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Exercise 1: Documenting Products and Volumes

Welcome to pTools Inc., manufacturers of specialty electric power tools. You have been assigned to complete a conceptual line design for a family of power tools. In the following exercises you will gather data, perform calculations, and prepare a Conceptual Mixed-Model Line Design for pTools’ nine products.

Management expects the Mixed-Model Line to address and correct, to the degree possible, the following issues facing the current production design:

  • Lack of Flexibility: The products are presently built in “Focused Factories” or dedicated areas. When one product is a hot seller, the line that builds it runs out of capacity, resulting in late shipments.
  • Poor Asset Utilization: Dedicated lines are often idle during periods of low demand, causing low and uneven capacity utilization, especially of capital equipment.
  • Floor Space: The duplication of resources per line has taken so much space that management is evaluating a building expansion at a cost of $2.5 million. Factory floor space is also consumed by storage of excess work in process.
  • Quality: Currently at each line, products are assembled by individuals provided with all the necessary subassemblies to complete a work order (“single-station build”). Inspectors use sampling techniques on entire production batches to monitor quality. Over 80% of the defects found by the Inspectors (at Test) and fixed by the “trouble-shooters” are workmanship-related defects. The troubleshooters are the most experienced operators.
  • Inventory Investment: The amount of inventory on the shelves, floor, and warehouses is excessive. The inventory turns of 2.8 turns/year confirm this observation.
  • Employee Morale: Because of the constant shortages (especially of molded parts), changes in schedule, and hot lists, the workforce has developed an attitude of pessimism.

A Mixed Model Flow Line can successfully address these problems to a significant degree. The Exercises will closely follow the Line Design Roadmap, and will provide you with all the necessary data to complete the assignment. As you complete the exercises you will gain an understanding of the data requirements, data interpretation and management judgements needed to design and implement a Mixed Model Flow Line at your facility. You will also learn how to use well-tested spreadsheet tools to compile data, sort products according to process commonality, determine batch sizes for molded parts, and calculate labor and machine processes required for smooth product flow of mixed models in the facility.

The Mixed Model Flow Line will be designed for the following products:

Part NumberDescription
SD04Belt Sander
CS87Circular Saw
OS31Orbital Sander
OS01Orbital Sander
CH96Chain Saw
CH09Chain Saw

Complete the two tasks listed below to get start! You’ll be able to download the necessary workbook and supporting files.