This paper discusses the Production Business Process of Yard Company. The case study involves the use of a numerically programmed machine that would produce the moldings that the company needs. The problem on how to automate the production would be investigated and discussed in this paper.
Yard Company as stated in the case is known as a company who manufactures moldings. The operation processes that are usually done are machining, welding and assembly. The company is known to hire the experienced skilled workers that make moldings and other related parts. Recently, there have been problems on the issue of automating the operations of the company. In order to solve this problem, the proponent of the study has decided to determine the factors that had contributed to the problem regarding the issue of production automation.
Several factors that had contributed to the problem on the production automation is that the products of the company are unique per customer. This shows that each product that the company makes cannot be programmed in the same language because the characteristics of the product that the company produces differ for each product that it produces. Automation of the products can be done easily if the processes that would be done for each product have a cycle and that the specifications of the products produced differ by only one process. Programming a series of products with different procedures and different materials would really show difficulties and would only end-up in shambles.
Another factor that had contributed to the problem of automation is the experience level of the workers in terms of using programmed machines. For more than 30 years the company had operated manually to produce moldings. Being introduced to machines that are programmed and having no experience in working with automated things would definitely confuse the workers. Eventhough there are trainings to operate the machines, it would take time before they are used to it.
The age difference between the programmers and the artisans would also pose as a factor that had contributed to the problem. As stated in the case study, it has been hard for the programmers to communicate with the artisans because of the age difference. There is also the seniority part where the artisans feel that they have been doing their job great in the last 30 years and a programmer cannot dictate or tell them what to do because these programmers do not have the experience in making the moldings.
Inefficiencies brought about by programming errors had also been another factor that had contributed to the automation of production. The programming errors of the computer expert make the workers loss confidence on the work of the programmer since he or she is the one who had programmed the movement and the process on how to make the moldings. Coordination is another factor that had affected in the problem of automation. It is obvious that the coordination between the programmers and the artisans is very poor. In programming, the artisan must be able to coordinate with the programmer because they are the ones who are working with the product. Although there are specific designs for the moldings it is not enough to program it, the programmer should have coordinated with the worker before proceeding with the use of automatic machines.
In a production process, the production must be well coordinated. The engineering or the design department must coordinate with the production department to ensure that there is a smooth sailing production. The engineering department can identify what kind of procedure to use to produce the item however, production is the one working on it that is why it is necessary for the engineering department and production department to talk about how to go about producing the product. Same here in Yard company, the artisans and programmers should have coordinated well putting their personal differences aside and got serious at work. The program is necessary to make the machines move however, the artisans are necessary to operate the machines and at the same time verify each procedure encoded in the program.
There are several solutions that the company can do to minimize cost and automate their operations. The company can only use the numerical programmed machine if the moldings to be produced are many and if the designs of the moldings to be produced are the same. In this way, the computer would be set at one program only and the operator would not be doing several procedures he would only stick to the procedures needed for the molding that is currently in process.
Another solution that can be used by the company is to train the people well regarding the use of the machines. Training is necessary so that the workers would be aware on what procedures and what buttons to press when making the moldings. Proper coordination is necessary with the programmers and the artisans. The artisans and the programmers treat each other antagonistically. In this part of the case, communications is necessary between the two. The artisans would be the one to provide the details on how the product would be produced, and the programmers would be the one to input the said details inside the computer. A trial run must be executed before doing the mass production. The trial run would determine what part of the process needs adjustment and revisions.