The chlor-alkali chemicals industry has seen the engineering used in the fabrication procedure alteration and evolve over the recent decennaries. The term chlor-alkali refers to the two chemicals ( Cl and an base ) which are at the same time produced as a consequence of the electrolysis of seawater ( GreenFacts, 2010 ) . The prevailing engineering used to fabricate chlor-alkali chemicals before environmental ordinances were more closely monitored was quicksilver cells. However, major manufacturers have since switched to the more environmental friendly membrane cells and stop cells. While each engineering has its ain advantages and disadvantages, more and more chlor-alkali makers, particularly those in Asia, are following the membrane cells engineering for a assortment of grounds, non least of which is the well low energy costs. This study will be concentrating on industry via membrane cells, which is progressively the most widely used method to fabricate chlor-alkali merchandises.

The most common chlor-alkali chemicals are chlorine and sodium hydrated oxide ( acerb sodium carbonate ) but can include potassium hydrated oxide and muriatic acid ( GreenFacts, 2010 ) . This study will concentrate chiefly on Na hydrated oxide and the assorted concentrations in which it is normally manufactured.

2. Aim

This study aims to demo the inter-links and synergisms of the five aims of Operations Management, i.e. cost, quality, velocity, flexibleness and dependableness and how they influence and affect an administration that is involved in the chlor-alkali industry. The writer will besides place methods in which the operation procedure was improved to do it work more expeditiously and efficaciously. This study will besides foreground control systems that the administration utilises and how these can be used to further better the procedure design, along with how relevant emerging engineerings can be used to positive consequence by the said administration.

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3. Background

Before the coming of membrane cells engineering, the most common method to fabricate chlor-alkali chemicals was via quicksilver cells. The usage of quicksilver cells demands steps to forestall environmental taint and besides the quicksilver must be removed from the H gas and acerb sodium carbonate solution ( Euro Chlor, 2010 ) . These procedure complications made it hard for makers to follow systematically with prevalent environmental ordinances. As such, makers had to happen different ways to fabricate these chlor-alkali chemicals in a more environmentally acceptable and cost effectual mode. Customers are besides progressively cognizant of the engineerings used to fabricate these merchandises and as a consequence of this, it would be prudent for chlor-alkali makers to choose for a less controversial and safer option.

4. Performance Objectives of Operations Management

An administration requires a tightly defined set of aims that relates specifically to its basic undertaking of fulfilling client demands ( Slack, N. et al. , 2007 ) . These aims can be defined as cost, quality, velocity, flexibleness and dependableness. The five operations public presentation aims trade off with one another, and the extent of these tradeoffs are clip and context particular ( Neely, 2007 ) . For illustration, a broad scope of merchandise mix will increase flexibleness but could besides ensue in higher cost of fabricating. As any other administration, an administration involved in the chlor-alkali chemicals industry is besides influenced by these five aims.

a. Cost

All operations have an involvement in maintaining their costs every bit low as is compatible with the degrees of quality, velocity, dependableness and flexibleness that their clients require ( Slack, N. et al. , 2007 ) . The biggest cost constituent in the industry of chlor-alkali chemicals is electricity. This is because the primary procedure in the industry, i.e. electrolysis, consumes a immense sum of electricity. As such, one easy manner in which makers can break command the fabrication cost is by following a more cost effectual method of fabricating chlor-alkali chemicals, i.e. membrane cells. This is particularly critical in states where the cost of electricity is significantly high. Therefore, a decrease in fabrication costs is punctually attained, which doubtless plays an of import function in any administration ‘s strategic aims.

B. Quality

It would be safe to state that the quality of the merchandises manufactured or services rendered is mostly reliant on clients ‘ demands. An administration in any sector will non be able to last if its clients ‘ demands are neglected. Chlor-alkali chemicals are by and large manufactured to different classs and concentrations. For Na hydrated oxide, the industry criterion is 50 % , and depending on clients ‘ demands, it is besides sold in different concentrations such as 30 % , etc.

