Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Shortage

Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Shortage

July 18, 2018

What happens when Chick-fil-A has no chicken?

In Texas, Chick-fil-A had to temporarily close two restaurants because an issue was characterized as a “delivery delay.”  This problem was much smaller than the KFC chicken shortage in the UK earlier this year, when almost all of its restaurants were shut down for lack of its key ingredient, but it none-the-less disrupted the organization’s operations in a very significant way.

In an unrelated issue, in mid-June, In-N-Out shut down in Texas due to an unspecified problem with the quality of its hamburger buns.

This post is based on the Inc.com article, Oh No, Chick-fil-A. First KFC, Then In-N-Out. Now You Too?, by Bill Murphy, Jr., June 30, 2018. Image source: Livingpix/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does this article pertain to operations strategy and the socio-cultural dimension of the external environment?

Guidance: While the causes behind these product shortages have not been clearly identified, the issue of stockouts may become more widespread in the future due to the shortage of qualified truckers in our nation.  Trucking is often viewed as a dangerous and difficult occupation, and companies are struggling to find enough drivers.  Even one cancelled or Continue reading

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Walmart: Check It Out

Walmart: Check It Out

May 17, 2018

Consumers can check out Walmart’s “Check out with me” technology to pay for their Lawn & Garden Center purchases at 350 stores across the country.

Walmart associates, toting cellular devices and Bluetooth printers, scan heavy items like bags of mulch while it’s still on the shelf, saving customers the hassle of loading it into carts and pushing it back into the store to fixed checkout stations.  The technology will also assist customers outdoors in the live plant and potting soil areas.

The system is being tested in Lawn & Garden Centers, because that is where it is most needed to improve the customer check out experience.  However, eventually it could be used elsewhere in the store as well.  If successful, the system could be implemented at Walmart’s 4700 U.S. locations.

Walmart may also have checkout-free technology in the works to battle Amazon’s Whole Foods or the new Amazon Go stores, where customers can just pick up their items and leave while cameras, sensors, and AI technology track and charge them for their purchases.

This post is based on the Retail Leader article, Walmart makes more digital moves, by Gina Acosta, April 23, 2018; and on the Continue reading

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Procurement Specialists: Master Puzzlers

Procurement Specialists: Master Puzzlers

April 24, 2018

Students often ask what sort of jobs there are in Operations and Supply Chain. Procurement (also called purchasing) is a great starting point.

The procurement function requires skills beyond price negotiation and issuing purchase orders. Procurement specialists add value to a company when they acquire skills that are proactive and encompass value-added activities.  That includes a major emphasis on “puzzle solving”, bringing together the full procurement picture, including spend analysis, market research, supplier risk assessment, internal customer satisfaction, and stakeholder engagement.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Digest article, Supply Chain News: What are the Next Generation Procurement Skills?, by the SCDigest Editorial Staff, April 2, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov.

Discussion Questions:

1. Are supplier risk assessments the same for all SKUs?

Guidance: Students should review ABC inventory analysis.  Students should debate the contents of a supplier risk assessment for “A” items vs. “C” items.  It should be clear that the level of risk assessment depends on how critical the inventory item is to the company.

2. How would you develop some of the skills required to become a proactive procurement specialist while a college student?

Guidance: Students should Continue reading

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