Lean Green PCB Machines

Lean Green PCB Machines

Applied Technical Services, maker of printed circuit boards embedded in products from sneakers to streetlights, follows lean principles to achieve operational success despite supply challenges such as part shortages, rising component costs, and bloated lead times.

Its 2018 operational achievements include 99.6% on-time delivery, 22% improvement in first-pass yield, 127% increase in production employees, and $140,000 cost savings from improvement projects.

This post is based on the Industry Week article, 2018 IW Best Plants Winner: ATS Defies the World, by Travis Hessman, March 21, 2019. Image source: Ron Chapple Stock/FotoSearch/Glow Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What elements of total quality management contribute to Applied Technical Services’ operational success?

Guidance: Elements of Applied Technical Services’ total quality management include having a culture of serving customers, having a close relationship between engineering and production, having a close relationship with customers and suppliers, using a team approach to meet quality, delivery and revenue targets, and empowering employees to be change agents.

2. In what ways do lean operations address Applied Technical Services’ supply challenges?

Guidance: Elements of Applied Technical Services’ lean operations include streamlined production and material flows , waste elimination, standardized work and tools, continuous improvement, visual control, high quality, and high-performance culture.

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Cost of Quality for Nike

Cost of Quality for Nike

Nike drew negative publicity when its sneaker fell apart during a college basketball game.

The shoe: the PG 2.5 PE.

The player: Zion Williamson, Duke University’s star basketball player.

Zion planted his foot to change direction during the game with North Carolina and injured his knee when the shoe came apart. Nike touted this as an isolated incident and at the time of this post was working to identify the root cause of the issue.


Video Spotlight: Nike’s Nightmare


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Nike Basketball Shoe Blowout May Be a ‘Classic’ Liability Case, by Eben Novy-Williams and Steven Sellers, February 21, 2019, and the Bloomberg video, Nike’s Nightmare, by TicToc, February 21, 2019. Image source: © McGraw-Hill Education

Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss the importance of legal considerations in Nike’s product design.

Guidance: Nike must specifically design its sneakers to provide support for athletes to perform their best in competitive sports.  Any product malfunction or failure that causes injuries or damages will subject Nike to product liability litigation.

2. What are the potential costs related to Nike’s basketball shoe blowout incident?

Guidance: These include legal costs, settlement costs, warranty costs, Continue reading

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Mining for Data Gold with Supply Chain Metrics

Mining for Data Gold with Supply Chain Metrics

October 7, 2017

Article Title: Hidden sources of better supply-chain performance

Authors of Article: Per-Magnus Karlsson, Shruti Lal, and Daniel Rexhausen

Date of article: September 1, 2017

Source URL: http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/hidden-sources-of-better-supply-chain-performance

Companies can dig deeper into operational data to create more precise metrics for continuous operations improvements.  The authors warn against relying solely on high-level cost benchmarks to identify performance gaps.  They suggest three principles to guide executives to gain insights for competitiveness through better data.

This article helps further the understanding of the role of data analytics in (1) relating OM and competitiveness, and (2) shaping the future of OM.

Discussion Questions
1. In what ways can operational data and metrics be used to reveal a company’s performance gap?

Guidance: The article provides several examples. This article can be used in the chapter on operations strategy and competitiveness.  Specifically, a data analytics approach can guide executives to determine which competitive priorities beyond cost (e.g., flexibility) are important.  An operations strategy that focuses on specific competitive priorities can then be formulated accordingly.

2. According to the article, “Data analytics is of particular relevance to the future development of OM”. Why might this be the case? Continue reading

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