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Operation Strategy and Management
As a CEO or a business manager, one of the most important objectives is to make the perfect product which is the core of the organization. Therefore, the production and operation act a crucial character in this aspect. Also, as each market become more diverse than before, customers will put much more attention on the manufacturing sector. This report talks about the whole production process of making the diving boards which can help people to gain some basic knowledge about the manufacturing industry and how it operates. Also, people can find out what is the strength and weakness in the process.
- Aims and objectives
This report will mainly discuss how the diving board is made and explain every step in the whole process. Because each step has its meaning and function, nothing can be ignored until the final product is created. However, five main parts will be introduced which is the detail and meaning of the chosen product’s quality, a discussion of the inputs, transformation process and outputs of the product, a flow diagram of the process, the overview of the potential quality problems from the process and some constructive advice for improvement. The reason is that nowadays customers will focus more on the product itself instead of the price, for example, safety, quality, and reliability which is vital in the organization now.
- The meaning of quality
The root of quality definitions is a general topic, there are four basic explanations which are quality is excellence, quality is value, quality is conformance to specification and quality is meeting and/or exceeding customer’s expectations (Reeves & Bednar, 1994). The reason that people say the quality is excellence is that quality is achieving or reaching for the highest standard as against being satisfied with the sloppy or fraudulent (Reeves & Bednar, 1994). Both of customer’s and organization’s profession and the ethic level is totally different from the past, they are more willing to provide some real stuff. And the reason that quality is value is that the role of product quality is already be included in the economic theory which means both price and quality have to be considered in the competitive market (Reeves & Bednar, 1994). And the quality is conformance to specification because the market has to make some rules about the product’s quality, to maintain consumer’s rights. Also, the reason that quality is meeting customer’s expectations is that the product is served to customer finally, so the customer’s needs are the organization’s needs. And the organization can also change or improve their design by according to customer’s needs and expectations. Then this report will analyze the two aspects of the meaning of quality of the diving board which are consumer perspective and organization perspective.
(i) Consumer perspective
There are plenty of reasons that the consumers should go buy this product. One of them is the 100 percent handmade process. As the video showed, most of this process uses pure human’s work instead of using the facilities. Workers paid the most attention to every step to make them perfect. For instance, the trimming step, after sawing off the excess fiberglass around the edge, they also need to do a final trimming to make the edge neat and smooth. It is difficult for machines to do this kind of meticulous job. The point is, sawing, painting, coating, trimming and all the steps like these can actually be done by the pieces of machinery instead of spending such a plenty of time and effort, but the organization still decided to do this manually. Because this could mostly increase the product’s quality and reduce the mistake during the process so that the consumers can receive the best user experience. And another important reason is the high-quality materials used. Just like the video showed, the diving-board’s core is made of laminated wood which is stronger than a normal solid piece of wood. Because the most serious problem that consumer would concern is the safety problem and laminated wood is made of several layers of wood which increases the strength and flexibility to reduce the stress-cracking (Capuzzo, 2014).
(ii) Organizational perspective
As being an organization, one of the most important objectives is to optimize the cost and trying to meet consumer’s expectation, because ensuring a service or product conforms to specification is a key operations task for a business (Slack, Brandon-Jones, &Johnston, 2017). And the manufacturing sector is most qualified to say that because that is the part which can achieve good quality. In the process flow diagram, the input is always one of the steps which could produce overmuch disposal costs and internal failure cost. For example, the resin and fiberglass step. When the workers use the chopper gun, it will be easy for them to shoot out too much because it is difficult for them to control the amount. And the laminated wood, when they round the top of the edge, it will also produce some wood waste. Decorative paint, while coating the paint on the bottom of the diving board, it will be difficult for workers to restrict the amount and direction they shoot, so it can make a lot of mistakes. And the resin rolling on the surface, although it has tape protection on the edge, the tape’s function is to make the edge looks smooth instead of reducing the scrap cost. Therefore, the amount of thin coat of resin is also hard to control in this step. In addition, the input of silica sand could also become a cost problem. When the workers sprinkle the surface with sand, they have to shake the funnel utensil in order to make sure they cover the surface thoroughly and evenly. However, the sand would be easy to be sprinkled on the ground, so it could cause a big waste. Not only the inputs but also the activity part can create the internal failure cost. The drawing part, when the heated acrylic sheet is formed in a mold, it will create some wasted sheet. And when they use the oven for heating, curing, drying and hardening in room temperature, it will take some waiting time which is also wastes.
- Overview of inputs, transformation processes and outputs
The resource is everything’s origin in the business, it takes a huge factor if the production can succeed in the end. Otherwise, the input resources are usually classified as the transformed resource and transforming resource (Open.edu, 2018). Transformed resource means the resource that is transformed in some way by the operation to produce the goods or services that are its outputs. For example, materials and information. Transforming resource refers to the resource that is used to perform the transformation process. For instance, staff and facility. And in the diving board-making process, the transformed resources are the acrylic sheet, resin-and-fiberglass mixture, three fiberglass mats with different thickness, resin, laminating resin, decorative paint, silica sand, and manufacturer’s decal. And the semi-finished material in this process is laminated wood which is a strong solid piece of wood and made of several thin layers of wood. In transforming resource, the machinery and equipment contain a clamping machine, an oven, a forming machine, a mold, fans, an electric saw, resin impregnating machine, a chopper gun, roller, clamps and diamond blade. The staff is the workers.
