Full version Circuit Board Fabricators, Inc. Case Analysis – Week 3

Circuit Board Fabricators, Inc. Case Analysis – Week 3

This print version free essay Circuit Board Fabricators, Inc. Case Analysis – Week 3.

Category: Technology

Autor: reviewessays 29 December 2010

Words: 1180 | Pages: 5

Case Summary

Circuit Board Fabricators, Inc. is a small manufacturer of circuit boards located in California. (Chase, Jacobs, and Aquilano, 2004) Large computer companies such as Apple and Hewlett-Packard hire Circuit Board Fabricators to “make boards for prototypes of new products.” (Chase, et al., 2004) The case study suggests that Circuit Board Fabricators has a good business plan established within the organization. CBF has implemented a largely automated process using industry standard codes to produce the four circuit boards that have been developed to be able to give quick and high quality service.

There have been recent losses experienced by CBF, due to the system that is currently in place. The policy has changed and all orders placed now are being increased by 25%. The policy now places stress on the running system. On a highly-productive day, the plant produces 700 circuit boards, but “was designed to run 1,000 boards per day when running five days a week and one eight-hour shift per day.” CBF has hired a consultant to discuss the reasons why they are not able to produce 1,000 boards per day as created. The following analysis will address the process flow structure, the capacity of the process, losses of the process, short and long-term recommendations for improvement opportunities.

Case Question #1: What type of process flow structure is CBF using?

CBF Inc. uses a job shop process flow structure, one of the four major process flow structures identified in the text. A job shop process flow structure is a “production of small batches of a large number of different products.” (Chase, 2003). Further, job shop process “is a flexible operation that has several activities through which work can pass. In a job shop, it is not necessary for all activities to be performed on all products, and their sequence may be different for different products.” (NetMBA, 2007)

Case Question #2: Diagram the process in a manner similar to Exhibit 5.15.

Operation No. Operation Description Dept. Setup/hr Rate Pc. Hr.

1. Order Acceptance Engineering

2. NC Machine Programming Engineering

3. Board Fabrication

a. Load Fabrication 5 0.33

b. Clean Fabrication 0.5

c. Coat Fabrication 0.5

d. Unload Fabrication 0.33

e. Expose Fabrication 15 1.72

f. Load Fabrication 5 0.33

g. Develop Fabrication 0.33

h. Inspect Fabrication 0.5

i. Bake Fabrication 0.33

j. Unload Fabrication 0.33

k. Drilling Fabrication 15 1.5

l. Copper Plate Fabrication 5 0.2

m. Final Test Quality Assurance 15 2.69

4. Shipping

Total per Part: 9.59

Case Question #3: Analyze the capacity of the process?

The capacity of the flow process is at an imbalance. It takes nearly Ñ• of an hour just to load and unload the circuit boards. There is a significant amount of manual labor in this flow process in which human error must be taken into consideration. It appears that some of the stations may be run by an inefficient amount of operators. Lastly, with 6 employees on 6 machines for the final inspection, the end of the process should not take as long as it does.

Case Question #4: What is the impact of losses in the process in Inspection and Final Test?

The impact of the losses in the system is quite extensive. It is stated that 15% of the board are typically rejected during an early processing inspection along with an additional 5% rejected during the final testing. This results in a production order increase of 25%. Ultimately, the first inspection should not be a bottleneck of this process and there should not be any rejected boards in the final inspection.

Question #5: What recommendations would you make for a short-term solution to CBF’s problems?

A short-term solution may be to extend the work day so that 8 production hours are optimized during a 5 working day week. If this solution produces results, then this could be a possible long-term solution. Another possible production hour solution would be to incorporate 4 10-hour working days. Again, the number of boards produced would quickly determine if this is indeed a long-term solution.

Question #6: What long-term recommendations would you make?

One of the most important recommendations would be to add another machine or two throughout the process, especially at the beginning of the board fabrication. Another long-term recommendation would be to take into consideration where more automation could be used in place of human manual work. This would decrease the amount of waste, therefore, decrease the percentage of increase of the size of order, in turn, shortening the overall time of the entire job shop process flow. Reduction of the main bottleneck, the initial inspection time duration will seriously increase the overall production of the boards within the facility to meet the 1,000 per day goal.

Identify the top three process improvement opportunities

As examined, the top three process improvement opportunities include:

1. A change in the total amount of hours worked by the employees (either extend Ð… hour per five day work week or work 4 10-hour days to prolong the process flow.)

2. Incorporating additional machines, eliminating manual labor work and human error

3. Change of layout in particularly the bottleneck in the first inspection station

Establish performance requirements (quality, time, cost, customer satisfaction) for process improvement.

With CBF Inc., producing high-quality circuit boards is extremely important and when there are fewer wasted boards, this will save time and money in the long-run and also continue to reach closer to the goal of 1,000 boards per day. It is also stated in this case, that high-quality customer service must be supplied by CBF. Sloppy work and missed deadlines cannot be tolerated.

Adding hours to the working day may increase the costs in regards to salary pay, but if the increase in production hours meets the goal, it will be worth the cost, as more jobs can be produced and fewer defective boards are thrown away. The cost of additional machines may also tie up operational costs, but in the long run, a more automated system will also leverage CBF in providing the high-quality turn around service needed to keep a competitive advantage.

Determine if these improvement opportunities can be applied to your workplace? If so, how? If not, why not?

To be completely honest, in my organization, as virtual, home-based employees, our work never ends. The core group of employees work extensive hours a week. Yes, capacity balance is still a must, to avoid employee burnout. Developing a work/life balance is important for a consistent output of quality work. In addition, human error is almost inevitable in my position. The human touch of unmediated, asynchronous communication is inevitable, thankfully. The bottleneck of human mistakes is also inevitable and leaves room for improvement in my organization, the basis of Operations Management.


Chase, R., Jacobs, F., and Aquilano, R. (2004). Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. McGraw-Hill.

NetMBA.com (2007). Process Flow Structures. Retrieved on January 25, 2007 from: http://www.netmba.com/operations/process/structure/