Coca-Cola Is Killing Zombies

Coca-Cola Is Killing Zombies

September 28, 2018

Is Coca-Cola hunting zombies?

Yes, but in this case a zombie is a product whose sales have not grown over the last three years.  Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey requests “zombie reviews” for each market using a guide that was developed for these reviews.

Already this year, Coca-Cola’s Middle East and North Africa business units have identified over 125 zombies that have been or will be removed by the end of the year.

This post is based on the Beverage Daily article, Coca-Cola Steps Up the Zombie Hunt: More Than 100 Products Identified For Elimination, by Rachel Arthur, August 13, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Gillian Entress.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why eliminate zombies?

Guidance: As the article states, removing zombies reduces complexity.  Resources that went to zombies could be diverted to “star” products or to introducing new products.  These resources cross the entire organization from the marketing department through the supply chain.  This reduction of complexity make it easier to efficiently run the entire supply chain.  Ideally, this will put the resources on the products that will produce the most revenues for the organization.

2. Any potential problems with killing the zombies?

Guidance Continue reading

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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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New York’s Oat Milk Shortage

New York’s Oat Milk Shortage

September 3, 2018

In 2016, New York City was introduced to Oat Milk. This environmentally friendly product has no added sugar, and less water.  However, its popularity has grown so fast that New York City has run out. Oatly, the company that makes Oat Milk, can’t keep up with demand.

It’s the second most popular milk alternative in Europe. Similar shortages have occurred in Sweden and the U.K.


Video Spotlight: The Latest Trend: Oat Milk


This post is based on the New Yorker article, Hey, Where’s My Oat Milk?, by Antonia Hitchens, August 6 and 13, 2018; and the YouTube video, The Latest Trend: Oat Milk, by The Doctors, April 4, 2018. Image source: © SDM IMAGES / Alamy.

Discussion Questions:

1. What operations management concepts should Oatly re-evaluate in regards to this shortage?

Guidance: Obviously, Oatly should look at their forecasting methods.  The company was unprepared for the rapid increase in Oat Milk’s popularity.  This would be a good place to talk about different types of forecasts.  One of the problems is that this is a new product.  As a result there is a lack of quantitative sales data.

Capacity planning would be Continue reading

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