Turning Beer into Water

Turning Beer into Water

September 29, 2017

Article Title: Anheuser-Busch pauses beer production to send water to Harvey victims

Author of Article: Kavita Kumar

Date of article: August 29, 2017

Source URL: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anheuser-busch-pauses-beer-production-to-send-water-to-houston-hurricane-harvey-victims/

The Anheuser-Busch factory in Cartersvill, Georgia shifted production from beer to water to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, in a coordinated effort that is part of the company’s emergency drinking water program. This brief article illustrates flexible manufacturing and strategic capacity management. Assemble-to-order manufacturing allows the plant to quickly transition to emergency water canning operations instead of beer production. Since this particular plant has been designated by the firm for emergency water production, it is inferred that strategic capacity management has been considered by the parent corporation in order to accommodate a decrease in beer production by one plant while still meeting targeted beer production goals. It is possible that the plant uses the “plant within a plant” concept.

Discussion Questions
1. What type of manufacturing process does this plant likely use?

Guidance: Focus the discussion on assemble-to-order and customer decoupling point.

2. In order for the company to allow this one plant to produce water instead of beer, what capacity management concepts may have been employed?

Guidance: Suitable Continue reading

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The 26 Second T-Shirt

The 26 Second T-Shirt

September 28, 2017

Title of Article: China Snaps Up America’s Cheap Robot Labor

Author of Article: K. Hamlin

Date of Article: August 30, 2017

Source URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/china-snaps-up-america-s-cheap-robot-labor

This BusinessWeek article describes the production of a 33¢ T-shirt by a Chinese company in the United States (US). In early 2018, Tianyuan Garments Co. will open a $20 million factory in Little Rock, Arkansas, using American-made robots which can produce a T-shirt every 26 seconds.

Tianyuan is one of the largest apparel makers supplying major brands worldwide. Rising labor costs in China have made production with robots attractive, and rapid advances in technology have made feasible the complex process of sewing. Further advances in the garment industry are around the corner.

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for Tianyuan in having a factory overseas.

Could discuss tax cuts, labor costs in the US, fewer workers due to automation, consistency in output, capacity utilization, depreciable assets, capital investment, and currency fluctuation.

2. Develop a plausible worker-machine chart for the Tianyuan factory in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Groups of machines will likely be managed by 1 or 2 workers to ensure the 26 second takt time.  See Softwear Automation’s simulation of a Continue reading

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