‘The Goal’ of Line Balancing

The day of the line balancing telecom with AJAX had arrived and Patty was nervous. She had a feeling that the meeting might be contentious.

She felt some relief that The Professor would be teleconing in. The Professor had asked Patty to request a brief tour to measure the chipshooter and flexible placer placement times on one of the lines.

Patty arrived at AJAX an hour before the telecon. Rob took her for the tour. After the tour Patty and Rob went to the meeting room. While they were setting the computer projector and telecom equipment up, the attendees started to arrive. Patty had agreed to give a short presentation on the importance of line balancing, to kick things off. Rob had already told her that Charlie, the lead senior engineer, would be a hard sell.

After everyone had arrived and Patty had called The Professor, she began her brief presentation on line balancing. AJAX has three similar assembly lines each with a $2 million Pinnacle ultra high speed chipshooter and one of Pinnacle’s top of the line flexible placers.

On her tour, Patty measured the placement time for the chipshooter at 81 seconds and the flexible placer at 18 seconds. Patty mentioned in her presentation that for maximum productivity the chipshooter and flexible placer should each take the same amount of time. Upon hearing this comment, Charlie hit the roof.

“Let me tell you something about running a manufacturing facility, little girl,” Charlie fumed at Patty. “When I bought them three $2 million chipshooters, I promised Tom Stevens that I would work them puppies to death. Everyone knows that to minimize costs you must use your expensive equipment the most, so I make sure every feeder is full on all them there chip shooters.”

Patty couldn’t tell whether she was more intimidated or annoyed, but was ready to speak when The Professor intervened.

“Charlie, have you read The Goal?” asked the Professor.

“The only ‘Goal’ I have is to down a few cold ones after I finish wit youse guys.” Charlie shot back.

Patty looked a Charlie’s ponderous beer gut and thought to herself, Now that is something I believe!

Was Charlie right? How does The Goal fit in? Will the meeting take a more productive turn? Who is Tom Stevens?

Stay tuned for the latest.


Dr. Ron

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About Dr. Ron

Materials expert Dr. Ron Lasky is a professor of engineering and senior lecturer at Dartmouth, and senior technologist at Indium Corp. He has a Ph.D. in materials science from Cornell University, and is a prolific author and lecturer, having published more than 40 papers. He received the SMTA Founders Award in 2003.