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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Water Risk For a $5 Trillion Industry

Water Risk For a $5 Trillion Industry

October 6, 2017

Article Title: Nestle, Coca-Cola top list of companies disclosing water risk

Author of Article: Anya Khalamayzer

Date of article: September 14, 2017

Source URL: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/nestle-coca-cola-top-list-companies-disclosing-water-risk

Summarizing the key points from the 2017 Feeding Ourselves Thirsty report, this article relates specifically to OM in that it identifies a shortage of water and pollution of water as a risk to the sustainability of operations in the $5 trillion food and agribusiness industry. This risk is not just operational, but reputational, and has marketplace, regulatory, and litigation risks attached to it.  Nestle and Coca Cola earned the highest scores for their water risk management programs, while Chiquita earned only 1 point, given its lack of transparency.

Discussion Questions
1. Examine all the ways in your personal and professional life, you either consume or come in contact with items that consume water in the manufacture of them. Discuss what impact a shortage of water would have on you and the products both personally and professionally.

Guidance: This open-ended question can be used to encourage class discussion in process management, process improvement, ethics, productivity, product redesign, triple bottom line, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable supply chain.

2. Discuss what your Continue reading

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