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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

of Wento.

"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

production line.

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

benefits (10%)

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%)

48-72 Hours
Just 4-10 Days
11+ days

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