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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Ramping Up for Bargain Days

Ramping Up for Bargain Days

November 20, 2017

Article Title: What impact are bargain days having on peak planning and supply chain?

Author of Article: Andrew Tavener

Date of article: November 10, 2017

Source URL: http://www.supplychaindigital.com/scm/what-impact-are-bargain-days-having-peak-planning-and-supply-chain

Supply chains have to deal with the growing impact of ‘bargain days’ on inventory management and logistics delivery.  Instead of traditional peak demand seasons, firms are increasingly experiencing peak demand year round due to marketing promotions.

Discussion Questions
1. How can the bullwhip effect be controlled when dealing with a responsive supply chain that includes forward buying as a major issue?

Guidance: Review the differences between an efficient and responsive supply chain; review the bullwhip effect. Students should be asked to outline the steps to take to minimize the bullwhip effect. The discussion should include the use of technology to track inventory and plan ahead with collaborative forecasting.

2. What difference will dependent versus independent demand have on the inventory required for peak planning periods in a responsive supply chain?

Guidance: Review dependent and independent demand for inventory. Ask students to argue for and against the Q-model and the P-model in regards to the different types of demand. Which model is best suited for peak demand? Continue reading

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