Ben Hamilton, Daniel Kirkendall, Shenita Moon, Thomas Fowler
March 10th, 2014
A Look at Riordan's Supply Chain and Manufacturing
Riordan got its start in 1991 when Dr. Riordan, a professor of chemistry, founded the company. At that time the company’s focus was solely on plastics based on patents Dr. Riordan received on polymers. In 1992 Dr. Riordan received funding to expand the company to a manufacturing facility in Michigan producing electric fans. This is when Riordan Manufacturing was formed. Finally in 2000, the company expanded its electric fan manufacturing to China and change the facility in Michigan to handle custom plastic parts. Riordan mission is to be “Six Sigma, leading edge R&D and exceeding ISO 9000 standards define the attitude and abilities of Riordan Manufacturing ("Riordan Manufacturing", 2013).
There are different ways to operate a manufacturing facility. Some of the most common ways are chase, level, or a combination of the two. The Chase strategy basically means to match the production rate to the order rate by fluctuating staffing. For this strategy to work you must ensure you have talented and trained associates on the ready. The downside though is employees may take some time off or work slower to ensure there is always enough work and they don’t get laid off. The Level strategy basically means that the workforce consistently works the same hours and the inventory levels then take the hit and because production remains the same shortages and surpluses will happen. Riordan Manufacturing uses level strategy for its production of electric fans. According to the company’s website the company forecasts the production of its fans based on sales from the last three years. Since the company uses this trending to forecast demand this enables Riordan to keep a level workforce going. The only weakness is creating too much surplus or shortage.
Flow Diagram for the Electric Fan Supply Chain Below is the current flow chart for the electric fan supply chain at Riordan Manufacturing. There are two current points to check the performance of this supply chain. One way is through checking the efficiency of completed fans and the other is to check the performance of the workers on the production line.
Relationships first start with the supplier and the customer. In the supplier relationship and its effect on the supply chain it is important to maintain high-trust, high communication, and mutually beneficial relationships with key suppliers and customers. (Creating and developing strong, positive relationships is a key to supply chain success) (Ackerman, 2007).
In an ideal supply chain relationship, both customers and suppliers get connected in ways that allow them to easily exchange information, demand data, and the visibility of status. Riordan’s mission in the supply chain relationship is communicating demand events and knowing the direction of strategic plans. They must also link information systems and leverage the potential for Internet and other electronic communications. The key is making sure the chain is working together to reduce costs and improve quality, and understanding capacities and capabilities (Ackerman, 2007).
Lean Production The Kanban method can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the electric fan supply chain process. This method can reduce waste and minimize stock and resources. You can purchase materials, produce and distribute products when required. You can produce small, continuous batches of products to help production run smoothly and efficiently. By reducing batch size, you can monitor quality and correct any defects as you go. This reduces the likelihood of quality being poor in future batches. By using the Just In Time model, it develops cues in the system to