1. Briefly describe salt production, from brine production to finished round cans. Salt is obtained by introducing water into salt caverns which in turn dissolves the salt deposits within the caverns, allowing the salt solution (brine) to be brought to the surface for further processing. The brine is boiled in order to remove most of the liquid, resulting in salt crystal deposits. The salt crystal deposits are then further dried to remove all residual moisture to produce the final product; salt. The finished product is stored within a silo awaiting production. The round cans used for packaging salt are produced on-site. The cans are produced by gluing two sheets of chip board and rolled into a continuous tube. The tube is then cut into long sections and then cut again into can-size pieces. The finished pieces are moved on conveyor to where the various parts can be assembled into cans and glued. Once the cans are formed, they are filled with salt and the pour spout is added to the can. Once completed, the finished cans containing salt are loaded onto pallets and placed into inventory awaiting shipping to distributors.
2. Briefly describe quality assurance efforts in round can production. Quality is checked primarily by visual inspection including verifying the assembly was done correctly, checking the filled cans for correct weight, inspecting cans to ensure labels are correctly aligned, and checking to see whether metal pour spouts are correctly attached.
3. What are some of the possible reasons why the company continues to use the old processing equipment instead of buying new, more modern equipment? The company may not have updated its equipment because of the high cost of investment in new machinery.
4. Where would you place salt production in the product-process spectrum? Salt production would be a low variety, high volume operation which would place it as a repetitive production or continuous flow in the product-process matrix.
5. Determine the approximate number of tons of salt produced annually. (3,800,000 cans per year) x (26 ounces of salt per can) = 98,800,000 ounces per year. (98,800,000 ounces per year) / (16 ounces per pound) = 6,175,000 pounds per year. (6,175,000 pounds per year) / (2000 pounds per ton) = 3,087.5 tons of salt per year.
6. What improvements can you suggest for the plant?
a.Application of Statistical Process Control (SPC) to reduce the cost of quality.
b.Develop a plan to overhaul the existing equipment and to purchase new equipment as a joint effort among finance, purchasing and manufacturing areas.
c.Synchronize production, distribution and capacity planning to make sure that there is sufficient capacity in the silos to handle the incoming salt from brine production. Reduce operating expense by introducing computerized QA for round can production for the following processes: electronically measure filled can weight, use a computerized laser to measure and ensure labels are properly aligned, use a mechanical stress test to ensure metal spouts are correctly attached
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