Truckers, C’mon Back

Truckers, C’mon Back

The current demand for truck drivers is high. Or is it turnover that’s the problem? Or freight to carry?

A combination of driver shortage, high turnover, stressful life, and stagnant pay have contributed to a widespread rush to lure new drivers with financial incentives. If the shortage persists, the imbalance between supply and demand in this labor market will cause disruptions in the supply chain.

This post is based on the USA Today article,  Trucking Firms Offer Up to $8,000 for Drivers to Ease Shortage, by T. Evanoff, December 26, 2017.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the reasons for an apparently short supply of drivers?

Guidance: The main reasons seem to be low pay, demographics, difficult living conditions, and lack of privacy. The pay has been relatively flat since the 1980s, and like in many other industries, it has not fully recovered from the negative effect of the great recession. The large trucking companies’ hiring of inexperienced drivers seems to have heightened that effect. Many drivers are baby boomers and are retiring, further exacerbating the shortage. Truck drivers work many hours and are away from home most of the time. The addition of cameras in the cabins Continue reading

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The Incredible Shrinking Store

The Incredible Shrinking Store

Threatened by online shopping, large retail stores are attempting to change their image and downsize their facilities. Sears, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc. are opting for smaller, focused stores with fewer product lines, fewer brands, and contained layouts.

Lower real estate costs are an obvious benefit, but the challenges of meeting customers’ existing expectations and needs for variety are daunting. Sears is experimenting with a combination of reduced product offerings on its premises and access to an expanded inventory via computer kiosks throughout the store.

This post is based on the Boston Globe article,  Can the Rapidly Shrinking Store Save Legacy Retailers?, by A. Bhattarai, December 26, 2017.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the external factors that have led large retailers to downsize their brick-and-mortar stores?

Guidance: Factors include fierce online competition forcing cost reductions, changing markets (demographics, location, and preferences), and new technologies to display products within the store.

2. Many large retailers need to attract customers with a large variety of products and low costs. Are there trade-offs?

Guidance: On one hand, smaller facilities enable legacy retailers to cut costs and be more competitive; on the other, they limit the number of brands and product lines Continue reading

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Healthy Results from a Care Transformation

Healthy Results from a Care Transformation

OSF Medical Group has rolled out a Care Transformation initiative to 40 of its medical clinics in Illinois, with healthy results. Under the initiative, clinicians work in a multidisciplinary team to better serve patients. Every morning, the team meets to discuss the daily agenda, quality performance achievements and challenges.

This approach has proven successful in increasing the number of patients being seen, improving preventive services, ensuring treatment compliance, and providing patient-centered care.

This post is based on the Modern Healthcare article, OSF Medical Group Adopts Team-Based Approach Across Clinics, by M. Castellucci, December 16, 2017.

Discussion Questions
1. What is the composition of a typical team at OSF? Why does the nurse play a particularly important role?

Guidance: A team comprises at least one physician, a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, a care manager, and a medical assistant. Nurses help free up physicians’ time by seeing patients with common ailments and handling simple follow-up appointments. They also find ways to improve care. Job enlargement and enrichment strategies can be discussed.

2. Are the teams described in the article self-directed? What benefits can be achieved with such teams?

Guidance: The teams described in the article set their Continue reading

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