Monday, February 16, 2009

Process Design

The United Parcel Service uses a traditional assembly line to deliver their main service – delivering packages. An assembly line is defined in the book as: “Assembly-line flow is characterized by a linear sequence of operations. The product moves from one step to the next in sequential manner from beginning to end.” Even though they don’t necessarily “assemble” anything, the process is still the same. In the package delivery process, the sequence of events is the same from beginning to end. Belts, chutes, diverters, and people make this process. The package is unloaded off a trailer and placed onto a belt where the sorter receives the package. Here, the sorter places the package on a belt that corresponds to the area in the hub it will be loaded. When the package arrives at the correct area, it is cut off by a diverter. The package then travels down a chute where they are handled by more sorters. They put the package on another belt or in a cage where it finally arrives to the loader where he or she loads it onto a package car or trailer where it will be delivered to its proper destination. This process reflects the assembly line process because of the continuous flow and movement of products from place to place by a conveyor system.
The customer order that UPS processes is hard to describe because they deliver a service and do not produce goods for customers. But, the process that is most resembled would be the Make to Order process. This is because it starts with the customer order, which is when the package is sent out by a person. The only thing added is labor (employees processing the package) and then it is delivered. This customer order process is very simple, quick, and easily explained. It is also why UPS is the number one package delivery service in the world.

Obviously, the process characteristics matrix that UPS falls into is Assembly Line/Make to Order. This process is used to mass produce a certain product where it is easy on the customer. In this case, UPS has a mass produces a service and it is guaranteed to be delivered in the allotted time. Factors that influence this process are supply and demand as well as equipment. They can efficiently provide a superior service because of the many facilities, transportation, and equipment they own and operate. They use planes, trucks, hubs, warehouses, conveyor systems, and much more equipment to be successful. They also have many employees that execute an easily learned system of delivery. Also, people always need to deliver items to other places whether it is businesses or the average man or woman. So, the demand is always high, which makes the supply high, and vice versa.

There would be no adoption of a mass customization method because they already have a process similar to Modular Production. Although they don’t assemble a product, the package being sent can be sent as quick as the customer wants to send it. It can arrive to the destination in a week, or overnight. It all depends on how the person would like to customize their order

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