The Warhead Cable Test Dilemma Assignment

Added on - 20 Sep 2019

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The Warhead Cable Test DilemmaIt was Monday morning at Bryson Corporation’s cable division assembly plant. StantonWong, the quality supervisor, had been worrying all weekend about a directive he hadreceived from his boss before leaving work on Friday. Harry Jackson, the plant managerand a vice president of operations, had told Stanton unambiguously to disregard defectsin a batch of laminated cable they had produced for a major customer, a militarycontractor. Now, Stanton was wondering what if anything he should say or do.Bryson Corporation was a large conglomerate headed by an aggressive CEO whohad established a track record of buying and turning around low-performingmanufacturing firms. Harry Jackson had been sent to the cable plant shortly after it hadbeen acquired, and he was making headway rescuing what had been a marginaloperation. 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 sureeveryone inside and outside the organization knew it. Harry would intimidate his directreports, yelling at and insulting them at the least provocation. He harassed many of theyoung women in the office and was having an affair with one of the sales accountmanagers.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, andoften even by Harry. His pay was good enough that he and his wife had felt confident tobuy 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 wasStanton’s approach until the warhead cable issue came along.The warhead cable was part of a fuse system used in missiles. In the productionprocess, a round cable was formed into a flat, ribbon-like shape by feeding it through alamination machine and applying specific heat, speed, and pressure. The flattened cablewas then cut into specific lengths and shapes and shipped to the customer, a defensecontractor.As part of his quality control duties, Stanton used a standard procedure called anelevated heat seal test to ensure the integrity of the product. The cable was bent at a90-degree angle and placed in an oven at 105 degrees C for seven hours. If the seal didnot delaminate (pop open at the corners), then the product passed the test. Thisprocedure was usually performed on cable from early runs while the lamination machineoperator was still producing a batch. That way, if there was a problem, it could bespotted early and corrected.When a batch of cable was ready for shipment, Stanton was responsible forpreparing a detailed report of all test results. The customer’s source inspector, JaneConway, then came to the plant and performed additional sample testing there. Oninspection days, Jane tended to arrive around 9:00 a.m. and spend the morningreviewing Stanton’s test data. Typically, she would pull samples from each lot andinspect them. She rarely conducted her own elevated heat seal test, however, relyinginstead on Bryson’s test data. Stanton and Jane often had lunch together at a nearbyrestaurant and then finished up the paperwork in the afternoon.
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