Strengthening Manufacturing Capacity of Burmese Metalworking Firms to Promote Sustained Development

Stanford University, 2007 - $49,480

International Development Enterprises (IDE) sells a wide variety of agricultural-output-increasing technology to the world's rural poor, including a popular treadle pump that increases the availability of water and raises household income by an average of $150 annually. IDE-Myanmar's sales of the pump have doubled each year since 2004, but with the scaling up of operations, managing efficient quality manufacturing in a less industrialized economy has become a pressing issue. Stanford's Design for Extreme Affordability students and faculty will work with IDE-Myanmar to design and implement a manufacturing system that enables the organization to meet its treadle pump production goals. This will involved investigating local Myanmar manufacturing conditions, designing a production system based around local needs, refining the system, and implementing it. Based on previous research, the team believes introducing an improved manufacturing process for treadle pumps will broadly improve the metalworking sector.

Summer 2009 update: Starting in late 2008, student and faculty teams held workshops at IDE-Myanmar. This team has designed and implemented a handful of jigs and fixtures, as well as set up and iterated a quality control system for metalworking firms. A quarter-long student project assisted IDE-Myanmar with process mapping and production pricing. The team has been able to analyze several rounds of QC data that they helped set up the collection of for IDE-Myanmar, which has allowed them to target areas for improvement. They plan to publish and disseminate their findings on the Burmese metalworking industry.