The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s…

 The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s expanding need for high-quality color-coded wire. As telephone services were rapidly expanding at that time, the need for quality color-coded wire was also expanding. Since then, the Maynard Wire Company has produced a variety of wire coatings, other wire products, and unrelated molded-plastic components. Today a sizable portion of its business remains in specially coated wire. Maynard Wire has only one production facility for coated wire, located in eastern Massachusetts, and has sales over much of the northeastern United States.

 Maynard Wire is an intermediate processor, in that it purchases uncoated wire in standard gauges and then applies the various coatings that its customers desire. Basically there are only two types of coatings requested— standard inexpensive plastic and the higher-quality Teflon. The two coatings then come in a variety of colors, achieved by putting special dyes in the basic coating liquid. Since changing the color of the coating during the production process is a simple task, Maynard Wire has essentially two basic products.

 Planning at Maynard Wire is done on a quarterly basis, and for the next quarter the demands for each type of wire in tons per month are:

The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s...-1

The production of each type of wire must then be scheduled to minimize the cost of meeting this demand.

The Production process at Maynard Wire is very modern and highly automated. The uncoated wire arrives in large reels, which are put on spindles at one end of the plant. The uncoated wire is continuously drawn off each successive reel over some traverse guides and through a coating bath containing either the standard plastic or the  more expensive Teflon. The wire then is pulled through an extruder, so that the coating liquid adheres evenly to the wire, which then continues through a sequence of four electric drying ovens to harden the coating. Finally, the wire is reeled up on reels similar to those it arrived on. Different dyes are added to the coating liquid during the process to produce the various colors of wire ordered.

 Maynard Wire has two, basically independent, wire trains within the plant, one engineered by the Kolbert Engineering Corporation and the other purchased secondhand from the now defunct Loomis Wire Company. Both the standard plastic and the quality Teflon types of wire can be produced on either process train. The production rates in tons per day are:

The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s...-2

Producing the quality Teflon wire is a slower process due to the longer drying time required. The associated variable operating cost for the month of July in dollars per day are:

The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s...-3

However, because each month the process trains must be shut down for scheduled maintenance, there are fewer days available for production than days in the month. The process-train availabilities in days per month are:

The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s...-4

Both types of wire may be stored for future delivery. Space is available in Maynard Wire’s own warehouse, but only up to 100 tons. Additional space is available essentially without limit on a leased basis. The warehousing costs in dollars per ton between July and August are:

The Maynard Wire Company was founded in 1931 primarily to capitalize on the telephone company’s...-5

A linear program has been formulated and solved that minimizes the total discounted manufacturing and warehousing costs. Future manufacturing and warehousing costs have been discounted at approximately ten percent per month. The MPS input format∗ , picture, and solution of the model are presented (see Figs. E5.1 and E5.2). Also, there is a parametric righthand-side study that increases the demand for standard plastic-coated wire in September from 1300 to 1600 tons. Finally, there is a parametric cost run that varies the warehousing cost for quality Teflon coated wire from $8.00 to $12.00.

Typical rows and columns of the linear program are defined as follows:

∗ MPS stands for Mathematical Programming System. It is a software package that IBM has developed to solve general linear-programming models.


 COST                 Objective function

 DCOST               Change row for PARAOBJ

1P                    Demand for plastic-coated wire in month 1

 1K                    Process-train availability in month 1

2WS                   Warehouse limitation in month 2


1K-P                Production of plastic-coated wire on Kolbert train in month 1

WP12              Warehousing plastic-coated wire from the end of month 1 to the end of month 2

 LP12            Leasing warehouse space for plastic-coated wire from the end of month 1 to the end of month 2

RHS1           Righthand side

RHS2           Change column for PARARHS

 a) Explain the optimal policy for Maynard Wire Company when the objective function is COST and the righthand side is RHS1.

 b) What is the resulting production cost for the 300-ton incremental production of plastic-coated wire in month 3?

 c) How does the marginal production cost of plastic-coated wire vary when its demand in month 3 is shifted from 1300 to 1600 tons?

d) How does the operating strategy vary when the warehousing cost for quality Teflon-coated wire shifts from $8.00 to $12.00 with the demand for plastic-coated wire in month 3 held at 1600 tons?

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