Chapter 4 Discussion Questions
1. Classify the following types of processes as continuous, assembly line, batch, job shop, or project:
2. Why are assembly-line processes usually so much more efficient but less flexible than batch processes? Give three reasons
3. The rate of productivity improvement in the service industry has been much lower than in manufacturing. Can this be attributed to process selection decisions? What problems would be involved in using more efficient processes in service industries?
4. The project process typically in used for skyscraper construction. Does this lead to higher costs? Could more efficient processes be used? If so, how?
5. Several industries—including those which produce furniture, houses, sailboats, and fashion clothing—have never processed down the diagonal of the product-process matrix to become highly standardized and efficient. Why do you think this is so? Is this a serious problem?
6. Compare the expensive restaurant, fast-food restaurant, and cafeteria in terms of process characteristics such us capital, product type, labor, planning, and control systems.
7. An entrepreneur is planning to go into the food business. How would he or she decide whether to open a cafeteria, fast-food restaurant, or fine restaurant? What factors should be considered in his decision?
8. A company is the business of making souvenir spoons to customer order. The customer selects the size of the spoons and may specify the design to be embossed on them. One or more spoons may be ordered. The company is considering going into the make-to-stock spoon business for souvenir spoons and everyday tableware as well. What will it have to do differently? How is the business likely to change?
9. What are the possible consequences of defining a marketing strategy independently of the process strategy?
10. What are the strategies of the following organizations? Is the strategy defined in terms of product or process or both?
11. Suppose that a film is considering moving from a batch process to assembly line process to better meet evolving market needs. What concerns might the following functions have about this proposed process change: marketing, finance, human resources, accounting, and information systems?
12. A new business is considered starting up a new plant to produce low-volume, standard products. They are hoping that the business will grow and the product eventually will become successful and sell in high volumes.
A. How should the business configure its processes so that it can meet both current and future needs?
B. What are the financial and human resource implications of your answer to part (a)?
13. Give an example of mass customization not discussed in the chapter.
14. What techniques or approaches can be used to achieve mass customization in practice?
15. What is the difference between economies of scale and economies of scope? How do firms consider these when investing in processes?
16. What are some of the classic signs of an unfocused operation?
17. What are the pros and cons of organizing a plant-within-a-plant?
18. In what circumstances would you recommend not using a focused operation?
19. Why should operations be concerned with environmental issues?
20. What are the main ways in which processes are managed to accommodate environmental regulations?