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Q1. Devise a Manufacturing Strategy plan for a start up automobile company, Bharath Car Audio, which specializes in Car Audio Equipment.


Answer:

Manufacturing personnel always find it a challenge to match the companys needs. This is due to an increase in customer expectations and competitor capabilities, and also because of outdated manufacturing methods. Thus, the manufacturing personnel can meet market expectations only by realigning themselves to market trends and making subsequent improvements to the manufacturing process.
The manufacturing process is complex in nature. Employees are either skilled or unskilled,
and they work on a network of domestic and foreign facilities, where formal and informal systems, good and bad practices, and old and new cultures co-exist. Production comprises of a mix of low volume of highly engineered, customised products; sometimes medium columns of high performance products with short product life cycles, and high volume of high quality, low cost commodities. Companies need a manufacturing strategy or plan to develop a structure or order this complex environment.
Manufacturing changes cannot be implemented overnight. It takes a long time to build new facilities, install new equipment, develop new suppliers, change operating procedures, train personnel and close existing facilities, or build new ones. In comparison, customer requirements change fairly quickly. New products appear regularly in the market, new technology is introduced often, economic conditions fluctuate, companies reorganise their business strategies, new competitors emerge, and government regulations take effect.

Thus, the Bharath Car Audio must keep a slow manufacturing function aligned with a fast market place. Manufacturing strategy can be considered as a formal pattern, which follows an underlying sequence of decisions made by the manufacturing personnel over a certain period of time. When a formal manufacturing strategy exists, decisions follow a logical pattern. When no strategy exists, the pattern becomes non-uniform and unpredictable. The essence of manufacturing strategy is to formulate explicitly how manufacturing decisions are made so that these decisions help the company achieve a long-term advantage over its competitors.

Formulating a manufacturing strategy process
Any process for formulating a manufacturing strategy must take into account the following points:
  • Customer requirements
  • Competitors
  • Manufacturing capabilities
  • Manufacturing output
  • Optimal changes for manufacturing.
  •  
Companies use a variety of processes to develop a manufacturing strategy.
During the process of formulating manufacturing strategy, three questions need to be addressed:
·         Where is the manufacturing plant?
  • Which is the ideal location for the manufacturing plant?
  • What is the best way to move the manufacturing plant to the intended location?
There are many possible hypotheses that could be made in order to address the last question. These include benchmarking, quality management, cycle time reduction, agile manufacturing, Kaizen and reengineering soft technologies such as six sigma, concurrent engineering and supply chain management and hard technologies such as Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines and Enterprise Research Planning (ERP) softwares.

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