Canadian Sand in LA Highrises

Canadian Sand in LA Highrises

Article Title: Why Builders of Big L.A. Projects Are Making Concrete with Gravel and Sand Shipped from Canada

Author of Article: J. R. Koren

Date of article: November 4, 2017

Source URL: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-canadian-gravel-20171104-htmlstory.html

For construction projects in the Los Angeles area, it is now cheaper to import the gravel and sand – known as aggregate – from Canada than to ship it from local quarries.

The aggregate travels one mile on conveyor belts from a quarry in Vancouver Island to a floating terminal on the coast. Ships then carry the materials 1,450 miles away to the Port of Long Beach. The materials are transported to a terminal on a conveyor belt. From there, they will be loaded into trucks to reach the construction sites.

The transportation cost is $16 compared to the $22.75 it would cost to truck a ton of materials from a local quarry to downtown L.A. These lower transportation costs, better quality of materials, and local residents’ reluctance to have quarry-related work and traffic nearby have contributed to increasing imports despite an abundant domestic supply.

Discussion Questions
1. Why is it cheaper to import the aggregate from Canada?

Guidance: Discuss the lower Continue reading

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Wow Bao’s Automated Eatery

Wow Bao’s Automated Eatery

December 4, 2017

Article Title: A Dumpling Served By A Robot? Wow Bao Gives Chicago Its First Fully Automated Eatery

Author of Article: Samantha Bomkamp

Date of article: November 17, 2017

Source URL: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-wow-bao-automated-restaurant-20171117-story.html

Wow Bao is opening a restaurant in Chicago that removes wait staff from the ordering and pickup of food.

This will be its sixth restaurant in the Chicagoland area, and its fourteenth overall.  The chain plans to double its number of locations with the new locations using this automated technology.

Customers will either order from a kiosk or from an app on their phone.  They will then pick-up the order from a cubbie with an LED screen displaying their name when the order is ready.

Behind the scenes, people will still prepare the food. But the only interaction a customer may have with an employee is a concierge, who is available to assist with the ordering process or to handle problems.

Discussion Questions
1. What benefits are gained from automated ordering and order delivery?

Guidance: Automated ordering tends to increase the accuracy of the orders, and reduce the time to place the orders. It also changes the staffing requirements. You have removed the Continue reading

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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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