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Once this takes place, it could mean that Toshiba may have a parts shortage (which is having an adverse effect on productivity). To address this issue, the line should be redesigned to ensure each station has its own extra supply of parts. This will help to prevent possible supply disruptions and can maintain the 300 units per day target. Where, the strategy will allow the line, to continuously function, without having any kind of slowdowns or disruptions. Once this takes place, it will increase productivity and maintain the current labor cost structure.
The efficiency of this new design is that it will eliminate the wasted amounts of time during the work week, by ensuring that there is no reason for the line to slowdown. The constant monitoring for employee exhaustion / productivity addresses the human factors of the production line. While the parts shortage will ensure that the there will never be any kind of slowdowns. ("Designing Toshiba's Notebook Computer Assembly Line, " n.d.) Once this occurs, it will increase efficiency by allowing the company to streamline their operations.
What other issues might Toshiba consider when bringing the new assembly line up to speed?
Two additional issues that Toshiba would have to wrestle with as far as the new assembly line is concerned are: possible changes in demand and challenges facing outside suppliers. Changing demand is problematic, because if the company is not carefully monitoring their supply chain, they could easily over ship a number of different units. Once this occurs, it could force Toshiba to scale down production. Given the fact that the production line is fairly new, means that there is a possibility that managers could realize changes in demand (once it is to late). This is because, there was no past benchmarks to help determine when this was taking place, which contributed to the situation.
The various challenges facing outside suppliers are troubling, because they could have an impact upon the new production line. The reason why, is the various costs for raw materials and other components could be increasing. A recent example of this occurred when raw material costs for: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium and gadolinium increased. These different elements are essential in the production of electronic devices ranging from: cell phones to computers. This is the consequence of strong demand and not enough supplies on the market. As a result, this is having an adverse effect on the company's product line. As it is making it more challenging to find the parts they need to maintain production levels. ("China Japan Dispute Shine Light on Rare Earth Materials," 2010)
Clearly, Toshiba is taking the ideas of the past and is augmenting them with their own strategies to improve the production of various laptop computers. As they are using an approach of monitoring how each employee is performing on the line. This is accomplished through having added personnel that can relive the individual, once they become tired. At the same time, they are having each team member monitor for various quality and control procedures. This is important, because it is underscoring how the new strategy can be able to address the issues of reducing costs and maximizing productivity. However, the three biggest issues that will be faced with the implementation of the new production line are: maintaining the maximum production rate of 300 units per day consistently, changes in demand and challenges facing outside suppliers. These issues are important, because they can undermine the productivity of the new system that is being introduced. As a result, management needs to engage in a strategy that will give executives flexibility. Over the course of time, this will help the company be able to adapt to these possible challenges, allowing them to realize their productivity and cost objectives.
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Ayers (2000, p. 4) describes a supply chain as "Life cycle processes supporting physical, information, financial, and knowledge flows for moving products and services from suppliers to end-users." A supply chain can be short, as in the case of a cottage industry, or quite long and complex as in the manufacture, distribution, and sales of automobiles. In fact, the automobile supply chain has its origin in the mining of the
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