(ii) Key transformation processes
Firstly, workers load a sheet of acrylic into a clamping machine so that they can transport it into an oven to get a softened acrylic after 20 seconds of heating (step 1). Then, a forming machine applies suction to draw the softened acrylic tightly over a mold in the shape of two diving boards (step 2). Fans blow cool air, hardening the softened acrylic to diving board shape within seconds (step 3). Next, the worker extracts the molded acrylic and saw it in half to separate the two diving-board shells (step 4). Then, the worker uses the chopper gun to coat the shell surface with a resin-and-fiberglass mixture (step 5). Next, the worker uses a roller to compress the fibers and push out air pockets (step 6). After 30 minutes’ drying and hardening, the workers fill the shell cavity with 2-inch thick fiberglass mat, then lay down another thinner one and let them saturate with the existing resin to get saturated fiberglass mats (step 7). Next, after rounding the laminated woods’ top edge, worker lay two wood-laminate cores over the resin-saturated fiberglass mats (step 8). Then the worker positions clamps to hold the cores in place and let the resin cure at the room temperature for a half hour or so (step 9). Then the clamps come off, workers cover the cores with an even thicker fiberglass mat which is centered and impregnated with resin to make the bottom of the diving board (step 10). Next, workers manually form it to the shape of the board, push out the air pockets, spray on some decorative paint, then put the board in the oven for 24 hours’ curing (step 11). When the board comes out, workers use a diamond blade to saw off the excess fiberglass around the edge and do a final trimming to make the edge neat and smooth (step 12). Next, workers mask the sides with tape to leave the safe, non-slip top surface, roll on a thin coat of rein, sprinkle a layer of silica sand thoroughly and evenly (step 13). After 15 minutes’ curing and sweeping off the excess sand, workers roll on a coat of laminating resin to finish the surface cleaning. And pull off the tape and apply the manufacturer’s decal to get the final product (step 14).
The final resulting output is installable diving board.
e. Process flow diagram
f. Potential quality issues
There are five types of common quality problem (Smith, 2000) which are efficiency problems, unstructured performance problems, conformance problems, process design problems, and product design problems. In the diving-board making process, some of these types’ potential problems have also existed. The efficiency problems, the clamping machine, oven, forming machine, electric saw, fans, chopper gun, wood rounding machine, the clamps, the resin impregnating machine, diamond blade and all of the tools or machines they used can cause an unstructured performance problem. Because the whole process system is poor, and if the tools or machines break or damaged, they have to stop the whole process and wait until it can work again. That could be a big waiting cost problem which can also affect the efficiency and product quality. And speaking of waiting time it is related to the unstructured performance problems and there are other steps in the process have these such problems. Heating of acrylic sheet, if the heating time was not enough, the acrylic will not soft enough which could affect the quality of diving board shell. Drying and hardening time for the fibers and resin, if the fibers and resin are not dry enough or harden enough, they may not be saturated well with the fiberglass mat. And the curing time, it may have the same problem with the drying and hardening part. All of the waiting parts may cause waste problems because the organization uses a lot of chemical material which means time is an important part to be considered of. And the conformance problems, sometimes workers cannot make sure every step they did are the same because they are not the machine, they cannot always do the same thing. The mat centering step, the workers cannot make sure the mat is one hundred percent centered. And the air pockets pushing out, they cannot ensure all the air pockets are pushed out, it must have some air pockets left. And the painting part, it cannot be the same and some customers maybe do not like this kind of paint. Also, the process design problems, when the worker sprinkles the silica sand on the diving board surface, some of the sand will be left on the floor. This is a poor process design because it wastes a huge amount of silica sand and it may increase the disposal cost and decrease the quality. Besides that, the process still has some potential waste problems. For example, forming the shape of the diving board over a mold, coating shell surface in a resin-and-fiberglass mixture with a chopper gun and sawing the excess fiberglass. All of these steps will create some waste. According to the seven forms of waste-TIM WOOD, besides waste have been mentioned, the motion may also create some potential problems. Most of this process’s works are done by humans, therefore some movement will happen when they move the product from the previous step to the next step.
g. Recommendations for process improvement
Step 10 and 11 of the process where the workers need to center the fiberglass mat and form it to the shape of the board need to add an inspection point to make sure the fiberglass mat is centered and is in a standard board shape. Because workers cannot center the mat accurately. And this part is the bottom of the diving board, so it is very important to ensure that it is safe. Therefore, the inspection point has to be able to measure the mat’s length, width, and area, and compare the data with the standard date of the diving board’s data to ensure the mat is centered and it is in the form of the diving board. Also, step 13 of the process where the worker needs to sprinkle the silica sand on the surface need to install a sand container under the working table. Because when the worker sprinkles the sand, they will lose a lot of sand on the ground. That is a huge amount of material wasted because the worker has to shake the sand to ensure the sand can be sprinkled evenly and thoroughly. If the sand container is installed, they can keep the extra sand and use it on the other diving board. The final recommendation is that if the organization want to improve quality management and create a perfect product, TQM (total quality management) is an essential way to achieve that and it is one of the quality-oriented approaches that many organizations imply (Zehir, Ertosun, Zehir, & Müceldilli 2012). This approach can cover all parts of the organization and make sure meet all the needs and expectations of customers (Slack, Brandon-Jones, &Johnston, 2017). It can help the organization to improve their quality control and achieve their performance objectives.
- Reeves, C. A., & Bednar, D. A. (1994). Defining Quality: Alternatives and Implications. The Academy of Management Review, 19(3), 419. doi:10.2307/258934
- Understanding operations management. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-business/leadership-management/understanding-operations-management/content-section-3.4
- Slack, N., Brandon-Jones, A., & Johnston, R. (2017). Operations management. Cape Town: Pearson.
- Smith, Gerald. (2000). Too Many Types of Quality Problems. Quality Progress. 33.
- Zehir, Cemal, et al. “Total Quality Management Practices’ Effects on Quality Performance and Innovative Performance.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 41, 2012, pp. 273–280., doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.04.031.
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