

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Case study: Implementing Operations Management Tools in UK SMEs
The
intense competition in the current business environment has forced both the service and
manufacturing industries to re
-
examine their methods of doing business. In recent years,
even well
-
known names in manufacturing and service sectors have struggled with
growing
competition from emerging companies who use superior manufacturing practices and use of
quality initiatives in the form of
materials requirement planning
(MRP),
just
-
in
-
time
(
JIT
)
and
theory of constraints (
TOC
)
.
You have been appointed as a
production manager in a U.K. based company specialised in
manufacture of piston for internal combustion engine made from Aluminium (Al) and
Magnesium (Mg) alloys. The company has a production capacity of 500 pistons per day, in a
complete process from cast
ing to assembly and quality control. Four different types of
pistons are produced two of which have been launched within past two years.
The production process takes place in two separate areas of the factory. In one area, the Al
and Mg alloys are cast wh
ile the casings are machined and finished in another area. A total
of
5
0 people are at work in this plant. The main raw materials, Al and Mg alloys, are sourced
directly from two different suppliers from within the U.K. located about 150 miles away. Other
small parts required for the piston is sourced from a supplier from the US.
Parts are held in a large central store, however, difficulty is often found in obtaining
components in a specified time. The company very often faces part shortages at assembly
wh
ich leads to high “Work In Progress” (WIP).
The company is currently using the materials requirement planning (MRP) inventory
management system. For the last couple of years the top management of the company has
been considering to switch to just
-
in
-
time
(JIT) inventory management system which is a
complex decision, requiring careful examination of each system and its possible impact on a
variety of factors. Your immediate task is to undertake a comparative analysis of these two
popular inventory managemen
t practices and provide a report indicating a number of
benefits and critical
factors
so that upper management can make a decision on whether or
not to switch to JIT. Your report should include important factors such as:
1.
Critical
elements and
criteria for
judging level of success
of
the systems
;
2.
Critical
factors
for implementation;
3.
Implementation stages and cost;
4.
Limitations of the system
s

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