Forecasting Halloween During a Pandemic

Forecasting Halloween During a Pandemic

September 20, 2020

Tricky forecasting leaves chocolate companies wondering how candy sales will fare this Halloween.

Mars’ time horizon for planning for the Halloween season spans two years, yet no one could have known how different things would be this year because the pandemic.  For Hershey, Halloween spending comprises ten percent of annual sales.

No one is sure right now if “self-consumption,” when people buy Halloween candy to eat themselves rather than to distribute to others, will be enough to fill the gap of sales lost from trick-or-treating.


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This post is based on the Fortune article reposted to Yahoo Finance, How scary will a COVID-19 Halloween be for candy companies?, by Beth Kowitt, August 29, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Sandy Morelli

Discussion Questions:

1.   What role does aggregate planning play in the current availability of candy for Halloween of 2020?

Guidance: Many companies have a long planning horizon.  In part this may be to ensure adequate supplies of materials and resources when it comes time to manufacture product to meet demand. In addition, manufacturers need to Continue reading

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Look, Up in the Sky – It’s a Car!

Look, Up in the Sky – It’s a Car!

September 19, 2020

Flying cars by 2023?  That is the hope of Japan’s SkyDrive project which just conducted Japan’s very first manned flight of an “eVTOL,” or electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

The aircraft, dubbed the “SD-03” is the world’s smallest eVTOL developed to date, requiring the same amount of space as two parked cars.  Originally funded by big name companies like Toyota, Panasonic, and Bandai Namco, a video-game developer, SkyDrive just received fresh funds from other groups, including the Development Bank of Japan.

Over 100 flying car projects are in the works worldwide, but very few have gotten off the ground with a person inside.  SkyDrive’s recent test at Japan’s Toyota Test Field lasted about four minutes and flew a few feet off the ground.


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This post is based on the Fox Business article, Japanese flying car company conducts successful test flight, by Greg Norman, August 28, 2020; the CNN article Japanese company successfully tests a manned flying car for the first time, by Lauren M. Johnson, September 1, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Chesky/Shutterstock

Discussion Continue reading

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Toys R Us Shifts To Fulfillment By Amazon

Toys R Us Shifts To Fulfillment By Amazon

September 14, 2020

Toys R Us went through bankruptcy in 2017, and closed its stores in 2018, but online orders have continued.

Toys R Us has recently replaced Target with Amazon as its e-commerce partner.  Customers shopping at the ToysRUs.com site will be redirected to Amazon for order fulfillment.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Chicago Business Journal article, Target is out, Amazon in as Toys R Us fulfillment partner, by Anne Stych, August 21, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: BK666/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1.   Is Toys R Us’ e-commerce partnership with Amazon a sound operations strategy?  Explain.

Guidance: Yes.  By partnering with Amazon, Toys R Us can build on Amazon’s e-commerce prowess to handle customer-business transactions online.  This way Toys R Us can focus on providing customers with a large toy assortment to choose from and leave Amazon to handle the order fulfillment.

2. Comment on Toys R Us’ digital strategy from an operations management perspective.

Guidance: Toys R Us attempted to rebuild its brand by opening two physical Continue reading

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