The Portland Plant’s Operations Management

Identify the core competency

The Portland Plant’s core competency is the production process, which occurs within some given specifications. Before the curling crisis, the paper products were of high quality as its culture hinged on quality production within specified stipulations. The Plant also served as the most reliable supplier for Hewlett Packard, which helped in the introduction of quality control mechanisms in the operations. Also, the Portland Plant’s managers ensured that its products met high standards before releasing them into the market. Moreover, low-quality products were dumped.

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Discuss and agree on an optimal forecast method

Various forecast methods based on quality control mechanisms and operations management can be applied in the Portland Plant’s case. The best optimal forecasting model for large production plants is the time series forecasting system due to its ability to provide a variety of tools that are essential for identifying potential forecasting models and producing the best fitting ones. The model is statistical and uses variables within the Plant’s reach to come out with the best fit models.

Design a process layout and suggest appropriate technology

The operation manager is responsible for recommending the most suitable process layout for a plant about time, cost, and quality control efficiency. The main challenge to the Plant is quality control and upgrading. Hence, the Plant needs a production process layout that will ensure high-quality products to meet customers’ specifications (Slack, Chambers, & Johnston, 2010). Also, Hewlett Packard has requested a quality-upgrading new contract to supply papers for the Viper project. Hence the operations manager recommends a process design that will produce high-quality documents that meet customers’ expectations for the new contract.

Discuss your observations of the organization’s culture and its people

The Plant’s organizational culture is based on customer satisfaction rather than the production of high-quality products. Its main objective is to produce items that are within the specifications of the customers to satisfy them. The craving culture to meet customers’ expectations seems to have made the Plant adamant about improving the quality of the products. Such a change needs to be done frequently in a competitive business environment. The people operating within the organization also seem to have been careless of keeping quality standards in check. They do not act on the issue until getting an alert from Hewlett Packard. Hence, the organizational culture needs to be changed for the employees’ attitude to shift to quality focus instead of solely customer satisfaction. In the current situation, employees believe that customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of production while ignoring the need to improve the products’ quality.

Examine Figure 10.4 P and D for the different types of planning and control (pg 277). Identify the organization type The organization has a business-to-customer relationship, which implies that it is a consumer product organization.

Select the type that you think best fits the Portland Plant for planning and control. Support your decision

The best style that fits Portland Plant is the business-to-customer relationship, as the company will receive immediate feedback from its customers concerning the nature of product control.

Brainstorm on what you think are the quality issues in the case

The most notable quality issues concern employee training, leadership, and operating machinery. The quality of employee training has a direct impact on the quality of work done in an organization. Thus Portland Plant seems to have offered low-quality training to its employees. The Portland Plant’s leadership has also failed as its leaders do not take the quality control reports seriously until it is too late to rectify a problem. Also, the machinery used in the production line also seems to be not of proper standards; this fact is coupled with the lack of adequate maintenance, and thus the company produces low-quality paper (Chase, Jacobs, & Aquilano, 2007).

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Discuss what you think is the quality approach used at the Portland Plant and why it is working or not working

The best quality approach for the Portland Plant is the introduction of a quality assurance department, which is managed and controlled by professionals. The quality assurance department will be responsible for testing and validating the quality of the products. It will also carry out its mandate on a daily basis to assure high-quality maintenance to the different stakeholders. Customers have trust in the companies that have quality assurance departments that check and guarantee products’ quality on a regular basis. Thus the Plant will gain the confidence of Hewlett Packard if such a department is created.

Develop and agree on a quality approach. Explain why the system was chosen, how it will improve conditions, and what will be involved in terms of training and sustaining a high degree of process integrity.

The best quality approach for Portland Plant, in its current condition, is to stop the production processes and embark on the upgrade and maintenance exercise of the production line in order to attain the needed standards and be capable of producing higher quality products. This approach will allow the Plant to do away with the old production norms and acquire new ones. The new methods will enable the Plant to gain customers’ trust. The moment customers get value for their money by getting quality products, their trust, and loyalty surge, and thus Portland Plant should work on strategies to ensure quality. The new approach calls for employee training on new methods as opposed to the old production line. Any meaningful shift calls for employee training so that the company will reap the benefits of the transformation. In addition, the new approach enhances a high degree of process integrity, which is necessary for high-quality assurance.

Select and agree on at least three Quality tools that are appropriate for the Portland Plant. Explain why tools were chosen, how tools will improve conditions, and what will be involved in terms of training and sustaining a high degree of process integrity.

Three quality control tools necessary for Portland Plant include a new production line, employee training, and installation of a quality assurance department. The above tools will enable the Plant to produce new products under the newly improved conditions where high process integrity is guaranteed (Chorafas, 2012). Employee training will involve the operations of newly-installed machinery and production quality control measures, which should always be observed in organizational processes.

Brainstorm and agree on a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statement. Include the commitment to sustainable goals, the quality of life of the workforce, and the needs of stakeholders.

As a part of society, Portland Plant should have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statement that assures responsibility to the needs of the stakeholders and especially the ones surrounding its premises. It should take such a form as Becoming the best paper producing Plant in the world by providing the right working environment and prioritizing the stakeholders’ welfare.

Then, in two paragraphs, use some of the answers from the above question and explain how the operation design, planning, and control could be improved in the Turnaround at the Portland Plant case.

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Operations management should be done in order for the production processes to be of high integrity (Lewis & Slack, 2003). This exercise calls for an easily manageable operation design and planning for the operations management team in order for the problems to be identified within the shortest time possible after its occurrence. Operations management is essential for smooth production processes as issues in the production line are kept at manageable levels. In addition, operations management will need well-trained employees to be in place in order to reduce the risk of failure in operations as well as keeping the production process under proper watch (Mahadevan, 2010).

The control exercise is very crucial for Portland Plant as the product problem reported by Hewlett Packard was a result of a lack of control in the production line. Hence, the implementation of a control process will ensure that the Plant produces high-quality products. In order to achieve a reasonable production turnaround angle, Portland Plant will need new leadership to manage and guide the company in order to enhance the upgrading of the Plant. The new direction will assist employees in changing their culture and the old mentality as opposed to retaining the leadership that has failed to pioneer a good culture and high-quality production levels.

References

Chase, R., Jacobs, F., & Aquilano, N. (2007). Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Chorafas, D. (2012). Quality Control Applications. London, UK: Springer.

Lewis, M., & Slack, N. (2003). Operations Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Mahadevan, B. (2010). Operations Management: Theory and Practice. New Delhi, India: Pearson Education, India, 2010.

Slack, N., Chambers, S., & Johnston, R. (2010). Operations management. Essex, UK: Pearson Education.

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