Assembly Smartphones: Takttime

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Case: Assembling Smartphones: TaktTime ≠ CycleTime?
When a company wants to achieve a competitive advantage through improvement in its operation management (OP), by transforming a process, managers, engineers, etc., it first needs to create a theoretical process design, which is based on a “trade-off” of efficientness (Simon, 1947) and not only in efficiency or resource allocation. Indeed, more than quality and time, cost are taken into account: efficiency at lower cost. But it should be noticed that any theoretical design is based on a series of assumptions, such as time of the process, time of each task, people working at 100% of their capabilities, belief in the future and actual competences, no change in output vs input, etc. So, let’s highlight some of limit of theoretical process design in terms of hard and soft data (external factors and components). First, in this case, it is not certain if all contingencies are taken into consideration during the design. In fact, a design is based on a particular product with its own particulars: it’s difficult to evaluate for smartphones what number or combination of work-steps yields the optimal output. No matter what you do, a manager always has a scope for boosting overall performance. A way of doing this is to detect and remove “bottlenecks”. One approach is to use the Theory of Constraints (Goldratt & Cox, 1986). This theory helps identify bottlenecks in the processes and systems in order to improve performance. Secondly, all humans/operators have their own perceptions of their tasks and job; therefore, it is not easy to anticipate how an individual or a group are going to react to the new process (see uncertainty zone). For example, for Crozier and Friedberg (1977, 1995, p.75), an organized action is “the process through which the strategic interactions among a set of actors placed in a given field of action and mutually dependent for the solution of some common ‘problem’ are stabilized and structured”. In this...
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