Operation Management Practices Report
1. Outline and describe each step in the GAP Model and relate it to Quality Management.
Firms use a GAP model in identifying areas in their operations where they are not achieving their potentials and use the information results to make arrangements for improvement. The GAP model or analysis involves the use of a step by step analysis process to make comparisons of the actual business performance with the desired performances. The model seeks to establish relationships between customer expectations and management insights on quality.
Gap 1- The Knowledge Gap
This gap addresses the deviation between the actual customer expectations against the company management’s insight into what the customers might be expecting. A wrong interpretation of customer expectations may lead to customer services’ wrong delivery (Grinevich & Santini, 2017). Thorough market research should be conducted to closely examine customers’ actual expectations and establish the required mode of delivery. Assumptions of customer expectations should never be made when making a delivery. The Juran’s product and service quality features should be well checked to ensure conformity to customer expectations.
Gap 2- The Policy Gap
The lack of a standard policy guideline may lead to the wrong delivery of the required service quality. This wrong delivery may occur even with the right forecast of customer expectations. Lack of efficiency of communication in the businesses may lead to the delivery of sub-quality services to the customers due to a lack of good interpretation of the customer requirements (Awasthi, Sayyadi, & Khabbazian, 2018). Customer service policies should be set up and practiced to ensure the conformance of the service deliveries to customer expectations. Crosby’s quality improvement practices may be used to ensure quality standards in the services offered to customers.
Gap 3- The Communication Gap
This gap occurs due to variations in the communication teams on the customer expectations and the service delivery teams leading to the delivery of nonconformance services to the customers. It may also be the deviation between what the company promised to offer and what the customer gets as service from the company (Bajaj, 2019). Such gaps cause high levels of dissatisfaction to the customers and may lead to the loss of customers to competitors. Firms should, therefore, advertise for what they are able to offer to avoid such gaps. Firms should not set high expectations in the minds of consumers that they are unable to meet.
Gap 4- The Delivery Gap
This gap results from the deviations in the service deliveries and the customer’s quality specifications. The quality management department might receive the correct customer expectations of quality but deliver the customer’s wrong quality services. This deviation can because of the use of unskilled employees in the quality supply chains, which may disrupt the flow of quality. Regular supervision along the quality supply chains and offering training on the quality delivery regularly can be used to correct the deviation (Tsegaye, 2019). The use of Deming’s philosophies enables the employees to gain various competencies in making quality deliveries.
Gap 5- The Customer Gaps
This gap entails the variation between what the customers expect as quality and their respective perceptions of what should be offered as quality service (Awasthi, Sayyadi, & Khabbazian, 2018). The gap is a result of the customer’s misinterpretation of quality features. Customers should have clear insights into what they expect to be offered to them as quality service or goods.
2. Please explain the theory of constraints and how it is applied to maximize throughput in a complex system of processes.
The idea of the theory of constraints involves identifying the most challenging factor in achieving the desired outcome and the necessary improvement of the factor to ensure it no longer a challenge towards goal achievement. The theory of constraints (TOC) holds some decisions compared to other traditional business believes that maximizes throughputs to a company. For instance, while the conventional accounting practices treat inventory as an asset, TOC views inventories as a liability to the company since they tie up capital and may never be bought. Additionally, TOC disagrees with the traditional accounting policy rule of cutting down expenses to increase profitability (Kadhim, Najm, & Kadhim, 2020). On the contrary, TOC views expense cutting to be of less significance to increasing throughputs since it will be limited to zero expenses while maximization of throughputs is not limited. TOC focus is much on increasing the sales, throughputs of a firm than cutting down of expenses, operating, and investment expenses.
In ensuring the maximization of throughputs, TOC optimizes scheduling through the utilization of constraints throughout the processes. The theory of constraints uses the drum- buffer-rope method to increase the throughputs by ensuring that the bottlenecks operate continuously and comprehensively. In the method, the speed of the constraints and bottlenecks set the system’s pace, like the drum beats set the band’s pace, and determine the total throughput (Wu & Zhang, 2018). On the other hand, the buffer is the number of inventories required to maintain a constant production process. The buffers ensure that the constraint is not affected by the fluctuations and interruptions in the non- constraints. The time in which the production materials should be available in advance is used to ensure that buffers represent constant operations. The more the variations in the process, the larger the buffers should be. The two distinct types of buffers include constraint buffer and customer buffer. During the process, the constraint generates a signal to indicate that some inventories have been depleted; these signals are the rope. The signal triggers the release of a similar inventory amount into the production system (Trojanowska & Dostatni, 2017). The rope maintains the throughputs while ensuring no accumulation of excess inventories.
In maximizing the throughputs of a system, the bottlenecks are scheduled. Scheduling of bottlenecks is done through a five-step process the includes;
determining the bottlenecks and the capacity-constraint resources- A firm’s supply chain throughput ids determined by the bottlenecks. The faster the preceding bottleneck, the faster the whole process, and the higher the overall throughput of the system (Bhat, Vaze, & Motani, 2020).
optimization of the capacity constraint resources- TOC holds that all the system resources should have excess capacity apart from the system’s primary resource constraints. These primary constraints should be maintained at a 100% capacity.
Scheduling of the bottlenecks to the maximum- Bottlenecks determine the number of throughputs into a system. The optimized production technology (OPT) holds that bottlenecks should, in this perspective, be scheduled to their maximum full capacities. In contrast, non-bottlenecks resources should be scheduled at a lower capacity to avoid overproduction (Trojanowska & Dostatni, 2017).
scheduling of the process just before the bottlenecks- The processes preceding the bottlenecks ought to be scheduled so that the work in progress that gets to the bottlenecks is just the exact amount for the maximum capacity of the bottleneck.
