The Skinny on Airline Seats

The Skinny on Airline Seats

Article Title: Air Travelers Resisting the ‘Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat’

Author of Article: M. C. White

Date of article: November 6, 2017

Source URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/business/airline-seat.html

This New York Times article illustrates the clash among marketing, finance, and operations strategies in the airline industry.

On one side, marketing departments and consumer advocate groups insist on preserving existing leg room standards.  On the other, revenue management departments push for efficiency-oriented plane redesigns that squeeze more seats into an airplane.

Slimmer seat designs can offer passengers more room. However, they also provide the opportunity to add one or two extra rows without compromising existing leg room.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of including more seats in an airplane?

Guidance: Discussion may focus on unit costs, revenues, number of planes needed, fuel costs, flight attendants’ morale, passengers’ expectations, and/or potential litigation.

2. Do you think the House of Quality framework was used to design the slimmer seats? Can the seats be improved further?

Guidance:  There is evidence the HOQ framework partially guided the design of the seats. The slimmer seat design features conform to customers’ requests for more room, fewer hard points, and better Continue reading

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Saline bags, stat!

Saline bags, stat!

Article Title: U.S. Hospitals Face a Shortage of This Most Basic Necessity

Author of Article: R. Langreth and C. Koons

Date of article: November 14, 2017

Source URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-14/this-simple-lifesaving-liquid-is-suddenly-in-short-supply

This BusinessWeek article describes the shortage of small saline-solution bags for hospitals across the country.

A limited number of suppliers, quality problems, legal probes into possible price-fixing, and the destruction of factories by Hurricane Maria have contributed to a dangerously short supply of the bags which are used to administer hundreds of different medicines. Inventory levels of many essential drugs are also very low, making it difficult to respond to sudden disasters.

To cope with these problems, hospitals are trying to change the drug delivery system from injectables to alternatives. However, this process is complicated because it involves a redesign of the workflows.

Discussion Questions
1. When there is uncertainty in lead times, organizations carry higher levels of safety stock. Is it an option here?

Guidance: Discuss the limited supply of bags in the country and the perishability of injectable drugs. Both make it impossible to order large quantities and keep high levels of safety stock. Moreover, “hoarding” drugs in short supply compounds the problem. Discuss the Continue reading

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The Logistics of Direct-to-Consumer

The Logistics of Direct-to-Consumer

November 22, 2017

Article Title: Making eCommerce Logistics Fulfillment Channels Work in Today’s Direct-to-Consumer Market

Author of Article: Jagged Peak

Date of article: November 13, 2017

Source URL: http://www.supplychain247.com/article/making_logistics_work_in_todays_direct_to_consumer_market/news

This article describes the direct-to-consumer (D2C) market development.  Established companies will need to develop new D2C distribution channels without upsetting the retail distribution relationships.  Start-up firms must develop the logistics systems to meet growth in the D2C market.  All firms must develop customer relationships that add value in order to compete in the D2C marketplace.

Discussion Questions
1. In the D2C market, what are “virtual service relationship” service delivery considerations for an established firm?

Guidance: Review service delivery design considerations and customer relationship management. Students could then develop a service-blueprint to identify areas to add value to the customer relationship and to address service recovery systematically.

2. What are the logistics design considerations for a start-up firm entering the D2C market? How would international sales change the logistics planning?

Guidance: Students may develop a value stream map of a proposed lean supply chain for a start-up firm.  It may be helpful to have the students choose a new product or find a small firm in a Continue reading

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