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Re: [IP] Re: Quik-Sets shortage- Long speculation on vacations & capacity

>I don't know but, I have never ever heard of a
>company wide vacation!!  Jenni

>As I remember, it's done all the time (used to work
>for a company head quartered in Germany). David

We probably don't hear about company-wide vacations
much in the U.S. because we're oriented to think of
24x7 operations in very large multi-national
companies.  The cost for Ford to put all of its
factories on vacation would be huge - they would lose
money doing this.  However, if you go to factory level
within those companies, it's more common.  They're
more often called plant shutdowns, and most people
don't like them because not all workers have
sufficient vacation to get paid during the whole
shutdown.  I'm currently on a 2-week vacation from one
of Motorola's semiconductor manufacturing factories,
courtesy of the industry slowdown.  Well, European
companies give more vacation benefits in general than
in the U.S. (typical 5-6 weeks/year vs. our 2-3
weeks).   And the expectation is that people want the
same holidays - it's part of the culture.  Motorola's
Asian factories almost all close down for a week each
year for Chinese New Year.  It's part of the U.S.
business culture to work - keep running the place as
long as you're making money.

Many of you may not work in a factory environment, but
I have some guesses about how the QuickSet production
could be in its current situation.  It takes us (Moto)
about 3 months to make, package, and test an order of
semiconductors for a customer.  If they want 100/week
delivered now, they should have ordered it 12 weeks
ago.  Ramping up a new process may take time to get
enough capacity to meet full demand, especially if the
new process uses new equipment or if more workers have
to be trained on the new process.  In the case of new
equipment, 1 tool might only produce 100 sets/day,
while demand could be coming in at 200 sets/day.  That
special machine may take 4 months to make, so the
QuickSet manufacturer can't just run out and double
capacity - they have to know 4 months in advance that
they need that extra machine.  Or it may take 2 weeks
to train 5 people on the new process, and the
manufacturer needs 30 people trained.  Or another 10
variations that I've experienced spring to mind....

I am just speculating here, but I'll bet that Mini-Med
did not expect to reach "full demand" levels so soon
on the QuickSets, which they probably based on their
experience with the market reception on previous sets.
    Unfortunately, the "full demand" acceptance took
less time than previously.  Hopefully all of the
players in the industry will learn from this
experience for future offerings.

Sorry for the long-winded posting, but I hope this
helps people understand some of the complexities in
the manufacturing sector.  Even making toilet paper in
volume is more difficult than one would think
(according to one of our chemical engineers who worked
at a Procter & Gamble toilet paper factory prior to
his Motorola job).  
Thanks for reading this far.
Shelly V., Austin, TX, mom to Luke, 6, pumper

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