Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Shortage

Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Shortage

July 18, 2018

What happens when Chick-fil-A has no chicken?

In Texas, Chick-fil-A had to temporarily close two restaurants because an issue was characterized as a “delivery delay.”  This problem was much smaller than the KFC chicken shortage in the UK earlier this year, when almost all of its restaurants were shut down for lack of its key ingredient, but it none-the-less disrupted the organization’s operations in a very significant way.

In an unrelated issue, in mid-June, In-N-Out shut down in Texas due to an unspecified problem with the quality of its hamburger buns.

This post is based on the Inc.com article, Oh No, Chick-fil-A. First KFC, Then In-N-Out. Now You Too?, by Bill Murphy, Jr., June 30, 2018. Image source: Livingpix/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does this article pertain to operations strategy and the socio-cultural dimension of the external environment?

Guidance: While the causes behind these product shortages have not been clearly identified, the issue of stockouts may become more widespread in the future due to the shortage of qualified truckers in our nation.  Trucking is often viewed as a dangerous and difficult occupation, and companies are struggling to find enough drivers.  Even one cancelled or Continue reading

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Made in China: From Scary Bad to Scary Good

Made in China: From Scary Bad to Scary Good

China has climbed the quality ladder. Once associated with cheap, poorly made goods, Chinese manufacturers are emerging as strong players in the production of quality electronics and garments.

Global competitiveness has spurred quality improvements in exports, but the rapid rise of a prosperous middle class in China has also driven Chinese manufacturers to provide local markets with the quality products they demand.

This post is based on the Quality Digest article, Made in China: From Scary Bad to Scary Good, by D. Dusharme, May 29, 2018.  Image source: cookelma/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What internal and external factors have likely contributed to the improved quality of products made in China?

Guidance: Factors for discussion include global competition (need to compete with Japan, EU, and US), technology (advanced manufacturing technologies have made it possible to meet high standards of quality), technological know-how (expertise acquired through outsourcing by US and EU companies), changing demographics in China, and a strong global economy.

2. The first part of the article addresses the challenges of overcoming a poor reputation for quality. Why does it take so long to change perceptions about quality? Is China experiencing the same problems?

Guidance: The Continue reading

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What to Do with an Empty Airport?

What to Do with an Empty Airport?

Crowded airports are often sources of stress and frustration for travelers. What about an empty airport? It may be bliss for passengers, but it is a depressing sight for the community.

In operations management, there is much discussion about expanding capacity and little about shrinking it. In this article, Memphis International Airport undertakes the challenge of shrinking its existing capacity while trying to bring in new business just in case.

This post is based on the New York Times article, The Trouble with the Memphis Airport: No Crowds, by A. Blinder, May 23, 2018. Image source: Danil Melekhin/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the external forces that led to the decline of Memphis International Airport (MEM)?

Guidance: Discuss the 2008 merger of Northwest and Delta. Northwest had a joint venture with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Delta had its own with Air France. After the merger, Delta, the larger of the two airlines, consolidated its capacity in Atlanta, and MEM, once Northwest’s hub, was no longer designated as such. Besides the merger, several other central cities in the US have enjoyed increased traffic, at the expense of MEM. Furthermore, it appears that fewer passengers make Memphis Continue reading

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