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Write a case study on 'Role of human factors in production network and quality management'.
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Simulations are experiments within a controlled environment, thereby reducing aspects of the real world in terms of structure and behavior. The behavior of complex systems is neither predictable nor completely understandable. The combination of human intuition and analytical modeling is utilized as a model for decision making in complex systems such as production and supply chain networks.
In order to train and support decision making, simulation models and serious games serve as ideal training environments, in which managers are confronted with challenging situations that require fast and important decisions. These games support the awareness of typical problems in production, logistics, or quality management, e.g., the Beer Distribution Game, Goldratt's game, KANBAN simulations. However, no games exist that address quality management in production networks.
The Quality Intelligence Game (Q -I Game) is a turn-based game in which players have to fulfill the customer demands by procuring and processing vendor parts in a given product. In contrast to the Beer Distribution Game, players also have to take quality aspects into account. Studies suggest that quality management influences profit in two different ways: First, good quality management increases company profits through higher product quality, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and larger sales volumes. Second, process optimization as a part of quality management leads to lower variable and fixed costs. Therefore, a trade-off between product quality and its costs is required.
The Q-I game model is designed around three pivotal decisions (see Figure 1 for a schematic representation). First, players have to invest in the inspection of incoming goods. Second, players need to control the investments in their company's internal production quality. Third, similar to the Beer Distribution Game, players needs to manage the procurement of vendor parts. The players have to find an optimal trade-off between these three dimensions in order to make the highest profit. The influences of these dimensions on the company's profit are explained in the following.
The first dimension contains the inspection planning and control of supplier parts, including complaint management between the manufacturer and his supplier.
Inspections at goods receipt can cause an ambivalent behaviour of quality and production managers. While the inspection itself is not a value -adding process and hence a driver of variable and fixed production costs, inspections give the managers the opportunity to protect their production systems from faulty parts and goods. Also, it facilitates the supplier evaluation and development since the quality of supply parts and goods is measured.
The production quality dimension is taking the production and final product quality of the manufactured goods into account. Investments in production quality will increase costs, but it will decrease the number of customer complaints.
To assure a continuous production, the player has to procure necessary parts from its supplier. Contrary to the Beer Distribution Game, the customer demand is kept constant within the Q-I game, in order to leave the focus on the decisions of quality management. Nevertheless the player has to consider scrapping parts due to low production quality or blocked parts due to poor supplier product quality in their orders.
The Q-I game gains complexity through the introduction of random events. First, the quality of the vendor parts can change drastically. Second, the internal production quality can change. Possible reasons are broken machines, better processes, failures in the measurement instruments, etc. Third, the customer demand may shift.