Scheduling of the process after the bottlenecks -These processes are scheduled so that they can process the resources from the bottlenecks fully.
3. Within the context of the Critical Path Method, please comment on Time/Cost Trade-Offs referring in your explanation to Project Crashing, Crash Time, Activity Crashing.
A single delay in the activities of a critical path delays the whole project. Therefore, the project managers’ role is to have a thorough understanding of the critical path in managing projects. The project’s projected completion times and costs are accurate estimates since they are calculated based on the normal work practices and working conditions. To ensure the completion of a project before the projected times requires introducing additional resources into the system. However, the addition of resources is not free but at an added cost other than the project’s budgeted costs (Ou-Yang, & Chen, 2019). This additional resource has the advantage of reducing the overall project completion time to suit a revised schedule. The additional resources to crash a project may include more laborers, materials, or equipment. The project crashing may also involve the addition of work as overtime or working during the weekends.
The tradeoffs between the completion times and the additional costs should be evaluated. The evaluation is done to determine the least compression of the projects at the least increase in the costs. The crashing of activities is done to only projects where their schedules can change (Acharya, Markar, Ni, & Hanna, 2017). Crashing involves analyzing and categorizing project activities based on the lowest cost of crashing per unit of time. Although crashing a project is associated with high direct costs, it gives a specific and exact determination of optimal time costs. Project crashing ensures effectiveness in time management. In the crashing of activities along the critical path, the activity schedules are first tracked and then crashed. Activity schedules are bound to continually change; however, in their changes, they mostly get longer as opposed to being shorter, which is why tracking the schedules should always be the turning point in activity crashing. Activity crashing does not always mean that all the critical path activities need to be crashed. Sometimes the path may change, indicating the crashing of the activities that had been previously noncritical in to reduce the completion time further.
The indirect project costs and crash costs are inversely related, where indirect costs increase with increased project duration. In contrast, the crash costs increase with the decrease in the project (Olivieri, Seppänen, Alves, Scala, Schiavone, Liu, & Granja, 2019). The project’s indirect costs include facility costs, equipment and machinery costs, utilities, personnel, and labor costs. Projects are crashed when there is a need to complete them before their projected time and to reduce the indirect costs that may accrue to a project as its activities continue.
Crashing a product leads to the reduction of the product finish completion times. However, there are particular cost -time tradeoffs that may occur due to crashing the projects. The crashing may involve working to the available laborers either as overtime or working during the weekends and holidays. These additional hours will reduce project completion time. Still, they may compromise quality in the operations and an increased risk of accidents in undertaking the project activities (Soe, & Htike, 2018). The cost of the risks and quality standards can never be compromised in the project execution.
4. Within the context of Lean Production, the Elimination of Waste is a fundamental concept. Name and briefly expand on the elements that constitute this concept.
Waste elimination is the turning point of lean production. Ensuring that only what is required is only produced, and no build-up of inventories in the system is the main practice. Several elements are involved in eliminating waste principle in lean production (Burlakovs, Jani, Kriipsalu, Vincevica-Gaile, Kaczala, Celma, & Viksna, 2018).
Maintenance of focused supply networks”This element involves using small manufacturing plants, which are highly specialized instead of large manufacturing systems, which are highly integrated. Large complex production systems are difficult to control and managed as compared to small systems. Specialized plants are easy and economical to run than complex integrated plants (Shah & Ganji, 2017).
Group technology: This element involves grouping the system technologies into cells where the machinery used in producing a material part is put into one cell. One person can efficiently operate the machinery in one cell, and the time wasted for the part to be completed through several stages is minimized. Work-in-progress in this technology flows through shorter production lines to attain completion (Chávez, Osorio, Altamirano, Raymundo, & Dominguez, 2019). The system allows low inventory build-up and is very efficient.
Jidoka: Lean production can be made possible through the building of confidence among the supply chains. This element involves coordinating the production systems with the raw material supplier to maintain the quality at the source. The practice ensures that the suppliers inspect the materials at their premises, such that no further inspections might be required after delivery, which saves time (Shah & Ganji, 2017). Inspections under this element can be done as part of the production process through automation and robotics. In the event of an error, the system shuts down the line to avoid the production of defective products.
Just-in-time production: This element reduces waste in the supply chains by producing the required units at the required quantities at the required time. The system ensures no excesses or shortages are incurred through effective management to ensure Lead times are achieved in deliveries and supplies. The system applies to repetitive production processes that do not require large volumes (Wagner, Herrmann, & Thiede, 2017). It ensures no build-up of inventories of both raw materials or finished products, thus minimizing the holding and carrying costs of inventories.
Uniform plant loading: This element involves ensuring a smooth flow of productions where possible by avoiding disruptions in the production cycle. This practice is achieved by setting up production plans with fewer minor alterations—the lesser the interruptions to the production system, the smoother and economical the production process. The system ensures no possible wastages that might result from overproductions (Burlakovs, Jani, Kriipsalu, Vincevica-Gaile, Kaczala, Celma, & Viksna, 2018).
Kanban production control systems: The system uses a pull system to control what is produced, in what quantity, and when. It concentrates on the production of customer requirements only. When well-managed, the system effectively controls the stock replacement and production to overcome overproduction risks, thus reducing wastages. When triggered, a P- Kanban authorizes a fixed number of products while a T- Kanban approves a full container’s transportation to the production system (Chávez, Osorio, Altamirano, Raymundo, & Dominguez, 2019).
Minimized set up times: In achieving lean productions, the productions are required to be done in small lots, which may difficult when the set-up of machines takes long. This element ensures the reduction in the machine set up times while at the same time rescheduling the production into small lot sizes (Wagner, Herrmann, & Thiede, 2017). Reduction in the lot sizes ensures that there is no overproduction, thus no wastage.
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