Membrane cells produce acerb sodium carbonate with approximately 30 % concentration and this is so subsequently concentrated to 50 % , which, as antecedently mentioned, is the most normally used class in the chemicals industry. Mercury cells nevertheless produce straight, without the demand for farther concentration, acerb sodium carbonate with 50 % concentration. However, the sum of steam required for the concentration of the acerb sodium carbonate, from 30 % to 50 % for the membrane cells, is comparatively little compared to the electricity required for fabricating via quicksilver cells. By utilizing membrane cells engineering, merchandises of equal quality can be produced at much lower costs. An added fillip will be that these merchandises will besides be safe from any quicksilver taint.

c. Speed

Speed means the elapsed clip between the clients bespeaking merchandises or services and their reception of them ( Slack, N. et al. , 2007 ) . In the fabrication sector, the largest internal client will frequently be the production section, or procedure section, as they are sometimes known. As such, all other sections, e.g. care, procurance, instrumentality, etc will more frequently than non place this section as their most of import client. It is hence imperative that the largest internal client is serviced quickly so that the external clients are able to obtain their merchandises within the needed clip.

In general, the velocity at which chlor-alkali chemicals are manufactured will depend greatly on the size of the works, accessory equipment and piping, among other things. All things being equal, the different types of engineering have negligible difference in footings of the clip taken to bring forth any given measure of the chemicals. As such, an administration will so hold to take into consideration other facets when it comes to taking the fabrication engineering. When the influence of a public presentation aim, velocity in this case, is non important, it will be prudent for an administration to take into history other palliating factors such as quicksilver taint, high operation costs, etc in order to make up one’s mind.

d. Flexibility

From a concern point of position, flexibleness means the ability to run into the demands of the markets without excessively much cost, clip, attempt, public presentation, or organizational break ( Aggarwal, 1995 ) . For an administration involved in the chlor-alkali chemicals industry for illustration, it can salvage cost, clip and attempt by choosing for membrane cells engineering chiefly because, when compared to mercury cells engineering, the energy ingestion is much lower and it will non hold to confront issues with quicksilver taint.

When it comes to increasing or diminishing a works ‘s capacity, the membrane cells engineering besides has a greater grade of flexibleness. As a consequence of the membrane cells runing in faculties, an administration will hold better options to orient their works capacities harmonizing to predominating market demand. This option is non readily available to administrations that use other engineerings. Therefore, for administrations that require comparatively fast enlargements to run into increasing market demand, membrane cells engineering offers the best flexibleness option.

e. Dependability

Dependability means making things on clip and maintaining to the bringing agenda that has been promised to the client ( Rowbotham, F. et al. , 2007 ) . As such, from a maker ‘s point of position, it needs to guarantee that its production runs every bit swimmingly as possible, with minimum breaks so as non to interrupt the supply of merchandises to its clients. For a chlor-alkali chemicals maker, this would intend that works turnarounds, i.e. closures for regenerating and replacing equipment demand to be kept to a lower limit. Mercury cells by and large do non last every bit long as membrane cells due to the stuffs that are used to fabricate the cathodes and anodes of the cells.

Where quicksilver and black lead are used in quicksilver cells, Ti lined steel and metal-metal oxide electrodes are used in the membrane cells. These stuffs are much longer enduring when compared to their quicksilver cells opposite numbers. As such, every bit good as greater dependableness, an administration can besides greatly cut down the costs associated with frequent replacing of cardinal equipment at the terminal of their several shelf lives. This would besides interpret to clients being supplied the needed chemicals with minimum breaks due to equipment failures.

5. Organizational Control Systems

When it comes to organisational control system, there are five indispensable elements and they are be aftering what is desired, set uping criterions of public presentation, supervising existent public presentation, comparing existent accomplishment against the planned mark and rectifying and taking disciplinary action ( Mullins, 2007 ) .

Planing what is desired can be related to an administration ‘s ends and aims. In other words, these ends and aims are what the said administration has chosen as its concern way and with that, the administration is so able to hold a clear way of where it wants to be within a period of clip. As such, all other control systems will now be put in topographic point taking these ends and aims into consideration.

In the chlor-alkali chemicals industry, the criterions of public presentation, in footings of merchandise quality at least, can be considered as the same for all planetary makers. Hence, there are chances for consumers to import the relevant chemicals if necessary. This makes it more ambitious for administrations to regularly satisfy client demands, in peculiar the monetary value of merchandises. Where a maker can separate itself from other makers or providers is in other value-added services provided every bit good different classs of merchandises, i.e. industry usage classs for sole supply to certain consumers.

