Using a Big-Business App to Grow a Small Business

Using a Big-Business App to Grow a Small Business

September 6, 2018

A small business owner of a chauffeur company in the San Francisco Bay Area has successfully grown despite the competition from Lyft and Uber.

A major reason for his success involved the installation of a reservation system that is typically employed by much larger companies.  This reduced his back office overhead and increased his productivity significantly.

This post is based on the LCT article, Operator Made Bold Moves With His Small Fleet, by Martin Romjue, August 9, 2018. Image source: © Juice Images / age fotostock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Describe how better scheduling software impacts staffing, service quality and productivity.

Guidance: After students list the improvements to staffing, service quality and productivity, the instructor can easily lead a discussion on how all of these aspects are inter-related.

2. Why does the owner want to own one of every type of fleet vehicle?

Guidance: Students should recognize that having the capacity to fulfill all customer needs is the rationale for owning one of every type of vehicle.  It also allows flexibility in scheduling to meet the capacity needs for various assignments.

3. How important is staffing to the success of this business?

Guidance: Students Continue reading

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Fasten Your Seat Belt: Lean Airlines Ahead

Fasten Your Seat Belt: Lean Airlines Ahead

September 4, 2018

Airlines have started to implement lean operations concepts to cut costs and improve customer experiences.  The article applies lean service operations by recommending a ten-point checklist to common aspects of airline travel.

One tip: get rid of the problematic “box” often used to size carry-on luggage. Because gate agents know the box isn’t a good judge of what bags will fit, they use their own (variable) judgment instead. Instead, the authors recommend a height line marked on the poles at the boarding line.

Check out the article for other tips, and an engaging, interactive model.

This post is based on the McKinsey article, Does your airline still cross seat belts? A ten-point lean checklist for leaders, by Alex Dichter, Robin Riedel, Ron Ritter, and Steve Saxon, August 2018. Image source: Gene Chutka/E+/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Explore the interactive model in the article. Which of the ten items is likely to provide the most productivity improvement?  Which of the ten items is likely to cost the most to implement?

Guidance: Students should review the concepts of service delivery, service quality, and lean operations.  Suggest having students rank order the most productive points listed along Continue reading

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China and Industry 4.0

China and Industry 4.0

September 3, 2018

China is leading the world in implementation of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is a digital factory concept that promises to dramatically increase productivity, decrease inventory holding costs, improve quality, and increase forecasting accuracy.  The IT architecture has to be built around the company’s unique business needs and processes instead of building a strategy around a particular technology to make Industry 4.0 work.

Investments in Industry 4.0 should have a payback period of less than two years.

This post is based on the McKinsey article, Imperatives for China’s factories of the future, by Anil Sikka, August 3, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Phonlamai Photo.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Industry 4.0 requires a major investment in IT architecture, e.g. data, analytics, robots. Are there limitations to implementation of Industry 4.0 that were not mentioned in the article for companies in the United States?

Guidance: Review the concept of scalability.  Students should recognize that the costs of implementation may limit Industry 4.0 to larger companies.  Additional issues that should be noted are workforce availability to implement and operate the IT architecture, and the requirement for tighter supply chain integration.

2. What happens to break-even quantity when Industry Continue reading

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