Robert Bowden Inc.: A Case Study of Cellular Manufacturing and Drum-Buffer-Rope Implementation


Management and Entrepreneurship

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Robert Bowden Inc. (RBI), located in Marietta, Georgia, was founded in 1983. RBI is a manufacturer and supplier of residential and light commercial building products for the metropolitan Atlanta market, with annual sales of about $40 million. An innovative implementation of cellular manufacturing and drum-buffer-rope concepts for RBI's millwork shop is described. Due to long lead times and unpredictable due-date performance, the company had several dissatisfied customers, and was faced with the potential loss of its millwork to competitors. The expenses to make the changes in the shop were minimal. Among the many improvements, lead time was reduced by over 50% with substantial improvement in due-date performance, the quality (defect rate) of millwork improved significantly, and productivity of the workers increased by 20%.

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