Improving a V-Plant Operation: A Window Manufacturing Case Study
Management and Entrepreneurship
This article documents implementation of the drum-buffer-rope (DBR) control mechanism in a V-plant operation, the window manufacturing operation of Robert Bowden Inc. (RBI). The dominant feature of a V-plant operation is the existence of divergent points throughout the manufacturing process. The DBR control mechanism uses theory of constraints principles in a shop floor application. The logic of the DBR control mechanism can be explained using the following three steps, identify the constraint of the system and develop a production schedule for the constraint, to ensure that disruptions do not negatively impact the system, place buffers at strategic locations, and to control inventory in the system, use a communication link called a rope to tie the buffers and the constraint. The actual implementation was done from November through December 1996. Data for the performance of RBI's window manufacturing were collected from January through December for 1997, and then for 1999. Compared with 1996, RBI's window manufacturing performance in 1997 was a significant improvement. In the year 2000, RBI's window manufacturing continues to excel and operates essentially in the same manner.
Production and Inventory Management Journal