Campbell Soup Company (CSC) was a diversified food processor known for its strong brands and product quality. One of its products is produce ready-to-serve soups for customer who is not able to make soup. Formerly, Campbell’s products spread all over 3 segments of condensed soups, ready-to-serve soups and dry soup, and it is considering to expand its product to microwavable soups to make customer more convenient for preparing soup without container. The following figure showed the foundation of CSC. CSC used its engineering support and diversified production line to support customers with convenient, good taste and quality food.
CSC is a decentralized company; its strategy is to diversify its business to product several products, and expand its marketing share. Something behind the diversified production line, used to support its operating system, is its CIRT and CCID department. Those are charged with process R&D, product development, packaging and engineering systems. CSC used production line for its operating system. The advantage of it is to reduce WIP among the process, and it required high quality and stable operating system to avoid the unexpected shut down.
CSC is developing a new product of microwavable soup, which is assigned to Plastigon line in the early 1980s. However, the Plastigon line is taking so long for result. Because of this, Elsner was assigned to resolve Plastigon’s technical problems and make Campbell’s engineering more effective and efficient.
1.Conflict between organization and development process
From the current CSC’s product development process of task forces, we know CSC would appoint the appropriate engineer from any department in charge of the new process. The advantage of this way is more flexible and superior because everyone has the suitable skill in charge of the new process. However, there is no clear assignment of who is responsible to run this project team. That caused nobody took it to be their obligation, they actually wanted less and less to be involved. Their position was, “Wait until it’s a proven process” and then CSC will be ready to accept the line for their operation.
Otherwise, coordination between engineers form various groups was difficult because often the engineers were not at the plant at the same time. Even when some were present, they had their own tests to run and not usually were not interested in running the line as a whole. This situation caused the other problem that the problem of the other part of production line would occur when the problem of one part was resolved due to incoordination among all parts.
As we know, the production process which CSC used is production line, which can be described the products are manufacturing as a continuous flow. Production line requires standard and stable process with good quality to avoid occurring shut-down. If one part was shut-down, that would influence other parts.
Aiming at conflict between organization and development process, the problem is due to the structure of organization is different from development process. The organization is decentralized, but R&D is centralized. However, because different product has different feature, R&D should have different knowledge and experiment in charge in different product. For example, microwavable soup can be used by microwave, so it requires different material, and R&D has to consider the different point and set up a suitable process for it. At this point, I suggest CSC decentralizes its R&D into different product. When CSC decides to produce a new product, they should take appropriate engineers from R&D, and make a subgroup for the new product.
After that, set up a pilot for this group who is responsible for this production line, and integrate whole engineers. Engineers have different expertise in their area, so how to coordinate them to devote their knowledge to this production line is also a crucial point. The duty of the pilot is to lead this group and responsible for proving this process. Using this way, the subgroup has to transfer to the new plant, which would reduce the transit times by using centralization. Furthermore, engineers would run their part at the same time, which would improve the efficiency of the process.
Second, CSC used production line for its process; however, it would make whole process shut-down if any part was in trouble. Otherwise, the most parts of this process are made by human resources. The efficiency of each person decides the efficiency of whole process. If workers have different efficiency, that would cause the process not continuous. It means idol time would occur between each part. To resolve this problem, I suggest CSC change its process from production line to job-shop. Although job-shop would produce more WIP, the influence would be reduced by using this way, and the process would not entirely shut down. That makes the whole process produce smoothly, and standard.
Furthermore, aiming at the point of the most parts of this process is made by human resources. I suggest CSC should prepare Quality System Document and on-the-job training program with handbook which can help workers to familiar with whole process and operation soon. If training program and handbook are more detailed, workers are easy to find answers from them for their questions without the instruction of supervisor, and help them become skillful operators.