Cherry Picking: A Race Against Time

Cherry Picking: A Race Against Time

 

Cherries are a delicate and showy crop with an extremely short window from harvest to consumption.

By contrast, their growers are resilient people, and their pickers are highly skilled individuals with a high tolerance for harsh working conditions. This article describes the requirements for a successful harvest and addresses the challenges growers and pickers face to deliver the quality that consumers demand. It paints a thought-provoking picture of the race to secure the scarce capacity needed to harvest a product that we all take for granted.


Video Spotlight: Essential Workers Needed for Cherry Harvest


This post is based on The New York Times Magazine article, The Scramble to Pluck 24 Billion Cherries in Eight Weeks, by B. Jarvis, August 12, 2020, and the YouTube video, Cherry Farmers Worried About Harvest Season During Coronavirus Pandemic , by ABC10, April 13, 2020. Image source: nosonjai© 123RF.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. For cherry growers, what uncertainties threaten a successful season? How do they affect operations?

Guidance: The uncertainties include weather, foreign competition, lead time, and available capacity in terms of bees, refrigeration, bins, trucks, and most importantly, highly skilled labor. If there is too much rain, fans, wind Continue reading

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Aluminum Can Shortage

Aluminum Can Shortage

August 24, 2020

Is trouble brewing for users of aluminum cans?  Some beer and soda manufacturers fear that the existing shortage of cans will grow worse in upcoming months.

Some consumers already report difficulty finding specialty flavors of canned beverages like Cherry Coke Zero or niche brews, as producers focus on making the most popular flavors and brands instead.

Additional can manufacturing capacity is in the works, but it will be up to a year before the new facilities are ready.


Video Spotlight: Low Coca-Cola supply blamed on aluminum can shortage  (July 23, 2020, 11Alive)


This post is based on the Syracuse article, The national beer and soda can shortage: How is it affecting supplies in Central New York?, by Don Cazentre, July 29, 2020; the CNN article, Why America is running out of aluminum cans, by Alicia Wallace, July 22, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: belchonock/123RF

Discussion Questions:

1.   What issues are causing demand for aluminum cans to spike, and what types of time-series forecasting variations are these?

Guidance: One of the obvious issues is the COVID-19 pandemic.  As more Americans consume their beer and soda at home, Continue reading

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National Coin Shortage

National Coin Shortage

August 2, 2020

It’s understandable that COVID-19 may cause people to panic and buy a variety of supplies like toilet paper.  It’s also understandable that the demand for masks and hand sanitizers has skyrocketed — potentially for the foreseeable future.

But, a coin shortage?

A combination of events related to the COVID-19 lockdown have greatly impacted the national coin supply chain.  No one issue has caused the shortage.  To begin, the Mint has reduced the production of coins to protect workers.  Additionally, with many stores and restaurants closed, the circulations of coins back to the banks has slowed.  With many states re-opening businesses, the demand for coins has spiked, while there is limited supply.

The result has been a national coin shortage.


Video Spotlight: Coinstar CEO on America’s coin shortage amid the pandemic (June 25, 2020, CNBC Television)


This post is based on the NY Post article, National Coin Shortage Has Retailers Pleading for Exact Change, by Noah Manskar, July 1, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Glow Images/Glowimages RF/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1.  How does this coin shortage impact operations?

Guidance: Obviously, this can make cash transactions more difficult. Continue reading

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