Polaroid Case

Polaroid Case Objectives
* Introduces the construction and use of statistical process control (SPC) charts and an understanding of the relationship between SPC and conformance quality.
* Creating the strategy and implementation steps for transforming an operation from inspection-based to one that relies on statistically controlled process.
* Understanding the complex human and organizational problems that occur when the basic operating philosophy is changed.
* Applying quality tools to assess the root causes of defect problems. Understanding the limits of product sampling and inspection methods, especially for a product that is destroyed by the inspection process itself Assignment: In the mid 1980s, one of Polaroid’s instant film plants is reassessing its traditional approach to quality and is trying to move itself onto a new improvement path. Management must decide what recently gathered data reveal about process control and what actions are appropriate.

  1. What is the magnitude of cost of quality problems at the R2 plant? How effective were its past procedures for quality management?
  2. Using the data in the exhibits and the note on process control charts, construct and analyze the appropriate SPC charts. What conclusions should Rolfs draw?
  3. What recommendations would you make to Rolfs in order to address both near- and longer- term issues?
  4. How did Polaroid maintain quality film cartridges before Project Greenlight? What are the implications of that approach
  5. What is Rolf’s strategy for Project Greenlight?
  6. From your analysis of the pod weights, is the pod-making process in control?
  7. What about the finger height of the injection molded plastic end cap? How can you begin to understand what’s going on here?
  8. Is the pod weight process a capable process? How is capability determined?
  9. What is your assessment of Project Greenlight?
  10. Is the quality better or worse as a result of Project Greenlight? Process control at Polaroid Basing your analysis on both quantitative and qualitative tools, what evidence is there that quality is getting better?

Pod Weight control According to Pod Weight control chart in Appendix, the pod weight performance variability is within the control limit (between 2. 74 – 2. 835), which means the process is in control. This indicates the quality is getting better since the Pod Weight defect rate is normal (Pod Weight measurement is a part of defect report issued by operator, which continue 1% after Greenlight implementation) and in control, although they reduce the number of quality control samples. However, each average of sample of the last five shifts has decreasing trend. Therefore, Polaroid might want to investigate the cause before the process is out of control. Less Quality Control expense

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Since quality control activities do not add value to the Polaroid camera, a company normally wants to reduce the cost of quality control as much as possible. In Polaroid, the quality control process itself can increase the defect rate and makes the sampling product to be reworked. Therefore, reducing the number of samples by implementing Greenlight saves the company’s expense. Standardize the process Prior to the Greenlight project, the process quality at Polaroid was rely on operators’ individual performance since each of them had their own mindset how to handle the machines from their experience.

The knowledge of dealing with machines belonged to operators, not the company. The Greenlight project s provides the standard direction, which benefits to the company since now the knowledge belongs to the company. Basing your analysis on both quantitative and qualitative tools, what evidence is there that quality is getting worse? Finger Height control The control chart of Finger Height measurement in appendix is not as good as Pod Weight. 20 of 45 sampling data are out of control. Moreover, the interval between the maximum and average.

I. We Need Greenlight ‘ But for Which Reason?

Quality control of film cartridges on R2 was a routine process, but the QC department found that there are some discrepancies between the defect rate of QC auditors and the Operators. Defects were being passed through the entire manufacturing process unnoticed. While pre-existing measurements at quality control showed low overall defect rates, there were complications in the process and interference from operators that affected QC numbers.

Project Greenlight was initially necessary to allow for accurate measurement of processes and quality control during the process as opposed to the end of the process. Once implemented, Greenlight would serve to measure and identify manufacturing process steps that were not in control and might produce defects. While necessary to provide a clear understanding of quality control through each step of the manufacturing process, upper management seemed less interested in Greenlight’s success as a source of continual improvement and more in its ability to cut personnel from the quality ontrol side. Greenlight is necessary in their minds, but not for the reasons we have suggested.

II. X-bar and R charts to the Rescue. (Please see exhibits 1-5 in the appendix for R2 process control charts) After generating X-bar and R charts for both the finger height and pod weight processes, we can generate a few conclusions. First, both R-charts show subgroup ranges that are within the control limits, which suggests that the variation between subgroups is consistent. However, we can clearly see from the X-bar chart for finger height that this process is not in control.

