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Spartan Plastic Limited

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Problem Statement:Spartan Plastics Canada Limited is a subsidiary of Spartan International U.S.A. Spartan manufactured extruded plastic parts. Mr. David Angove was the vice-president of the company. It is a small company with only 50 employees, the company manufacturing process is complex, since the company had been improved the manufacturing process from the original to modified, there are still many problems appearing in the company.

The main problem for the company is to facing the high scrap rate and quality of the product. Another reason is the machine breakdowns, every time the machines stopped and restarted will make scraps out from the machines. Last reason is to produce new product will cause high scrap rates. This scrap problem will cause to the continuous flow process as well.

The primary problem is the scrap from both the original manufacturing process and modified manufacturing process. Along with the advancement of technique, Spartan Plastics should concern more about continuous improvement. Mr. Angove should concerns more about the issues of just-in-time manufacturing and process planning for small batch manufacturing to increase the quality of the product and the profit of the company.

Root caused higher scarp rate is inexperience operators lead to increase the amount of the scrap during the operation. There are ways to help to solve the problems, such as continuous improvement, improve just-in-time system, total quality management and so on.

Analysis:I. Just-in-time systemJust-in-time system is basically in both the movement of goods during production and deliveries from suppliers are carefully timed so that at each step of the process the next batch arrives fro processing just as the preceding batch is completed. Apply to this method that Spartan Plastic Canada Limited needs to guarantee eliminate disruptions, make the system flexible by reducing setup times and lead times. Eliminate waste, especially excess inventory.

The main problem is high scrap rate from the production, because since the company had been use both original and modified manufacturing process, they did not reach the goals of Just-in-time system, during the production that the machines made huge amount the scarps, which is processing waste. Setup time reduction is the problem for the original manufacturing process, it is too complicate to operate the machine, even operators need to be very skillful and experience to control the machines, and inexperience operators bring more scrap than experience operators. Also when switching to the flow processes that operator has to spend long time to do it, which is wasting the time and slowed the productions. Spartan Plastic Limited needs to reduce lead time, because Spartan cannot reach the customer’s expectations in the interval of the ordering and receiving period.

II. Total Quality ManagementThe reason that why inexperience operators make more scraps than experience operators during the regular running, the total quality management is to satisfied customers and establish long term relationship with suppliers. But through the process of production that you cannot reach customer’s expectations that means you are not reaching the total quality management. Spartan cannot reach customer’s expectation, because they do not have a good training program to coach operators, it caused the bad quality of the productions base on the inexperience operators or new operators. Even every time both machines stop and start will bring scarps, to manage this scarps that company has to spend money to recycle them, which means the cost of the production is increased, on the other hand that it also destroy the ecosystem in the world. Spartan Plastics Limited did not realize how seriously the scrap problem caused in both the environment and the business.

There is lack of strong employee motivation in Spartan Plastic Limited, because it does not seem that employees are enjoying their jobs in Spartan, experience operators left within two years, and Mr. Bailey does not seem a good learning coach in Spartan, he seems look down the people that who cannot make it work out. Base on this point of view, new operators would not feel happy about that, because they are inexperience at the beginning, they need to learn from experience operators, which is a good learning coach, but Mr. Bailey just have the bias to operators.

Recommendation:1. Improve Just-in-time systemSpartan Plastic Limited need to improve Just-in-time system, it is control aims to maintain inventory level at zero, with an immediate objective of reducing the capital tied to the inventories. It is an important principle that able to eliminating waste throughout the production system. The waste can occur, through excess inventories and overly large lot sizes, both of which can cause unnecessarily long customer lead times. Let’s explain the role of the core JIT practices in enhancing manufacturing performance. JIT manufacturing requires the establishment of JIT supplier relationships with suppliers; Spartan in this case, that is able and willing to deliver the needed quantities of parts as the needs arise and without any defects.

I. ReduceSetup time.

Refer to the case that the company needs to emphasize the reducing setup times. Planning, process redesign, and product redesign are the factors to reduce setup times. To achieve reduction in order lot size for purchase items, there are several requirements that have to done, first of all is to as possible as to maintain zero inventory, secondly is to improve the quality of the purchase items, thirdly is to reduce the cost of the purchase items as possible, and increase the cost of the production. These requirements are also to avoid the excess inventory, and fake items. On the other hand is to establish the long term relationship with the corporation, as possible as to emphasize the JIT method to demanders, due to understand and trust the company. Also it allows suppliers to command JIT purchasing techniques and benchmarking, to satisfy supplier’s requires and guarantee JIT system.

