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.


Video Spotlight: 


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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Cherry Picking: A Race Against Time

Cherry Picking: A Race Against Time

 

Cherries are a delicate and showy crop with an extremely short window from harvest to consumption.

By contrast, their growers are resilient people, and their pickers are highly skilled individuals with a high tolerance for harsh working conditions. This article describes the requirements for a successful harvest and addresses the challenges growers and pickers face to deliver the quality that consumers demand. It paints a thought-provoking picture of the race to secure the scarce capacity needed to harvest a product that we all take for granted.


Video Spotlight: Essential Workers Needed for Cherry Harvest


This post is based on The New York Times Magazine article, The Scramble to Pluck 24 Billion Cherries in Eight Weeks, by B. Jarvis, August 12, 2020, and the YouTube video, Cherry Farmers Worried About Harvest Season During Coronavirus Pandemic , by ABC10, April 13, 2020. Image source: nosonjai© 123RF.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. For cherry growers, what uncertainties threaten a successful season? How do they affect operations?

Guidance: The uncertainties include weather, foreign competition, lead time, and available capacity in terms of bees, refrigeration, bins, trucks, and most importantly, highly skilled labor. If there is too much rain, fans, wind Continue reading

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Sally the Salad Robot

Sally the Salad Robot

August 26, 2020

Are you missing your self-serve salad bar because of the pandemic?  Maybe technology can get you the salad of your dreams.

Chowbotics has created a self-serve salad robot called Sally The Salad Robot.   Sally can be filled with 22 canisters of various items, with over 150 ingredients that are approved for the containers.   Through a touch screen, the user can combine these 22 ingredients into a variety of feature salads, grain bowls, yogurt bowls, and snacks.  Over 1,000 possible bowls can be made by combining these 22 items in different ways with Sally.  You can select a predetermined recipe, or combine the items to make your own unique creation.

Sally the Salad Robot has an expanded appeal with the presence of Covid-19.  Many locations have eliminated their self-serve salad bars for safety reasons. But, the demand for customized salad remains.  As a result, Sally the Salad Robot is very attractive for several industries, including the food department in supermarkets like ShopRite, in hospitals, and in higher education.


Video Spotlight: The Salad Station’s rapid brand expansion through the 24/7 salad robot. (Nov 27, 2019, chowbotics)


This post is based on the Continue reading

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