Moreover, this seems to be a substantial problem, as these limits are violated frequently. Exhibit 5 shows the graphs for finger-height and pod-weight in each shift. The pod weight graphs for Shift A, B and C shows that processes are in control. Finger height graphs for shift B shows that…

Polaroid Case I. We Need Greenlight ‘ But for Which Reason?

Quality control of film cartridges on R2 was a routine process, but the QC department found that there are some discrepancies between the defect rate of QC auditors and the Operators.

Defects were being passed through the entire manufacturing process unnoticed. While pre-existing measurements at quality control showed low overall defect rates, there were complications in the process and interference from operators that affected QC numbers. Project Greenlight was initially necessary to allow for accurate measurement of processes and quality control during the process as opposed to the end of the process. Once implemented, Greenlight would serve to measure and identify manufacturing process steps that were not in control and might produce defects.

While necessary to provide a clear understanding of quality control through each step of the manufacturing process, upper management seemed less interested in Greenlight’s success as a source of continual improvement and more in its ability to cut personnel from the quality control side. Greenlight is necessary in their minds, but not for the reasons we have suggested.

II. X-bar and R charts to the Rescue. (Please see exhibits 1-5 in the appendix for R2 process control charts) After generating X-bar and R charts for both the finger height and pod weight processes, we can generate a few conclusions.

First, both R-charts show subgroup ranges that are within the control limits, which suggests that the variation between subgroups is consistent. However, we can clearly see from the X-bar chart for finger height that this process is not in control. Moreover, this seems to be a substantial problem, as these limits are violated frequently. Exhibit 5 shows the graphs for finger-height and pod-weight in each shift. The pod weight graphs for Shift A, B and C shows that processes are in control.

Finger height graphs for shift B shows that process is out of control as several points fall outside of the control limits. Finger height shift A and C are in control but many points are close to upper control limits in the X-bar charts. From this analysis we conclude that the process involved in finger height is problematic and should be optimized before moving forward on analysis of other parts of the overall process. The regular violation of control limits may point to a significant contribution to overall quality control rejections.

III. Quality Check

“Type of Defects” (exhibit 4) and “Reported Defect Rates” (exhibit 5) suggests that the output quality of R2 has declined. The reported defective rate from the operators had decreased from under 1% to 0. 5% and the defective rate from the central process auditors had increased from over 1% to levels averaging 10% (stated in case). The exhibits also show that although the types of defects noticed by the operator and auditor are same, but the number of times the defect observed by auditor is significantly igher. Factors contributing to decrease in quality of product are numerous. R2 does not inspect for the types of defects that consumers notice. Rather, it inspects for more technical, hidden defects. Operators do not follow the guidelines for interpreting control charts as most of the defects are sighted by Quality Control at the end of the process. Some problems that operators did not regard as important are not reported and result in rejection by quality control at the end of the process.

Operators tweak the machines when products do not meet the process control limit resulting in greater inconsistency within the process. All of these influences suggest that overall product quality has declined with the implementation of Greenlight. However, it is more likely that output quality continues to exist at pre-Greenlight levels, but is simply measured more effectively than in the past and is a system in which operators cannot manipulate over QC numbers.

IV. Greenlight to the Future

Moving forward on the R2 line over the coming six months will involve not only statistical analysis of the manufacturing processes, but alignment of the work staff to achieve continually achieve better results. Creating this culture of continual improvement will be more difficult the measurement part, but in will allow process data to be leveraged to increase quality output and in the end reduce costs on the R2 line. This will begin with a closer partnership with process operators.

In the current situation, operators have little reason to buy into Greenlight. For this project to be effective, they will have to have to be compensated for their good performance. We suggest a bonus payment structure that rewards operators not only for improvement of the process step they are responsible for, but also for shift and overall effectiveness at achieving in-control processes and better quality. Additionally, Bud must seek to form a partnership with upper management and convincing this group that capital nvestments will be needed to make Greenlight effective in the long run. While this project has the potential to generate increased efficiencies across the R2 line in the long run, it does not represent a tool for immediate reactionary cost-cutting, which may be upper management’s original reasons for supporting this initiative.

Jesse
from Nandarnold

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