Shanghai Surprise. Costco Is Overwhelmed

Shanghai Surprise. Costco Is Overwhelmed

September 19, 2019

What does Costco have that other retailers don’t?

Costco just opened the doors of its first store in China. On the first day, huge crowds lined up for hours to get into the store. Once inside, they became part of a frenzied horde of shoppers fighting for anything from detergent to Birkin bags. The chaos was such that the store had to close early. At a time when other large retailers struggle to maintain a presence in China, Costco’s measured strategy and focus on the long game may pay off.


Video Spotlight: Costco’s Opening Day in China


This post is based on The Washington Post article, Shoves, Brawls and Shouts: Welcome to Costco’s Opening Day in China, by A. Fifield and R. Siegel, August 29, 2019, and the YouTube video, Massive Lines at Costco’s China Opening Amid Trade War, by Bloomberg Markets and Finance, August 28, 2019. Image source: Yongyuan Dai/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. Compared to other large, international retailers, is Costco late entering the Chinese market? Why or why not?

Guidance: Large, international retailers such as Carrefour and Walmart entered the Chinese market in the mid-1990s. Despite partnering with local businesses, these retailers have had Continue reading

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Cooler Robots for College Campuses

Cooler Robots for College Campuses

September 13, 2019

Starship Technology, Inc., is expanding its autonomous delivery service to 100 college campuses by 2021.

These cooler-size robots were first launched at George Mason University and Northern Arizona University to deliver food to students.  All users need to do is download the Starship Deliveries App on their smartphone, choose their food and drink, where their delivery is to be sent, watch the robot make its way to their doorstep, then meet and unlock the robot when it arrives.


Video Spotlight: Mason’s Robots


This post is based on The Robot Report article, Starship Technologies raises $40M Series A, expands campus services, by The Robot Report Editor, August 20, 2019, and the YouTube video, Mason’s Robots, by George Mason University, January 23, 2019. Image source: Beth Van trees/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does Starship Technology, Inc.’s use of robots for food delivery on college campuses meet the challenges of service capacity planning?

Guidance: Campus dining options are expanded as students can have food delivered to their doorstep by robots, eliminating the challenges of having to match capacity with the timing of demand, waiting time, and speed-of-delivery in service capacity planning.

2. Discuss whether Starship Technology, Inc.’s Continue reading

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Where’s the Beef? Tyson Juggles Capacity

Where’s the Beef? Tyson Juggles Capacity

August 29, 2019

Fire at a Tyson Foods beef processing plant has affected the company’s ability to maintain supply.  The plant processes 6% of the fed cattle in the US.

Processing capacity in the US is nearly maxed out, so the dip in capacity will increase beef prices nationally.  Tyson is working to move production to other sites.


Video Spotlight: Tyson Foods CEO: Raising Expectations | Mad Money | CNBC


This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Tyson shifts production after plant fire to ‘keep supply chain full’, by Emma Cosgrove, August 13, 2019, and the YouTube video Tyson Foods CEO: Raising Expectations , by CNBC, November 2, 2017. Image source: Foodcollection.

Discussion Questions:

1. What capacity management strategies should Tyson employ now?

Guidance: Students should recognize the need for back up sites or arrangements.  Ask students to describe how outsourcing arrangements might be used to acquire short term capacity with smaller meat processing facilities.  Do any small processors exist?  If not, what other arrangements can be made at the remaining Tyson plant to increase capacity or raise production?  Is the remaining plant operating 24/7 already?  Can some beef processing Continue reading

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