Custom Case Essay example

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Custom Molds, Inc., manufactures custom-designed molds for plastic parts and produces custom-made plastic connectors for the electronics industry. Located in Tucson, Arizona,
Custom Molds was founded by the father and son team of
Tom and Mason Miller in 1975. Tom Miller, a mechanical engineer, had more than 20 years of experience in the connector industry with AMP, Inc., a large multinational producer of electronic connectors. Mason Miller had graduated from the University of Arizona in 1974 with joint degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering.
The company was originally formed to provide manufacturers of electronic connectors with a source of
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Although different, in many instances these two processes were linked, as when a customer would have Custom Molds both fabricate a mold and produce the necessary parts to support the customer’s R&D efforts. All fabrication and production operations were housed in a single facility. The layout was characteristic of a typical job shop, with like processes and similar equipment grouped in various places in the plant. Figure C2.1 shows a schematic of the plant floor. Multiple pieces of various types of high-precision machinery, including milling, turning, cutting, and drilling equipment, were located in the mold-fabrication area.
Fabricating molds is a skill-oriented, craftsman-driven process. When an order is received, a design team, com-

Receiving raw materials inventory

Lunch room Packing and shipping finished goods inventory Cut and trim

Dry mix

Testing and inspection Wet mix
Injection machines

Mold fabrication

FIGURE C2.1 • Plant Layout

prising a design engineer and one of 13 master machinists, reviews the design specifications. Working closely with the customer, the team establishes the final specifications for the mold and gives them to the master machinist for fabrication. It is always the same machinist who was assigned to the design team. At the same time, the purchasing department is given a copy of the design specifications, from which it

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