Cameron Balloons business process

Cameron Balloons’ business process is a complex one. Their goal is to manufacture hot air balloons in the most timely and cost efficient way possible. Their inputs include design, fabric, burners, and baskets. These are all needed to complete a balloon. Their outputs are the balloons themselves. They use many resources from many different suppliers. The lead times vary greatly. Some fabric can be available in three days while other, specialty fabrics, can take 8 weeks to arrive. This greatly impacts the turnaround time on manufacturing a balloon. To construct a balloon, many people have to work together. The designers use a special CAD software program that was created in house. Three components to design are: envelope design, airworthiness, and hardware. A balloon with a special shape can take up to 6 weeks to manufacture. Twenty percent of that time is dedicated just to the design. Once the design is ready, sewers and production personnel work together to construct the balloon. They would be unable to complete the balloon without the material provided by the purchasing department. The purchasing department has to coordinate with over 1,000 suppliers to ensure a steady stream of available parts is ready as needed. The company also has an Accounting department which is responsible for the payment of wages, purchases, and other personnel functions. Finally, the Marketing department uses a variety of techniques to spread word of mouth about the hot air balloons manufactured by Cameron.
The company has five main departments that work together. Alan Noble is the Director of Marketing. Since regular advertising techniques will not work on a high-priced specialty item such as a hot air balloon, Alan travels to balloon events and spreads the word personally. Without Alan drumming up business and unearthing customers, the production staff would have nothing to complete. Once the company has an order, it takes time before the balloon can be constructed. A dedicated team of designers must draw up plans and create a computer model. This can take a considerable amount of time, so the production team must be able to work fast to complete the project on time. The sewers cannot even begin until templates are made and cloth is cut. The cloth is even carefully inspected for defects before the cut panels make their way to the sewers. The artwork can be applied in various ways. Sometimes, the designs are dyed into the fabric and other times it is airbrushed or stuck on with adhesive. During this time, the basket, rigging, and burners are constructed in separate process, and then the final balloon comes together with the help of the Engineering Department. None of this would be possible without the Purchasing Department who coordinates stock and ensures optimum levels of each part are on hand at all times.
In a case where so many different departments work together, it is essential that each understands the other’s roles and responsibilities. According to Steve Baty, Principal of Meld Studios and Vice President of IxDA, “Getting teams from different parts of an organization to work together effectively often comes down to a question of having some sense of shared enterprise.” (Six, 2011) if the Purchasing Department did not have a sense of the time required to construct a balloon, the materials required in the process or the needs of the production staff, things would not move as smoothly. The materials to construct each balloon must be available at the exact moment they are needed, but the

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