Operational Analysis and Effectiveness Essay

Pages: 16 (5135 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

Manufacturing Management

A Case Study From the Perspective of the Manufacturing Manager

How would you as the manufacturing manager from the perspective of production and operations ensure that there is no interruption of inbound raw materials and components from your suppliers?

The current business atmosphere is dramatically different than that into which retail competitors entered just a decade ago. A variety of broad-based economic changes have prompted the need for core strategic reformation, with many organizations struggling to survive in the face of both global recession and the forces of global trade liberalization. Both of these have had a significant impact on the degree to which manufacturing and production operations are able to function. For organizations such as the one at the center of this theoretical case study, this change has carried with it significant implications for retaining operational viability. Particularly, this case concerns a theoretical organization operating within the medical supply manufacturing field. This is selected for several reasons, including the continued robustness of healthcare supplies even in the midst of recession; the continued demand for such supplies; and the importance of both production and service. These allow a hypothetical scenario in which I am the manufacturing manager responsible for ensuring production and operations remain steady in the face of supplier and resource changes.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Operational Analysis and Effectiveness Assignment

The discussion is underscored by the insights lent from the text by Heizer & Render (2005), which provides our research with some core management competencies such as defining the balance between goods and services; recognizing the core challenges produced by globalization; and identifying the conditions of the supply chain as they impact future operational decisions. Indeed, in the discussion, the recommendations produced and in the industry within which the case study has been contextualized, the text by Heizer & Render provides critical background knowledge.

To be certain, in the medical supply industry, our dependency on the relationship established with our suppliers has been crucial. This is true to the extent that our price structure, the expedience of our distribution and the scale of our available stock all hinge on the steady and consistent production values and practices of the domestic suppliers with whom we have historically conducted our business. Therefore, in the current economic scenario, where suppliers are beginning to close up shop and declare bankruptcy, we have been forced to make some difficult decisions in the interest of preventing a critical disruption in our supply chain. The discussion hereafter will consider the various practical managerial implications of the scenario, detailing the impact of such macro-economic factors as the current recession and globalization on the company's current outlook and the decisions which I as manager must therefore consider. This will be intended to elucidate the appropriate path for retaining its essential effectiveness while executing some inherently dramatic change in the primary business operation.

Some background on the company and its current problems is appropriate and provides insight into the goods and services which are provided by the organization. Our manufacturing firm is driven by many of the conditions that are present throughout the medical supply field. Particularly, our external supplier relationships have long been crucial to our operation, with our steady acquisition of raw materials helping to define our pricing structure, to shape our supply chain and to impact the experience of our consumers. Therefore, any disruption in this area of the operation is likely to have a sustained and negative impact on our ability to meet the needs of important consumers and clients.

Our clients will tend to be healthcare facilities, with private doctors and specialist clinics making use of our bandages, wound dressings and hand sanitizer items but with larger hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities making up the largest share of our revenue. In addition to providing a regular flow of these bandage and wound care products, we also provide several in-house nurses who accompany our salesmen for presentations, who help our distributors make hospital rounds and who are instrumental in training and guidance that can help clients to use our products more optimally. This is a service which is provided as an included benefit to becoming a sustained and regular client. This helps to form the basis for the goods and services which we provide, making both aspects of our operation fully dependent upon the pricing, availability and distribution which is facilitated by our various supplying partners.

Our company's situation is not a unique one in today's business environment. Quite to the contrary, the issue of balancing price competition with quality management juxtaposes sharply with conditions of the current marketplace. Particularly, the deep and catastrophic retraction and erosion of America's factory front has obliterated labor opportunities, reversed growth trends and shifted the center of America's manufacturing economy away from the markets which it previously designed and sustained. Simultaneously, the trade liberalization facilitated by globalization has had the effect of opening up labor markets with much lower costs of operation. In countries where labor protections and environmental protections are less stringent, and where smaller economic scales also denote proportionally lower labor costs, manufacturers in nations such as the United States have found it impossible to compete. This has been true in the medical supply business, where our suppliers have one by one retracted or folded operations, sending their jobs and most of their clients to firms overseas. We have worked particularly hard to retain a degree of quality through our in-house manufacturing process as our competitors slash quality and price. While this had already constituted a decline in market-share, we had been able to refocus our marketing efforts to meet the interests of those clients with a priority toward quality over affordability. As suppliers become increasingly incapable of remaining afloat in this atmosphere, however, the pressure for our organization to adapt its approach has become an even greater imperative now precipitous of mere survival.

This poses a considerable dilemma for our firm, and particularly for those of us in manufacturing management roles. Weighing the implications of the decision that so many competitors have made to begin importing products from overseas manufacturers, it is necessary to consider the realities associated with such a change in location strategy. With the opening of free trade paths between the developed and developing world, our global economic alignment is coming to reflect a divided pursuit of collective advancement which imposes a byproduct of considerable detriment to a wide range of parties. Shaiken (2004) draws the conclusion that the diminished emphasis on the acquisition of labor skills that are informed by the socio-cultural context of their intended product market is reducing the performance and production quality yielded by workers. This is especially true of manufacturing sites where advanced technological processes are utilized, with global outsourcing far removing workers from the site of the new technology's evolution.

This necessitates a change in the labor specialization within the broader economy, with the reorganization of our production serving to combat a "fierce world-wide competition for jobs [which] threatens to undercut wages and working conditions." (Shaiken, 1) This situation has helped to prompt the situation currently facing our organization, which must find ways not to evade but to participate in the changing nature of business. Therefore, our decisions must be informed by a fuller understanding of what has occurred across the last decade. To this point, the most compelling and forthright representation of globalization may well be captured in the words of progressive stock speculator and philanthropist George Soros, who observed that "the salient features of globalization is that it allows the financial capital to move around freely, by contrast, the movement of the people remains heavily regulated." (Shaiken, 3) This is particularly true of socioeconomic mobility, which is evidently supplanted in a globalizing market by the extension of wealth for the economically elite and a simultaneous widening of the gap between rich and poor. Such a resolution points to a fundamental aspect of contention in the discussion of globalization, which concerns how best to approach the labor scenario produced by the condition of globalization. For our organization, which is deeply dependent upon the quality labor of its in-house manufacturing staff, an incapacity to continue to execute its long-standing manufacturing strategy has precipitated serious consideration of dismantling many of its in-house facilities. With respect to the labor, equipment and in-house factory facilities which have defined our process and capacity, a serious retraction of such assets could be a real prospect.

This is not just a change which is occurring across labor and manufacturing fields but additionally through service channels as well, which is of primary interest to an organization such as ours that provides both. During the last decade, the presence of American corporations in developing states such as India has produced a new class of technology labor. Through this duration, "Indian programmers, already well educated and fluent in English, became proficient in exactly the systems American and European companies were rushing to embrace." (Prestowitz, 85) This would precipitate a current reality in which, beyond the loss of American production jobs during… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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