This section looks at some other theories about production and some further work you may want to try. Before considering this it would probably be a good idea to have tried the various worksheets on production in the Cameron Balloons virtual factory.
Producing balloons is a very unique activity, and many of the solutions that Cameron Balloons have found differ from the more conventional methods found in textbooks. Some of the following areas may be helpful in analysing production further.
You may like to research to find out about the following areas of quality management and quality control:
- Total Quality Management
- Sampling Techniques
- Best Practice Benchmarking
- Independent Certification (British Standards Organisation etc.)
What quality criteria could the company use to judge their products?
Which of these theories may be useful to Cameron Balloons in producing their product?
What costs are there to quality control for Cameron Balloons?
What problems may be caused by inadequate quality control?
Decision Making Techinques
When making various decisions (including whether to invest in new production machinery) Cameron Balloons could perhaps aim to use some more sophisticated decision making techniques. These have been developed over the years to help businesses make more effective and informed decisions. The two principal techniques are:
- Network or Critical Path Analysis
- Decision Trees
1. Network / Critical Path Analysis
Try drawing a network diagram to show the process of producing a balloon. Refer to the explanation of production if you're not sure how they do this. We've put a couple of nodes in to start you off:
How useful might this technique be in deciding whether to invest in new machinery?
In what other circumstances might this technique be useful to Cameron Balloons?
Try drawing a more complex network diagram to show which of the production tasks can be done simultaneously and which are dependent on each other.
2. Decision trees
Try drawing a decision tree to help Cameron Balloons decide whether they should buy a new fabric cutting machine or not. There are three possible courses of action they could take:
- Keep to their current labour intensive system
- Buy the new machinery
- Contract out some of the fabric cutting
We've started you off with the beginning of a decision tree - see if you can draw a full one:
In what other areas of decision making could Cameron Balloons use this sort of technique?
What problems might they face in using decision trees? In what circumstances might they be ineffective?