Case IntroductionHightec is a manufacturer of transducers, which convert gas or liquid pressure into an electrical signal. A typical customer order is for only 3 to 10 units.
The firm currently rents a 12,000-square-foot, L-shaped building. This building houses four basic sections:Ã¢ÂÂ¢the office area,Ã¢ÂÂ¢an engineering area,Ã¢ÂÂ¢a machine shop,Ã¢ÂÂ¢and an assembly area.
The 80 employees comprise:Ã¢ÂÂ¢machinists,Ã¢ÂÂ¢engineers,Ã¢ÂÂ¢assemblers,Ã¢ÂÂ¢secretaries,Ã¢ÂÂ¢and salespeople.
Glenn Moore is the founder and executive of the company. He walked into the employee lunch area saying to himself: "it's hard to believe, that it has been only 6 years since I founded Hightec". He was not interested in lunch. His purpose was to inspect the new microcomputer, which had just been purchased to improve management of the company's inventory and accounting functions. The computer had to be housed at the rear of the employee lunch area, right next to the coffee, hot soup, and hot chocolate vending machines. There was absolutely no room for the computer elsewhere.
And this was only one of alarming signals for the company.
Although Moore concentrated on finance and marketing during first two years of Hightec existence, his activities now are more concerned with production costs, inventory and capacity. Sales have been increasing about 30% per year, and this grow is expected to continue.
Specific symptoms of Hightec's problems include the following:Ã¢ÂÂ¢Space limitations delayed the purchase of a numerical control machine and a more efficient testing machine. Both promise greater capacity and higher productivity, and their costs are easily justified.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢The machine shop is so crowded that the equipment not in constant use had to be moved into the inventory storage area.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢More machines are being operated on second and third shifts than would normally be justified. Productivity is falling, and quality is slipping.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢Approximately 10% of the workers time is spent moving materials to and from...