ZBM PCB: An Integrated Teaching Case In Quality


Milligan, Glenn W.; Zink, Sharon L.; Barkhi, Reza   (1992, ASQC)   The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9817    May 1992    pp. 86-92
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Article Abstract

ZBM PCB is an integrated teaching case in quality management. The skills required by the case are substantial and demanding. The case is concerned with ZBM PCB Inc., a fictitious company that manufactures electronic and electrical equipment. The case is specifically concerned with teaching quality control and continuous improvement activities with regard to an assembly line (the "Sunshine System") for the manufacture of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). Students learn the technical details and problems of manufacturing PCBs in the written portion of the case, which is also devoted to corporate rules, policies, personnel matters, and specific individuals in the firm. The written text is supported by a sophisticated computer program which simulates the manufacturing assembly line. The simulated process includes all assembly steps from the initial phase of inventory delivery of parts to circuit testing of final assemblies. The program features a menu-driven interface to help students navigate through the entire manufacturing process. The assembly process, however, is complex and involves significant interactive work. The entire integrated case is designed to provide a challenging problem-solving task for team-based instruction. Students must integrate knowledge gained from the written case to analyze output from the simulation program. With over 100 control or measurable variables included in the case, the ability of one person to successfully manage the process is limited. The complexity of the case encourages team activities. Teams can be assigned to develop an analysis of each of Deming's 14 points. Situations where the ZBM management successfully applied the principles can be identified as well as cases where corporate leadership failed to apply sound quality management or to organize for continuous improvement. Simulation output is imported to one or more statistical process control packages for charting and further analysis. A knowledge of basic quality principles and SPC techniques is required. The first in-class utilization of the case was completed during the 1991-1992 academic year. Results were positive. The experience in developing a functioning team benefitted all students. All team members developed a skill base in process control that had not been achieved by other institutional methods for the topic.


Assembly line methods,Continuous improvement (CI),Education,Electronics industry,Manufacturing,Printed circuit board (PCB),Quality control (QC),Quality management (QM)

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