ForeFront Holdings Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

  1. What is your assessment of the manufacturing operations at ForeFront Manufacturing?

The engineering department:

The business of ForeFront Holdings consists of a small group of builders and owners. It has been analyzed that there is a short time constrain between issuance of the firm’s order and deadline of the deliveries for the products. Due to this situation the manufacturing’s Engineering Department has to start planning in advance even before receiving orders. When the planning resources get saturated, then the production plans is given to the competitors of ForeFront Holdings. In order to have superior associations with the venders, ForeFront Holdings never refuses late orders. This practice makes the firm to charge extra in order to cover the cost of manufacturing in time.

They start their work in the sampling area. Machine is unlikely to be used on a regular basis and it is restricted to use in lunch time or at nights. Sometimes when necessary, this machine is used on production time but it does effect the regular production.

The use of the high quality varnish reduces the coats requirement from three to two. The operators are responsible to cope with imperfect material and out of stock equipment. Any error or change in the production plan can affect the production process because materials have also been ordered according to the plan and it take two to three month in order to receive the material.

The cutting department:

The cutting department is responsible for providing interior structure of the product with core as well as sized lumber of each door. Skilled workers are allowed to operate the machine, while unskilled person assisted them just in placing the lumber and adjusting of equipment. Then, boards are sent in the shape of batches for the placement into the larger piece.

The carpentry department:

This department works parallel to the cutting department. When lumbers are prepared, then the carpentry department prepares batches of door surface. In this department, two kind for fiberboards are used i.e. medium and density fiberboard taken from the sampling area in order to apply wood veneer to develop the shape surface of the door. In this process, the outer layer is made to show that the entire door is made of that specific wood. At the end, it was dispatched towards the finishing department to get varnished. The assembled units that are known as door leaf gets in the process of cutting again to drill holes and required for locks, handles and windows. Sometimes, the cutting is done by the computer numerical controlled machine center and then it is send back through cart to the packaging department.

The forming department:

Another parallel line in production is forming department where the fames and molding take place. Sometimes, this job gets customized according to the design requirements.

The assembly and packing department:

After the process of sanding, filling and coating in the parallel process is done in the component cartages to the assembly and packing department. In this department, the door gets inducted with other components and it is into complete door-sets.

The finishing department:

At last the work in process inventory reached to the finishing department where the door required at least two varnish base coats with two face coats. The quality of the varnish and number of coats influenced the finished product. The doors were sanded until they get smooth because the activity is performed by the automated machine. In this process, since the finished product is inducted with frames and molding, hence, the surface is not smooth like the door wood and it cannot go through finishing line. Therefore, this action can only be performed by the handheld tools in the finishing department on the second floor. It requires volume of manual resources to get the job done.

  • 2.                  As Li, what changes would you propose to Andrew Chan, the chairman of ForeFront Holdings, to implement immediately?

Changes have to be made on immediate bases:

After reviewing the manufacturing process, following changes has to be made immediately:

Similar issue regarding maintenance in multiple departments:

Similar issues regarding the maintenance of the machine in multiple departments, which is directly affecting the production and quality must be taken into account. The cost needs to be cut down from the machine repairing process and must be invested to the process, which is directly connected to the ongoing production or running machine. It will reduce cost of delays as well as consumption of access material.


The extra shift operates at night as well as on Sunday. But workers in extra shifts are unskilled. The shift is less productive and under this situation, manufacturing ends up producing 8750 door sets per month i.e. 3.84% less than the average monthly production i.e. 9100. This issue can be solved by dividing a specific amount of skilled person for extra shift to lead unskilled so that the productivity can be utilized at its maximum........................

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