Analysis of Wento Inc Case study
Words : 2500
Case study - Wento Corp.
Nicholas Carrias was feeling happy as he drove to work on the San
Diego Freeway. He had realized his dream and was now living in
Santa Monica, California, USA not far from Los Angeles. He had
been hired as manager of Quality Assurance at Wento Corporation
a company in Van Nuys that made electric motors for the operation
of automatic Venetian blinds, curtains, and light aluminium doors.
Wento was a company of some 1750 people and experiencing a
period of rapid growth.
Nicholas was French. He was an engineer and had completed
a Masters degree at the Lyon Graduate School of Business in
France. During this program, he had completed a 6-month training
assignment, covering the certification ISO-9002 for Somfy, a
company in Cluses, in the French Alps who also makes motors
for sunblinds. Somfy, subsequently hired Nicholas as Quality Co-
coordinator, and a post he held for two years.
Somfy is well known for the high quality of its products. Wento
believed that in hiring Nicholas, they would be able to improve the
quality of their motors. It wasn't the first time that Wento had received
complaints from clients as sometimes the motors would cease
operating for no apparent reason during operation.
Nicholas went into his office and dropped his briefcase and hung up
his coat. He had scheduled the whole of today finishing a report on a
quality management seminar he had attended in San Francisco, and
contacting vendors regarding motor specifications. As he sat down,
the door flew open and in strode a red-faced Bill Bates, the president
"Nicholas, you have to sort out quality problem. We have been
having many complaints from clients about our new motor, reference
DLW-1455. One incident was particularly embarrassing as the client
was Disney Corporation. During the opening night of one of their
presentations the curtains jammed half open. Michael Eisner was
in the audience. He was really upset. I really don't know where the
problem is, but in my opinion, those people in production aren't very
good. I haven't seen the production line for some time, but Mike
Burton, the production manager says his workers lack motivation. I'm
putting the solution in your hands Nicholas". The problem
With that Bill dashed out saying he would be gone for the rest of
the week. Nicholas sighed. He decided he would have to visit the
production line of Model DLW-1455. He put on his jacket, crossed
the yard, passing the avocado and orange trees towards the building
that housed production of Motor DLW-1455. “Boy, it is hot today”
he thought even for so early in the morning. It must be a Santa Ana
condition. He entered the front door. The temperature wasn't much
different from that outside. He went over to the office of Mike. He was
in heated discussion with Sam Marchand, one of the superintendents
on the line:
"Well we had no choice", Sam was saying, "The copper wiring sent
to us from our supplier was the wrong diameter but we were able to
work with it by modifying the connections somewhat. It wasn't easy
but we met the requirements of the Master Schedule. The supplier
of this copper wire is not very reliable. It is not the first time we have
had material that is not according to specifications. And, what's more,
when it does arrive, it's not always on the date promised".
Nicholas went into Mike's office.
"Hi Mike. I was talking to Bill Bates this morning and he tells me there
have been some difficulties with the production of Model DLW-1455. I
wonder if I might take a look around".
Mike was fuming obviously irritated by his conversation with Sam.
"Oh Bill Bates is a silly old fool. He's always complaining. There is
nothing wrong here. Sure, once in a while we have to shut down the
line because machines malfunction but we have always-sufficient in-
process inventory on hand to prevent a complete stoppage of the
line. Yes, and its true the components supplied by our suppliers are
not always according to specifications. You know our specs are quite
rigid. However, my operators are very smart they are always able to
fix the faulty units. We always meet our demand requirements"
"Do you mind if I take a look around?" said Nicholas.
"Well you won't find anything wrong here. I'm not sure why they hired
a manager of quality assurance. We can fix the problems ourselves".
Mike went on. "Let me come with you"
"No thanks, I would prefer to go alone,” said Nicholas.
Nicholas strolled down to upstream part of the operation where the
chassis were being drilled. He noticed that several chassis were
sitting at the side of the drilling machine.
"What are these?" he asked the operator.
"Oh these are rejects", he said. "I've only been on the line for three
days" said the operator. "I was transferred from the wiring section and
I still have not mastered how to operate these drilling machines."
"Can't your supervisor help?" enquired Nicholas.
"Oh he's no use, besides he's off sick today. Well that's what I've
The cost of non-quality must be high, and I wonder how they are
using statistical process control, thought Nicholas. He wandered
down further to where the controller unit for the motor was being
assembled. This was a six-step operation performed by women
whose function was to wire, solder, and connect the appropriate
joints. Between the third and fourth steps there was a pile of
inventory. The fourth operator, a heavy lady in her fifties seemed
harassed trying to keep up with her operation. By, contrast the fifth
and sixth operators seemed to no problem in performing their work.
"Is Jidoka an accepted practice here?" Nicholas asked the last
The lady looked at Nicholas with a weird look on her face. She was
utterly confused and wondered what the heck he was talking about.
Nicholas explained the concept to her. He didn't think it was worth
asking her about Kaizen.
"What are these controller units in the red container?» asked
"Oh those are pieces that need redoing. Julie, the operator at post
number 1, put the front panel on upside down”, said the operator
"Have you talked to R&D about Poka-Yoke?" enquired Nicholas.
"Oh! Those fellows think they are too educated for us. They don't
have much to do with this assembly line." She added
Nicholas continued on further to the R&D department.
"Hi John, what are you doing?" He said to the head of R&D.
"Oh we are just working on modifying the specification for the cam
shaft of Model DLW 1455. We are not happy with the definitions and
our suppliers for the raw materials are continually having problems
meeting our requirements." John said bluntly .
"Have you taken a look at applying the Taguchi concepts", said
Nicholas. "That might help".
Nicholas continued down the line to where the braking assemblies
were being machined. On his way he passed the office of Cindy
Atkinson, responsible for planning and scheduling. He walked
in. Cindy's office was a mess. On one corner of the desk was a
computer terminal; any remaining space was covered with paper,
order forms, and charts.
"Good morning Cindy, you look as if you are busy", said Nicholas
"Oh! I'm struggling with the company-wide planning of all our
products. I've developed what I thought was a reasonable aggregate
plan but our sales people keep modifying their requirements. First
its up, then its down. I don't know whether we are coming or going.
Each morning I consult our MRP system I note some entries have
been modified. Sometimes its sales changes, but not always. These
means that I have to keep modifying my written work orders to the
As he was talking, the phone rang. Cindy picked it up. The caller was
speaking loud. He recognized the high-pitched voice of Mike Burton.
Cindy talked for a while, and then put the phone down.
"I have to dash" said Cindy, "Our number three milling machine is
down". With that, she was gone.
Nicholas glanced at his watch. It was close to lunchtime. He felt he
had seen enough for the morning so he set off at a steady pace to
his office. He was glad to be away from the noise of the DLW-1455
Back in his office, Nicholas glanced at the half finished quality
management report sitting on his desk. The first thing he thought
he would do for the problems with model DLW-1455 is to make an
Ishikawa and Pareto analysis. Since he knew the Somfy Corporation
well, he also wondered about bench marking.
1. Describe what is Total Quality Management and its claimed
2. How would you assess the quality situation at Wento from a
Total Quality Management point of view? (20%)
3. What improvements would you suggest at Wento? (20%)
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