Stay-At-Home Improvements Mean Appliance Shortages

Stay-At-Home Improvements Mean Appliance Shortages

December 16, 2020

A surge in home improvement projects and new home construction has created a strong demand for appliances from refrigerators to washing machines. As a result, manufacturers, retailers, shippers, and raw materials suppliers are struggling to keep up with the strong demand.

Amid item shortages, retailers like Lowe’s are shifting from in-store showrooms to direct-to-customer deliveries.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Business Insider article, Kitchen appliances and washing machines are in short supply as families stuck inside turn to home-improvement projects, by Graham Rapier, October 23, 2020; the Consumer Reports article, How to Get a Deal During the Appliance Shortage, by Tobie Stanger, December 10, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Corbis/Superstock

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the surge in demand of appliances affect inventory management for manufacturers such as Whirlpool?

Guidance: Appliance manufacturers maintain a low level of inventory to begin with. The level of inventory has remained low despite high production, resulting in order backlog and item shortages.

2.  How does the surge in demand of appliances affect its supply chain?

Guidance Continue reading

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Going Touchless at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

Going Touchless at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

July 26, 2020

Effective operations is not just about doing things right, it’s about doing the right things.  Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) has emerged as the busiest airport in the world with the recent collapse in air travel due to the coronavirus.  These unexpected conditions have required a sharp and timely pivot for long-planned capital and operating plans.

DFW has the advantage of being both the home base and major hub of one of the world’s largest air carriers, American Airlines.  In addition to the summer ramp up in flights (though still substantially off the usual activity for this time of year), airlines have implemented their own changes by relying on more hub and spoke operations requiring less overall flights routing through central hubs.

DFW is responding to the “new normal” by emphasizing sanitation measures and moving to a more self-service model in luggage check-in and boarding.  Technology is being applied to expedite these changes and simultaneously increasing efficiency (with a 20% reduction in operating costs expected).

This quick response and re-focus of competitive priorities has allowed DFW to maintain and to improve its ability to serve both airlines and wary customers.


Video Spotlight: American Airlines to Lift Continue reading

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Effect of Chinese New Year on Inventory Management

Effect of Chinese New Year on Inventory Management

January 27, 2020

The Chinese New Year brings manufacturing slowdowns in China. United States companies must plan on being proactive in managing supply by making early purchases and scheduling transportation before the slowdowns begin.

Building buffer inventory in the United States as a result of early purchases means storage capacity in the United States must be managed proactively as well.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Why procurement planning is critical ahead of Chinese New Year, by Amanda Loudin, January 16, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Dmitry Kalinovsky.

Discussion Questions:

1. Note in the article that the average shipping time from China to the United States is about 30 days.  How does this lead time impact inventory levels at United States facilities?

Guidance: This question is designed to get students to reflect on the interaction between lead time and inventory levels.   Ask students to suggest better ways to accumulate the additional Continue reading

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