Cellular manufacturing derives its basic principles from the “lean” manufacturing system popularize by Toyota Motor Corporation. In cellular manufacturing, group technology dominates the process making use of similarity between parts effectively achieving a standardized common processing unit.
There is a great improvement in flow of materials in cellular manufacturing and in most cases there is a reduction in the distances the materials travel. There is also a significant reduction of inventory and cumulative lead times in the manufacturing process. According to Black (2000, p. 177), the cell manufacturing concept helps firms produce inventory that is only on demand, potentially avoiding wastage especially in the cases of goods with a short shelf life. It is important to note that in cell manufacturing, most of the processing takes place within the cell resulting in better quality products.
In a nutshell, cellular manufacturing is saves on time, costs and add flexibility to the manufacturing process. Traditional or functional production manufacturing gives emphasis to equipment utilization (Swamdimass & Darlow, 2000, p.17). In this setting, it is common for manufacturers to lump equipments together in a highly demarcated manner with little regard for efficiency. In most cases, traditional/ functional manufacturing systems are prone to equipment breakdowns compromising quality.
Inventory overproduction is common in functional/traditional manufacturing systems, concern that manufacturers are addressing through cellular production (Roth, 2007, p.89). Like any business process, cellular manufacturing has its merits and demerits, especially if applied in a fast food restaurant setting. Cellular manufacturing will help a fast food restaurant produce better quality food “on order” basis thanks to the process’ efficiency. Additionally, the restaurant stands to avoid over production and effectively, wastage because it will produce food that is only ordered. In case of a breakdown however, the entire cell goes down thus stopping production of a particular type of food.
This is likely to elicit backlash from customers and a bad customer service reputation in the long-run. Determination of a first food’s supply chain effectiveness may take place through measurement of its time of delivery, wastage and levels of inventory produced. Customer responsiveness can also help determine effectiveness of a fast food supply chain. Time of delivery is important given that fast food outlets mostly deal with time conscious people including office workers and travelers.
Any discrepancy in the time of delivery therefore is likely to point to inefficiency of the supply chain process. Wastage is always likely in fast food restaurants especially due to the perishable nature of the products they deal with. An effective supply chain process will ensure efficiency in inventory production effectively reducing wastage. Closely related to wastage are inventory levels. Production of inventory should match the demand at the fast food; otherwise the supply chain will be infective if inventory falls below or above required levels. An auto insurance company engages in completely different business from fast food restaurants, hence its metrics are not same as the above. In an auto insurance company, the rate of claims processing, responsiveness, financial stability and low costs may help in determining the effectiveness of its supply chain process. Fast processing of claims, sound financial footing and on time responsiveness will indicate effectiveness of the supply chain.
A careful evaluation of metrics mentioned above for both fast food restaurants and auto insurance companies will correctly determine the effectiveness of their respective supply chains.
Black, J. T.
(2000). Lean Manufacturing Implementation. London: Kluwer Academic.
Roth, V.A. (2007). Handbook of metrics for research in operations management. New York: McGraw Hill. Swamdimass, P. M.
& Darlow, N. R. (2000). Manufacturing Strategy. London: Kluwer Academic.