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    Operation Management: Libbey's Ruby Glass

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    1. Disucuss Libbey's innovative approach to developing ruby glass. What is it? How does it work? What are the benefits? etc...
    2. Discuss Libbey's approach to making money from bottle making machines.


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    Over years, Libbey's has used innovative approach to developing glass and glass products. Ruby glass is red glass made by adding gold (III) oxide to molten glass. The glass is used for decorations. Ruby glass is made in small quantities because of its gold content and careful mixing requirement. The glass is usually hand blown or molded. Ruby glass works because gold is dispersed inside the glass. So, the finished hardened glass is a colloid with gold dispersed in another solid phase. The main benefit of ruby glass is the beautiful red color that tints the glass when gold is added to it (1).

    The benefits of ruby glass are that it is valued for holding flowers or confectioneries. Ruby glass is very popular on table for its ornamental impact. It is used for wine glasses, finger bowls, and flower vases. It is also used for making "Mary Gregory" glass.

    Ruby glass also has great value as antiques and pieces of collection. Victorian ruby glasses have a rich deep coloring. Very small jugs cost $125 and the price goes up to several thousands of dollars for more elaborately decorated items. A Victorian ruby glass basket can cost close to $900. In 1933 Douglas Nash came to Libbey and created a new line of glass. The new series of tableware and formal stemware featured ruby glass in the stems. During the Brilliant Period or the period when cut glass was produced by Libbey, there was use of ruby glass to improve its line of tableware.

    Even the machine made glass of Libbey Glass Company has some series of ruby glass. These are popular today because of its beauty and looks. Libbey ruby glass is used as anniversary gifts and wedding gifts. They are made in many different styles. These range from the elegant to elaborate and is used to decorate modern homes. (310 words)

    Libbey Glass Company's approach to glass bottle-making machine was one of diversification and expansion. Libbey acquired Graham Glass along with the patents of Graham brothers for their glass bottle-making machine. This was acquisition and diversification. There were several other businesses that required the technology for making glass bottles. Libbey Glass Company made money because of its patent. It was able to charge high prices for leasing bottle making machines. The technology for automatic glass bottle making was used by Libbey for making money in several ways.

    Michael Owens who developed the automatic bottling machine partnered with Libbey. Libbey made money on the automatic bottling machine because every fifteen arm machine could do as much work as was originally done by a dozen or more skilled glassworkers. This means there was saving in labor costs. Libbey made money from this machine by licensing the machine to bottle manufacturers. The automatic bottle machine was in high demand. There was demand for packaging of beer bottles, milk bottle, baby bottles, and glass jars. The production using bottling machine brought the cost down to 10 cents for 144 bottles when compared to $1.52 for the same number of bottles.

    The bottling machine was difficult to make and it was the organizational ability of Libbey that enabled the manufacturing and marketing of the machine. The bottle machine initially had 10,000 different parts. Later by 1907 a new model had only 3,000 parts. Libbey approached research and development as a craft. He improved and perfected the bottling machine, patenting it and selling it to earn money for his company. He was able to make money because of the demand for bottles. In 1900 there was a demand for three million bottles of ketchup. Libbey managed to make money on bottling machines because he formed a company that made machines and leased machines to end users. Libbey perfected the leasing business model.

    1. www.libbey.com/
    2. http://retail.libbey.com/
    3. www.restockit.com/libbey.html
    4. http://brilliantglass.com/cutting_houses/Libbey_1.html
    5. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/libbey-inc-history/

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