Maria, a Killer Hurricane

Maria, a Killer Hurricane

September 24, 2018

Hurricane Maria killed more people than did Hurricane Katrina.

Although government officials initially reported 64 deaths due to the hurricane, independent analyses have estimated that Maria claimed thousands of victims. The discrepancies in the estimates can be traced to the methods used. Poor estimates have serious ramifications such as insufficient aid for disaster relief.


Video Spotlights: Death Toll Rises for Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico Governor’s Reaction


This post is based on the CBS News article, Hurricane Maria Caused an Estimated 2,975 Deaths in Puerto Rico, New Study Finds, by S. Lynch Baldwin and D. Begnaud, August 28, 2018. The videos shared in the spotlight are embedded in this article. Image source: Stocktrek Images/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is a forecast? Would you define the estimate of 2,975 deaths as a forecast?

Guidance: Review the definition of a forecast. Since the deaths have already occurred, the estimate is not a forecast. However, the estimate is based on a prediction of the number of deaths if the hurricane had not struck the island. This prediction is derived using conventional forecasting techniques.

2. Why was the initial report of 64 deaths so inaccurate?

Guidance: The initial Continue reading

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New York’s Oat Milk Shortage

New York’s Oat Milk Shortage

September 3, 2018

In 2016, New York City was introduced to Oat Milk. This environmentally friendly product has no added sugar, and less water.  However, its popularity has grown so fast that New York City has run out. Oatly, the company that makes Oat Milk, can’t keep up with demand.

It’s the second most popular milk alternative in Europe. Similar shortages have occurred in Sweden and the U.K.


Video Spotlight: The Latest Trend: Oat Milk


This post is based on the New Yorker article, Hey, Where’s My Oat Milk?, by Antonia Hitchens, August 6 and 13, 2018; and the YouTube video, The Latest Trend: Oat Milk, by The Doctors, April 4, 2018. Image source: © SDM IMAGES / Alamy.

Discussion Questions:

1. What operations management concepts should Oatly re-evaluate in regards to this shortage?

Guidance: Obviously, Oatly should look at their forecasting methods.  The company was unprepared for the rapid increase in Oat Milk’s popularity.  This would be a good place to talk about different types of forecasts.  One of the problems is that this is a new product.  As a result there is a lack of quantitative sales data.

Capacity planning would be Continue reading

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