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Corning Glass Works Z-Glass Project

Autor:   •  November 18, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,159 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,366 Views

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Since July 1977, the yields and productivity of the Z-glass process has been in a long decline. A team of engineers from corporate manufacturing and engineering (M&E) staff was assigned to the plant to focus on long term process improvement while the line organization concentrated on day-to-day operations. Eric Davidson, leader of the M&E project team at Harrisburg, knows that the project has not gone well and his team members are discouraged. They were not only facing complex technical problems but it seems line organization has resisted almost everything that M&E team attempted. Besides conflict over responsibility and authority, there is disagreement over source of the problems and how best to solve them. Plant manager MacTavish attributed this decline to loss of most of his experienced and supervisory staff prior to decline begins to take place. M&E team is convinced it is due to lack of proper documentation of the whole process and certain production process that can be streamlined or improved upon. Some of the main problems are:

1) Plant Management: MacTavish is reluctant to accept changes recommended by M&E team and he seems perfectly content with the status quo of plant’s existing operations. For him the decline occurred due to loss of key experienced personal and thinks the yield will pick up as his workers and supervisors pick up more experience. He has let M&E team know that their presence is not needed and they are just a source of distraction doing more harm than good. People at plant are reluctant to co-operate with M&E team as they regarded the team as spies for corporation.

2) 2) Production process: Production of Z-glass is highly technical and complex process. The problems increase manifold when it has to be done at such a large scale. After a part of the process was completed, there was little testing of the product to determine if process was done correctly. When testing was conducted, it was at the point where products from different conveyor belts were merged together onto one so it was difficult to determine where problems were occurring. Even when the cause and problem were identified, it was solved by trial-and-error until people were convinced that it was indeed corrected. This is like shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the target. This clearly indicates lack of documentation at each stage of process as well as lack of established standard procedures to correct a particular problem. As we see from case study there is even a lack of proper instruments to collect the information on critical operating variables like glass temperature and machine speeds.

3) M&E group: The main role of M&E group is to transfer products from R&D to production. This later helps them in future if there is some problem with the product or the production process. But Z-glass was developed by Blackburn and his staff before the formation of M&E group. Blackburn and his group


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