Solagen Case Study

2043 words - 8 pages

Operations Management MSI 514 Prof. Tayi Case Study: Solagen October 11, 2001 While first analyzing this case, it is very easy for one to think and identify William Bolten's problem as purely process efficiency, and statistical evidence. However, further examination of specific details and processes such as corporate image and human resources allow for a much more difficult decision to be made.Bolten's main problem is to make a very risky decision that will affect his corporation, Kodak, significantly. He knows this he is about to step into the board room where the top executives of Kodak await him. The problem at hand entails the R+D project Solagen, which Bolten and a team of others have been heading. His final decision has to be one of three options. Option one is to go ahead and commit to the full scale, forty-one million dollar construction of a production plant exclusively made to produce Solagen. A second possible option is to put more time into R+D. This could possibly make this decision a much clearer one than it is currently. Lastly, the easiest and most obvious option in any R+D project is to scrap the whole thing.Gelatin has been in production for over one hundred and fifty years. During that time the process has not been altered through advances in technology. Essentially, gelatin was made by craftsmen who had spent a good portion of their lives learning the ins and outs of the process. One such man was Randall Sudbury, he was the general manager of one of Kodak's gelatin plants and was a true artisan in the production of gelatin. He was a human gelatin analyst that had thirteen years of experience making the unpredictable product. Using a keen sense of smell and feel he could accurately tell whether a gelatin batch would be satisfactory or not. His infamous fingernail test was a trademark within the facility. The way in which the ossein peeled from his fingernail indicated whether the liming process was complete. Sudbury also had the knowledge to help alter the liming process if any one step was proceeding to quickly or slowly. Overall the process did vary depending on the supplier of animal bones, but most causes of a batch failure occurred from human error.In contrast to gelatin, the designers of Solagen looked for strategic steps to produce a new form of film coating. Solagen stands for solubulized collagen. Designers from Kodak's R+D expected to produce Solagen in an amazing 48hrs, as compared to an average of 50-60 days for gelatin production. Fredrick Carson led this effort in a small scale plant designed within the R+D department. Carson hired two chemical engineers, Peter Wolanski, and Keith Morrrow. This team designed a controlled environment where seven individual chemicals were mixed to produce the same, or even better ossein than the previous process rendered. In essence the scientific method was used to eliminate human error, weather factors, and the artisan aspect of ossein production. Wolanski and Morrow proved the...

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