How the Red Cross Spells Relief

How the Red Cross Spells Relief

October 10, 2017

Article Title: Red Cross urges financial donations for Harvey victims

Authors of Article: George W. Rhodes

Date of article: September 1, 2017

Source URL: http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/red-cross-urges-financial-donations-for-harvey-victims/article_f4868d98-9f6a-526b-98aa-8d56af8fcc57.html

This articles deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and how people can best help the victims.  It raises an interesting supply chain issue—donation of goods.  The Red Cross has urged that people donate money rather than physical goods.

From a supply chain perspective, donating money results in a more efficient supply chain, as the right items can be purchased and shipped immediately.  And it would avoid mounds of unnecessary donation items, such as winter coats and lingerie, which aren’t high on the priority list for Harvey’s victims.

But, at a personal level people may receive more satisfaction from donating goods.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the supply chain problems associated with the donation of goods for hurricane relief?

Guidance: Potential answers include the added cost of sorting, packing, and shipping donated good, plus the delay that these activities might add in getting goods to victims that need help immediately.  Additionally, some of the good may not be useable or of immediate need.

2. Should the Continue reading

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Houston, We Have a Cargo Problem

Houston, We Have a Cargo Problem

October 9, 2017

Article Title: Harvey Blocks ‘Critical’ Point of Entry for Cargo

Authors of Article: Brian Baskin and Erica C. Phillips

Date of article: August 31, 2017

Source URL: https://www.wsj.com/articles/harvey-cripples-key-point-of-entry-for-cargo-1504126803 (link does not require a WSJ subscription)

This article illustrates the importance of disruption mitigations in supply chain management and just-in-time systems.

With the closure of Port Houston after Hurricane Harvey, large container ships and oil tankers are re-routed to as far as the Bahamas and Mexico.  Businesses that rely on these shipments are facing shortages of parts and goods.  The disruption’s ripple effects are impacting businesses that use Houston as their distribution center and companies that provide trucking services.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the impacts of shipping disruptions on supply chain management?

Guidance: The article provides examples of businesses and types of businesses that have been impacted. Can incorporate a discussion of JIT systems, and the risk this adds to the supply chain.

2. What actions can companies take to mitigate disruptions in their supply chain networks?

Guidance: Examples are given in the article, and can be used to start class discussion. Can discuss multiple sourcing strategies, and how logistics can mitigate or 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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