Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2011

AIC Netbooks: Optimizing Product Assembly

by Steven C. Wheelwright and Sunru Yong

Abstract

AIC Systems, located in Taichung, Taiwan, is a manufacturer of printed circuit boards, primarily for motherboards and video cards for personal computers. The firm is considered an original design manufacturer (ODM) and takes an active role in innovating and designing each new generation of components. By doing in-house design and development, the company has been able to foster exclusive, long-term relationships with its customers. The firm decides to diversify its portfolio to include consumer electronics with a particular focus on mobile technology. The goal is to move from manufacturing components for other computer companies to developing the firm's own line of branded consumer electronics. The new netbook market provides an opportunity for AIC Systems to design and manufacture a branded product in the mobile electronics industry. The production manager has created an assembly line for producing the new netbooks, and after three months of production he must consider ways to improve efficiency and reduce production costs. Students must perform a quantitative analysis of the existing assembly-line system and make recommendations to reach optimal efficiency.

Keywords: performance management; Quantitative analysis; manufacturing; Production Planning; Production management; Diversification; Production; Performance Efficiency; Product Design; Performance Improvement; Mobile Technology; Manufacturing Industry; Electronics Industry; Taiwan;

Citation:

Wheelwright, Steven C., and Sunru Yong. "AIC Netbooks: Optimizing Product Assembly." Harvard Business School Brief Case 114-245, January 2011.