OPS/330T: Strategic Operations And Logistics

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Discussion Assignments

Week 2 Discussion : How important are each of the five value dimensions

Think about your own purchase behavior.

  • How important are each of the five value dimensions—cost, quality, delivery, agility, and innovation—to the decisions you make?
  • Explicitly weigh each value dimension. Be sure your weights add up to 1.0.
  • Discuss your thought process for weighting each value dimension.
  • How did you come up with your ranking?
  • Under what circumstances would you change your weightings?
  • How does your analysis of this point inform service system design?

Week 3 Discussion : identify a process design or Lean Six Sigma success story.

Discussion: Based on your own personal experience—or on the results of an Internet search—identify a process design or Lean Six Sigma success story.

  • Describe what happened. Answer: How did the key decision-makers use process design or Lean Six Sigma tools to achieve success—that is, improve value and decrease costs?
  • Identify the specific events, decisions, or investments they (the key decision-makers) made in order to leverage operations (or Lean Six Sigma) as a competitive weapon.

Now, identify a process design or Lean Six Sigma “horror” story.

  • Describe what happened. More importantly, describe what went wrong.
  • Assess how key decision-makers failed to appropriately use process design or Lean Six Sigma tools.
  • As a consultant to the company, how would you help them “fix” the implementation process to achieve success next time? What specific events, decisions, or investments would you promote to help them leverage operations (or Lean Six Sigma) to improve value and reduce costs?

HINT: To make sure you cover all aspects, consider organizing your response under headers.

Success Situation:

Key decision-makers role:

Events/Decisions/Investments to support competitive weapon:

Reference any outside sources used.

Horror Situation:

Key decision-makers misses:

Fixing the mistakes:

Include references

Week 4 Discussion

Context: Having the right product at the right place and time at the right cost and quality is one of the biggest challenges an operations and supply chain manager encounters. To successfully meet customer needs, supply chain professionals must accurately forecast and support operational needs. This requires robust forecasting, inventory, and information management capability.

Discussion: Think back to the last time you went to the store or performed an online search for a product you wanted to buy and found either an empty shelf or that the product was no longer available. This is a fulfillment failure.

Based on your own personal experience or a related Internet search, identify a time when you experienced or witnessed a fulfillment failure. Assess why it happened.

As you dissect the fulfillment failure, consider how each of the following may have contributed to the problem.

  • Forecasting—that is, did managers underestimate demand? If so, what went wrong?
  • Inventory— that is, did decision makers run too lean, leading to a stock out or shortage? If so, what went wrong?
  • Information— that is, did managers have all the information they needed to make good decisions? If not, why not? What information is accurate and readily available?
  • What else might have contributed to the fulfillment?

If the experience you are sharing comes from your work experience, please share how you and your company resolved the issue. What did you do to fix the underlying causes in order to make sure your company did not suffer a similar fulfillment failure again?

If it was not fixed, put your consulting hat on and describe how you would fix it.

HINT: Organize your response with headers to make sure you discussed all aspects.

Reference any outside sources used.

Week 5 Discussion OPS/330T: Logistics to develop unique business models

Context: Logistics is often viewed as a behind-the-scenes function that deals with the nuts and bolts of day-to-day operations. This may have been true in the past; however, the world has changed, making logistics critical to developing and executing corporate strategy.

Consider the following:

  • Globalization now means companies must manage geographically dispersed supply and distribution networks. Logistics capabilities enable global networks.
  • Manufacturers and retailers worldwide strive to operate lean. Logistics enables lean beyond a company’s four walls.
  • The Internet has changed the way people shop. They now want to buy off the shelf, click and pick up, and get products delivered to their doors. Logistics enables omnichannel strategies.

Discussion: Some companies (think Amazon, Ikea, Walmart, and Zara) have used logistics to redefine the competitive rules—and customer expectations. Pick one of these companies or a similar company and perform an Internet search to examine how it has used logistics to develop unique business models and achieve a competitive advantage. Specifically, assess how your chosen company has used logistics to design and execute unique value-added workflows to meet customer needs.

Now share your top takeaways regarding 1) what these logistics capabilities are, 2) how they were built, and 3) why they are so effective. Cover the following:

  • Why has it been hard for other companies to benchmark and bring these capabilities to the market?
  • How could you turn your takeaways into action to help your company improve its workflow and value-creation capabilities?

Reference any outside sources used.

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OPS/330T: Strategic Operations And Logistics