Donner Co. Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Donner Company


There was a time when human did not have any electronic gadget like TV, radio, computer, cell phone, laptops and so on. But with the evolution of industrialization, technology gained significant attention. New processes as well as new products are the results of technology.

donner company case solution

donner company case solution

Electronic products like TV can be found in almost every house and these gadgets have become the need of human lives. Printed circuit boards have been considered as the main component of any electronic product. A lot of  people are using electronics products so the demand of printed circuit boards has increased.

About Company

Donner Company was founded in 1985. It produced circuit boards called “soldermask over bare copper (SMOBC)”. Circuit boards were produced by Donner Company for pilot production runs and experimental devices. Managers of Donner Company had enough experience in electronic industry and they all were engineers. Donner Company was known for its innovation as well as for introducing new designs.

Problem Statement

Donner Company was facing many problems like productions and operations problems. Management was looking for a solution that could keep the company operations in flow and they were focusing on information and physical flow. Recently, Donner Company installed an automatic plant and they already had manual plant. Management was looking forward to know what process should be used to reduce the process time.

Q1. What orders would you schedule on the CNC drill? On the CNC router?


First we will find how much time will be taken by CNC router and CNC drill. For this purpose we have two equations

CNC Drill Manual

CNC Router

Where y = Number of boards.

Or equal to

CNC router should be used if numbers of boards are greater than 6. In this case, less cost will be incurred and it will take less time to process. Manual drill should be used if numbers of boards are less than 6. In this case, less cost will be incurred and it will take less time to process.

Recently, Donner Company purchased Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Micronic Jr. high-speed drill for $80,000. This machine can be used for drilling as well as for router functions. There are two options to drill the circuit boards and these options are manually and CNC machine. It is necessary for the company to decide, which options should be used to schedule orders. It can be found with the help of breakeven point of every option. It is assumed that 50 minutes is the set-up time and 1 minute is the run time for CNC drill manual. For CNC router, it is assumed that 150 minutes is the set-up time and 0.5 minute is the run time for CNC router (See Exhibit 1 in the appendix). Breakeven point can found at the point where the consumed time will be equal in both cases.

50 + (1) * N= 150 + (0.5) * N

150 - 50 = 1N - 0.5N

0.5N = 100

N = 200

If order size (N) is equal to 200, same cost as well as same time will be consumed in both options. If order size (N) is less than 200, CNC manual will be the best option to be used because it will take less time and less cost will be incurred. If order size (N) is greater than 200, CNC router will be the best option to be used because it will take less time as well as less cost will be incurred.

Q2. What is the capacity of the Dry Film Photoresist area? (Assume the order size is eight). How does capacity change with order size?


It is assumed that there are eight (8) working hours and order size is eight (8). 47.4 minutes are required for a panel and each panel is consisted of 8 boards. With those assumptions and given data, we can find number of orders per day.

= (8 * 60)


= 10.126

                = 10 Orders per day

It is found that in case there is an increase in order size, daily capacity orders will decrease. There is a negative relation between order size and daily order capacity. It is also found that in case there is an increase in order size, daily capacity of boards will decrease. Positive relationship exists between order size and daily capacity of boards (See Exhibit 2 in the appendix)

Q3. What is the standard labor time for an order of 1 board? 8 boards? 200 boards?


When number of boards is 1, Donner Company should use manual drilling because it is cost effective as well as time effective. Total operation Time is 396.55 minutes for manual drilling and 683.05 for CNC Machine (See Exhibit 3 in the appendix)................

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Managing a small manufacturer of printed circuit boards facing a number of production and operations management problems. On the first day of this case is used to analyze the different stages of production capacities and consider the process bottlenecks and key solutions production. The emphasis is on physical flows. The second day focuses on the information flow. We detail the problems faced by the company, to discuss the tools and methods for the analysis of processes that can be used to determine the relative importance of these issues, solutions and discuss implementation issues. "Hide
by Roy D. Shapiro Source: HBS Premier Case Collection 14 pages. Publication Date: September 27, 1988. Prod. #: 689030-PDF-ENG

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