Case Study Sample:
A garment manufacturer, for example, employs ten stitchers, and each worker has her own sewing machine. However, two of these machines often encounter breakdowns and can be attended to by only one repairman. The service providers under study are the sewing machines and the implications to be considered are the two units that break down at some point of production.
The owner is thinking of employing a full-time repairman to minimize the time it takes to render the machines fully operational again. The sewing machines of workers who are next in the processing line remain idle until the work of the stalled stitchers is completed.
Once the impaired machines become operational, the arrival of throughputs at certain stages creates congestion with increased work-in-process.
Hiring an in-house repairman may seem like the appropriate solution on the surface, but there are other factors to consider:
- What type of stitch work is demanded from the frequently impaired sewing machine? Does it have a greater demand on the machine in terms of number of hours worked or amount of machine stitches applied?
- Are there stages in the processes that require reworking once the fabrics undergo quality inspection?
- Are workers compensated per piece or hourly rate? Are the stitchers turning in outputs beyond the machine’s threshold capacity?
- What are the traits of the workers as machine operators? Do they clean and lubricate their machines regularly? Do they try to locate the causes of needle breaks even if relatively thin materials are being worked on?
- Are the workers trained to do only the work that is assigned to them?
- What are the consequences to the business owner if the finished goods are not delivered on time?
The main goal in these lines of questioning is to establsih the users’ understanding of the machines’ serviceability before it reaches a breakdown point. Actually, traditional sewing machine problems stem from simple stuck-ups due to jammed materials or improper tension setting. Baiscally, they are often the results of desynchronization in moving parts due to lack of lubrication. The lubrication in turn attracts dust and debris which results in stuck-ups.
A queuing simulation where there is proper balance of the arrival processes, the correct service processes and the number of service providers presents a basis for determining proper resource allocation. This is with the assumption that the amount of work allocated is more or less the same.
The use of a sample lot size for the queuing simulations is likewise recommended in order to establish the standards for best performance. After this, another bottleneck analysis should be performed to ensure that there are no more constraints to affect the flow of the processes.