If an administration decides to fabricate chemicals of different classs, i.e. classs which are non the industry norm, it would so ask the administration to alter its procedure designs consequently. Say, for case, an administration decides to fabricate sodium hydrated oxide of 10 % concentration ; this would intend that the procedure would so hold to be modified in order for the works to fabricate the chemical to the consumer ‘s specifications. Naturally, fabricating niche chemicals will intend that the volumes involved will non be big and this besides means that the costs involved will be comparatively high. However, the net income borders will be usually significantly higher compared to mass production of industry class chemicals.

The administration will now hold to make up one’s mind how to allocate its works capacities in order to increase its merchandise mix while at the same clip, maximize its possible net incomes. Chlor-alkali makers are fortunate in the sense that non much alteration will be required to bring forth the niche merchandises since the major procedure design alteration will be in adding a concentration or dilution phase. While there will be costs involved in making so, an administration can monetary value its merchandise consequently taking into history these costs every bit good as its coveted payback period for the capital investing.

As such, by doing the necessary procedure design alterations, a chlor-alkali chemicals maker can in theory industry Na hydrated oxide of assorted classs, say, 50 % , 30 % , 12 % , 10 % , etc. The eventual merchandise mix of the said administration will hold to be determined by taking into history the chance for maximizing the possible net incomes. However, finding the merchandise mix should be a dynamic procedure which should be tied closely to the administration ‘s ends and aims. This manner, the administration will be able to do more informed determinations on how best to continue strategically.

While it is of import to hold ends and aims, it is every bit of import to gain when they need to be tweaked and refined if for some ground or another, those ends and aims prove elusive. Without any monitoring, an administration can fall into the trap of rolling excessively far from its original marks. Conducting frequent reappraisals will besides let the administration to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of its current set-up and do the necessary alterations.

This so leads to the concluding component of an organizational control system, i.e. disciplinary actions. In the event an administration realises that its current procedure design does non let it to fabricate chemicals of the right specifications, it will so hold to do the relevant alterations in order to rectify the state of affairs. Doing so could intend an wholly different set-up compared to its predominating state of affairs, nevertheless, these stairss are important in finding whether an administration can accomplish its original ends and aims. By altering its procedure design consequently, an administration can so hold the right merchandise mix to run into its clients ‘ specifications.

6. Emergent Technologies

For an administration involved in the chlor-alkali industry, the membrane cells engineering is the most advanced engineering presently available. However, even for the membrane cells engineering, there are different versions of the cells, similar to net browsers for illustration. For case, the writer ‘s employer has 2 chlor-alkali workss in Malaysia, of which 1 works uses the older DD cells engineering and the other, the newer bipolar BM cells. The newer cells consume less energy every bit good as last thirster compared to the DD cells.

The future versions of the BM cells will hold even more betterments done by the engineering suppliers based on their ain research every bit good as client feedback. As such, this membrane cells engineering is a continually germinating engineering which presents users with many different and utile options. Manufacturers besides have the option of planing a works to provide for any eventual enlargement and so, when the chance presents itself, buy the relevant equipment for installing.

Due to the comparative easiness of put ining new capacity or replacing old equipment, with minimum infinite demands, an administration will be able to keep its predominating layout, without excessively many alterations. Therefore, operational breaks during this exercising are minimised. By maintaining up with emergent engineerings in their relevant industries, administrations would besides be able to pull off the five public presentation aims more efficaciously.

7. Decision

Performance aims are cardinal tools for any administration in that they allow the administration to better pull off its operations and strategic aims in order for it to better function its clients, whether internal or external. The five public presentation aims discussed in this study, i.e. cost, quality, velocity, flexibleness and dependableness, are really utile drivers for an administration because they are per se linked with one another. They allow the administration to hold greater maneuverability when it comes to puting ends and aims since the administration can easy find the effects it may confront by altering or modifying any one of the public presentation aims.

Administrations ‘ control systems as good can be mostly driven by these five public presentation aims. Their visibleness and inter-links will let the administration to continually reexamine and polish its strategic aims and therefore develop them as dynamic 1s compared to old manners of puting strategic aims but merely reexamining them sporadically. The danger in the old method was that administrations may still be aiming aims that may no longer be relevant and therefore be left behind in this quickly turning universe.

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