Intermittent Systems

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Working in a manufacturing environment I found the section on strategic operations issues, outlined in this chapter, very informative.  The detailed descriptions of the manufacturing systems, intermittent and continuous, helped shed some light on why my company specifically makes certain businesses choices.  We operate under intermittent systems.  The job shop description matches our current manufacturing capabilities.  “In intermittent systems (job shops), the item is normally processed sequentially, but the work and sequence of the process vary.”  (Wheelen, Hunger, Bamford, & Hoffman, (2015), p. 146).  Although we do operate a machine shop, the construction of products is very labor intensive.  As discussed in the text are machinery constitutes a fixed cost for my organization.  Our products are client specific thus each have different production times and material requirements, this increases our variable costs.  The text also highlights that to be successful operating an intermittent system an organization should narrow its focus in an industry to a specific niche in market.  As a furniture manufacturer, my organization niche is store fixtures.  One important benefit of operating as an intermittent system has over continuous system is that, “During an economic downturn, the firm with less automation and thus less leverage is more likely to survive comfortably because a drop in sales primarily affects variable costs.” (Wheelen, Hunger, Bamford, & Hoffman, (2015), p. 146).