Answered Essay: Wally's Widget Warehouse takes orders from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. The manager wants

Wally’s Widget Warehouse takes orders from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. The manager wants to analyze the process and has provided the process flow diagram shown below. There are three steps required to ship a customer order. The first step is to take the order from a customer. The second step is to pick the order for the customer and then they have to pack the order ready for shipping. Wally promises that every order placed today gets shipped tomorrow. That means that the picking and packing operation must finish all orders before they go home.

Step #1: Customers –

Step #2: Order taker (100 Customers per hour) –

Step #3: Customer Orders –

Step #4: Pick Orders (80 Customers per hour) –

Step #5: Picked Orders –

Step #6: Pack Orders (60 Customers per hour) –

Step #7: Wait for Shipper

Wally wants to figure out the following.

What is the current maximum output of the process?
How long will the picking and packing operations have to work if we have a day with the maximum orders?
What is the maximum number of orders waiting to be picked?
What is the maximum number of orders waiting to be packed?

If we double the packing capacity (from 60 to 120 orders per hour), what impact does this have on your answers in parts b, c, and d?

Expert Answer

Answer

a. Take Order = 100 per hour * 12 hours = 1200

Pick Order = 80 per hour * 24 hours = 1920

Pack Order = 60 per hour * 24 hours = 1440

Maximum capacity of the process is limited by the bottleneck process, which in this case is order taking (1200).

b. How long will the picking and packing operations have to work if we have a day where the order taker works at his maximum capacity?

If we take the maximum of 1200 orders then: Pick Order = 1200 orders / 80 per hour = 15 hours Pack Order = 1200 orders / 60 per hour = 20 hours

c. Orders can be taken at a rate of 100/hr and can be picked at a rate of 80/hr, so they build at the rate of 20/hr. Orders are taken for 12 hours, thus the maximum orders waiting for picking = 20/hr * 12 hrs = 240.

d. Orders can be picked at a rate of 80/hr and can be packed at a rate of 60/hr, so they build at a rate of 20/hr. Orders are picked for 15 hrs, thus the maximum orders waiting for packing = 20/hr * 15 hrs = 300.

e. (b. revisited) If we take the maximum of 1200 orders then: Pick Order = 1200 orders / 80 per hour = 15 hours Pack Order = 1200 orders / 120 per hour = 10 hours However, packing has to wait for the orders to be picked, so it would be 15 hours

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