Production Management

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1. Briefly describe salt production from brine production to finished round cans.

Salt is produce by drilling the surface for about 2,400 feet below. Then, water is infused in this cave; thus, salt is dissolved with the water. The resulting brine is then pumped in the surface, boiled and when it evaporates, salt crystals will occur with some moisture but can be removed through the drying process. This happen continuously for about 6 weeks but there will come a point where output will reduce (normal is 45 tons per hour; it will be reduced to 75% of the initial rate) due to scale buildup and at this moment, maintenance on the equipment need to be performed. But afterwards, normal operation will resume. The salt is then stored in silos until it is transferred by conveyors to each of the production area; one of which is the round can production.

In this area, two high speed production parallel lines are present. At the beginning, they are of same process then later on will diversify in two same lines; producing a fixed rate of 9,600 cans per hour. The process is uniformed; changes only occur at the brand labeling. The plant not just produces salt but also the can (container of the salt). These cans are made of cardboard but with a plastic spout on top. The cylinder part is made by cutting two sheets of chipboard that are glued together (glue also serve as moisture barrier). Additionally, the top and bottom pieces are also obtained from the chipboard. These components will eventually turn into cans when move along the conveyor. Then, the cans will be filled with salt and covered by the pour spout. They are now ready for shipment once they are laden into pallet.

2. Briefly describe the quality assurance efforts in round can production.

Initially, quality is already observed at the moment the salt is extracted at wells. Validated amount of Iodine and anti-caking compound are added to the salt. The right crystal size is achieved through the scraping screen, but with chances that metals will be mixed with the salt. Nonetheless, these can be removed by magnetization. However, if there would be chances that salt will be contaminated, it would be transformed into a nonfood one. In the case of cans, correct weight, aligned labels and correct attachment of spouts are observed. Defective cans are not allowed in the process, and the salt in these cans are eventually disregarded. Quality is complied not only in the first part of the process but also in the latter one. Although the quality cost is high because of the large number of inspectors and wide-ranging laboratory testing plus the cost of scrapped product, at least, customers are assured that Morton Salt Company really desires customer delight.

3. What are some of the possible reasons why the company continues to use the old processing equipment instead of buying new, more modern equipment?

One of the reasons is that maybe, acquiring modern equipment costs more than maintaining the working capacity of the old equipment. Or I think one of the major reasons is that if they will purchase new modern equipment, there will be a big adjustment they will encounter. First, adjustment in their production process, they will study again what are the techniques the company needs to learn in order to achieve the output it usually produces. They can’t also sacrifice the quality of their product that the company was known for. Risk and uncertainty can come across their way. The ease of the production process that the company has live through since 1950 can’t be replaced by new and not-so-much tested equipment compared to the vintage equipment which is tried and tested already.

4. Where would you place salt production in the product-process spectrum?

I think salt production belongs in the assembly line process spectrum because of its fixed applications. Assembly line is a process in which parts are added to a product in sequential manner to create the finished product. They are designed for the sequential organization of workers, tools or machines, and parts. Just like in the salt production process wherein methods are in order. Salt are first dig out below the surface, and then will undergo brine method. The salt are then move by conveyors to the production areas (in round cans). Workers perform simple and repetitive tasks.

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