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The Warhead Cable Test Dilemma Assignment

Added on -2019-09-20

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The Warhead Cable Test DilemmaIt was Monday morning at Bryson Corporation’s cable division assembly plant. Stanton Wong, the quality supervisor, had been worrying all weekend about a directive he had received from his boss before leaving work on Friday. Harry Jackson, the plant manager and a vice president of operations, had told Stanton unambiguously to disregard defects in a batch of laminated cable they had produced for a major customer, a military contractor. Now, Stanton was wondering what if anything he should say or do. Bryson Corporation was a large conglomerate headed by an aggressive CEO who had established a track record of buying and turning around low-performing manufacturing firms. Harry Jackson had been sent to the cable plant shortly after it had been acquired, and he was making headway rescuing what had been a marginal operation. The word in the plant was that corporate was pleased with his progress. Harry ran the plant like a dictator, with nearly absolute control, and made sure everyone inside and outside the organization knew it. Harry would intimidate his direct reports, yelling at and insulting them at the least provocation. He harassed many of the young women in the office and was having an affair with one of the sales account managers. Stanton’s two-year anniversary on the job had just passed. He was happy with hisprogress. He felt respected by the factory workers, by management colleagues, and often even by Harry. His pay was good enough that he and his wife had felt confident to buy a house and start a family. He wanted to keep his reputation as a loyal employee. He had decided early on that he was not about to challenge Harry. At least, that was Stanton’s approach until the warhead cable issue came along. The warhead cable was part of a fuse system used in missiles. In the production process, a round cable was formed into a flat, ribbon-like shape by feeding it through a lamination machine and applying specific heat, speed, and pressure. The flattened cable was then cut into specific lengths and shapes and shipped to the customer, a defense contractor. As part of his quality control duties, Stanton used a standard procedure called an elevated heat seal test to ensure the integrity of the product. The cable was bent at a 90-degree angle and placed in an oven at 105 degrees C for seven hours. If the seal did not delaminate (pop open at the corners), then the product passed the test. This procedure was usually performed on cable from early runs while the lamination machine operator was still producing a batch. That way, if there was a problem, it could be spotted early and corrected. When a batch of cable was ready for shipment, Stanton was responsible for preparing a detailed report of all test results. The customer’s source inspector, Jane Conway, then came to the plant and performed additional sample testing there. On inspection days, Jane tended to arrive around 9:00 a.m. and spend the morning reviewing Stanton’s test data. Typically, she would pull samples from each lot and inspect them. She rarely conducted her own elevated heat seal test, however, relying instead on Bryson’s test data. Stanton and Jane often had lunch together at a nearby restaurant and then finished up the paperwork in the afternoon.

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