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Operational Management - Custom Molds Inc

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,212 Words (13 Pages)  •  2,979 Views

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Custom Molds, Inc was founded by a father and son team of Tom and Mason Miller in 1987 to provide high quality, custom-designed molds for manufacturers of electronic connectors; as years went by, it took strategic steps to forward vertically integrate into part manufacture. (Burgelman & Grove, 1996). Through the 1980s, this strategy allowed them to grow, and by the mid 1990s Custom Molds developed its reputation to include being a supplier of high-quality plastic parts.

By 2000, operations at Custom Molds involved two distinct processes: one for fabricating molds and one for producing plastic parts. Mold production is job process environment with only a limited number of molds manufactured per order and high skilled workers are needed. Unlike mold production, plastic part production is primarily a batch process, with characteristics of a line process, which produces characteristics of a line process and produces small runs of similar products. And also the required skills of the manufacture workers are not as high as mold fabrication workers.

Although the production process is different, in many instances these two processes were linked and all fabrication and production operations were housed in a single facility. The layout was characteristic of a typical job shop, with like processes and similar equipment grouped in various places in the plant.

In recent years, the changing environment of the electronics industry had a profound impact on the way Custom Molds conducts its business and manufacturing processes. Electronics manufacturers were developing strategic partnerships with parts suppliers to ensure the timely of high-quality and cost-effective parts.

Besides, the changing sales mix, coupled with delivery and quality problems, prompted the company to revise its business strategies to address to following issues: changes in customers' order needs due to the changing market trends, unpredictable bottlenecks in the production environment, quality issues resulting in defective parts and delivery times promised to customers were not met.

Miller thought that the problems arise due to the imbalance assignation of the labor capacity and he tried to solve the situation by assigned one of the master machinist to expedite late orders but the tactic did not seem help much and the problems became worst.

From the worsening situations, we believe Miller faces two major issues in strategic and operational which requiring different perspectives. For the strategic issue, Custom Molds has reached the point in its development where its competitive priorities are changing due to the shrinking of its traditional fabrication market and growing of its newer manufacturing market. For the operational issues, the company was suffering from an inefficiency issue and thus experienced difficulties meeting quality and delivery objectives. Bottlenecks were occurring


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