Pool Table Tops

A small business designs and manufactures recreational products such as pool tables, ping pong tables, and above the ground swimming pools. The pool table line has a range of table top thicknesses from compressed particle board. One production line is used to produce all of the pool table design variations. Several steel leveling devices are screwed to the bottom of the table top to correct for variations in the table top’s flatness. Each table top thickness requires a different length of screw to ensure a solid table/leveler connection. Thick tops require longer screws.

After the required pocket openings are cut into the top the fabric is attached, and the table is placed on the assembly line fabric side up. Side and end panels are attached, and fabric covered rubber rails are attached to the side and end panels. After attaching the corners the table is flipped over in order to attach the steel leveling devices. The table is then packaged and moved into the warehouse to await shipment.

One day a production run of the table with the thickest top was not completed by the end of the shift, and had to be continued on the next day. The production run was completed and was followed by a number of orders for tables with thinner tops. About two weeks later a complaint was received for screws sticking through the table tops. The hunt for the root cause of the problem revealed that the longer screws from the production run for thicker top tables were not removed from the assembly line when the run was completed. Since the table top is not inspected after it is flipped bottom up to attach the leveling devices, there was no opportunity to catch the mistake.



1. Which supports and barriers were in play?

2. What were the dynamics?

3. Who, or what, won the Tug-Of-War?

4. Discuss the outcome with your friends and family.

5. Use Post #4 as a reference for the dynamics and the relationships between supports and barriers.