II. Reduce lead timeReduce lead times that can be shortened such that production is largely in response to demand, forecast errors and associated over and underproduction might be avoided. As Spartan Plastics Limited, they had the order fill rate, and they would be reducing the production batch size as well. During the production that lead time can be reduce by moving work states closer, then operators can move more convenience and fast as well. Also reduce the number of jobs waiting to be processed during the operation. Reduce delivery lead time can through close cooperation with suppliers, it is possible to suppliers that get close with the factory.

III. Continuous ImprovementThe process of continuous improvement is to maximize customer value and satisfaction. It provides certain techniques and tools that lead to outstanding performance in a period. Spartan Plastic Limited needs to reducing setup time, improving quality, increasing the output rate, and cutting waste. The most important element of continuous improvement is to improve the goal of compressing time in any ways as possible. To maintain the goal that manger has to be intelligent, tolerant, and fairly to each other. There are many competitors, as your company is improving the technique, your competitors are also changing, Improve the employee skills appropriately are necessary. Create the safety work environment and increase productivity, the objective is to satisfied customers, and establishes the good relationship with them.

IV. Improve Total quality managementThere are some elements of Total quality management follows. . Spartan’s plastics Canada Limited has a high scrap rate because of the shortening of production runs, lack of experienced operators and high rate of machine breakdowns. There are three recommendations for Mr. David Angove to solve this concern. First of all, Continuous improvement, it is important to Spartan Plastic Limited to improve the lacks of the company on an going basis, it would help to reduce the order-filling process, so far Spartan Plastic Limited still have this problem, it would help to cuts across sales, purchasing, and manufacturing. Secondly, team approach is to help for problem solving and achieve consensus takes advantage of group synergy, because people working in the company that they might lack of communication with co-workers, team work is the way that help employees to build the relationship and trust to each other, even manager and co-workers, it is usefully lead employees to understand more about their jobs and stable their heart of the company. Thirdly, The Company can provide a training program to the employees.

The training program should especially focus on how to reduce the scrap that is generated. And training is the use of quality tools and change to employees and managers. It might completely change employees to think about their work. Spartan Plastic Limited is a potential company to people to work, as long as they can provide more useful training, teach them how to be experiences and let them know what they are doing and help to increase the motivate of each operator’s in the work. To some trainers that if they fail in the first time, learning coach should encourage and support them, give them another chance to correct the mistakes.

Application:I have recognized continuous improvement is related to my work place, I have worked as a learning coach during my shift at Second Cup coffee shop. My responsibilities include coaching the new baristas how to operate the machines, organize the merchandise setting and making standard beverages. One of the new baristas has approached me and questioned about the learning experience at Second Cup and I have told her that my old learning coach has given me the inspiration of implementing a continuous improvements plan on the job training. I have followed the learning coach that I have utilized the Improvement worksheet on the evaluation of the new baristas. The improvement worksheet is a tool that could allow me as a learning coach to focus on the individual. I would like to drop the important improvement areas for her to follow up. I have to remind her that ongoing practices and learning are essential for improving job performance. After several months of coaching, she is become a brilliant barista who could take care of many tasks in an efficient way. From this experience I have applied the knowledge of continuous improvement.


Agnetis, Alessandro, Nicholas G. Hall, and Dario Pacciarelli. “Supply Chain Scheduling: Sequence Coordination.” Discrete Applied Mathematics 154.15 (2006): 2044-63Lee, C.-Y. 1986. The economic order quantity for freight discount costs. IIE Trans. 18(3) 318-320. —–. 1989. A solution to the multiple set-up problem with dynamic demand. IIE Trans. 21(3) 266-270.

Schenck, J., McInerney, J. 1998. Applying vendor-managed inventory to the apparel industry. Automat. I.D. News 14(6) 36-38.

Yano, C., Y. Gerchak. 1989. Transportation contracts and safety stocks for just-in-time deliveries. J. Manufacturing Oper. Management 2 314-330.

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