The Skinny on Airline Seats

The Skinny on Airline Seats

Article Title: Air Travelers Resisting the ‘Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat’

Author of Article: M. C. White

Date of article: November 6, 2017

Source URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/business/airline-seat.html

This New York Times article illustrates the clash among marketing, finance, and operations strategies in the airline industry.

On one side, marketing departments and consumer advocate groups insist on preserving existing leg room standards.  On the other, revenue management departments push for efficiency-oriented plane redesigns that squeeze more seats into an airplane.

Slimmer seat designs can offer passengers more room. However, they also provide the opportunity to add one or two extra rows without compromising existing leg room.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of including more seats in an airplane?

Guidance: Discussion may focus on unit costs, revenues, number of planes needed, fuel costs, flight attendants’ morale, passengers’ expectations, and/or potential litigation.

2. Do you think the House of Quality framework was used to design the slimmer seats? Can the seats be improved further?

Guidance:  There is evidence the HOQ framework partially guided the design of the seats. The slimmer seat design features conform to customers’ requests for more room, fewer hard points, and better Continue reading

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Mining for Data Gold with Supply Chain Metrics

Mining for Data Gold with Supply Chain Metrics

October 7, 2017

Article Title: Hidden sources of better supply-chain performance

Authors of Article: Per-Magnus Karlsson, Shruti Lal, and Daniel Rexhausen

Date of article: September 1, 2017

Source URL: http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/hidden-sources-of-better-supply-chain-performance

Companies can dig deeper into operational data to create more precise metrics for continuous operations improvements.  The authors warn against relying solely on high-level cost benchmarks to identify performance gaps.  They suggest three principles to guide executives to gain insights for competitiveness through better data.

This article helps further the understanding of the role of data analytics in (1) relating OM and competitiveness, and (2) shaping the future of OM.

Discussion Questions
1. In what ways can operational data and metrics be used to reveal a company’s performance gap?

Guidance: The article provides several examples. This article can be used in the chapter on operations strategy and competitiveness.  Specifically, a data analytics approach can guide executives to determine which competitive priorities beyond cost (e.g., flexibility) are important.  An operations strategy that focuses on specific competitive priorities can then be formulated accordingly.

2. According to the article, “Data analytics is of particular relevance to the future development of OM”. Why might this be the case? Continue reading

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Steelcase Runs Circles Around Waste

Steelcase Runs Circles Around Waste

October 1, 2017

Article Title: How Steelcase’s Initiatives Support a Circular Economy

Author of Article: Mallory Szczepanski

Date of article: September 6, 2017

Source URL: http://www.waste360.com/waste-reduction/how-steelcase-s-initiatives-support-circular-economy

An estimated 8.5 million tons of furniture waste goes to landfills annually. According to Steelcase, the root cause is “an economic model that is built on taking, making, and throwing away.”  This Grand Rapids, Michigan furniture designer and manufacturer is looking for ways to enhance an organization’s bottom line, and open up new ways to conduct business.  Their Eco-Services and Phase 2 programs help companies evaluate their furniture inventory for opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the benefits to companies of participating in the Eco-Services or Phase 2 programs?

Guidance: Discuss the concepts of triple bottom line/sustainability, of waste management, leaning a business.

2. How could the Steelcase initiatives be applied to other business uses?

Guidance: A great opportunity to re-imagine/brainstorm ways to repurpose waste or excess inventory. Steelcase has found a way to turn the concept of reducing furniture waste into a business opportunity.

3. What is the tipping point for you or your organization to pay more for products that have a positive Continue reading

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