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Featured Operations Articles

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Remapping the Last Mile of the Urban Supply Chain

A new wave of data innovation offers unprecedented promise to crack the black box of effective urban deliveries.

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MIT for Managers: Can You Afford to Build Green?

The new Sloan School building at MIT shows that green building makes economic sense.

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Learning the Art of Business Improvisation

There are positive correlations between improvisation in product development and team performance.

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Customization and Customers

Mass Customization and the Do-It-Yourself Supply Chain

April 5, 2016 | Mohan Subramaniam, Bala Iyer, and Gerald C. Kane

With the help of third-party developers, customization is shifting from the producer to the customer. While Industrial Age customization did enhance options for different customer preferences, those options were hardwired into a firm’s supply chain in ways that preserved efficient scale. Customers could choose only from those options that a firm had already programmed to deliver through established supply chains. Digital Age customization allows customers options outside the boundaries of a firm’s traditional supply chain.

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Managing Employee Safety

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Getting Workplace Safety Right

Companies aiming to be competitive in the long term do not see safety and productivity as trade-offs.

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The Reasons for Accidents

“If there are human operators in the system, they are most likely to be blamed for an accident,” writes MIT professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Nancy Leveson.

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How to Lead During a Crisis: Lessons From the Rescue of the Chilean Miners

A look at key leadership decisions made during the 2010 mine cave-in crisis.

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Improving Environmental Performance in Your Chinese Supply Chain

Leading companies are working with their Chinese suppliers to improve environmental performance.

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Building a Better Car Company With Analytics

Putting data and analytics to work hasn’t just helped Ford more competitive — it has transformed the company’s processes.

Smarter Use of Analytics in Operations

Preparing Analytics for a Strategic Role

The way health care is billed in the U.S. system is part of the reason costs are so high. WellPoint is looking to analytics to play a strategic role in changing that.

Where Digitization Is Failing to Deliver

Digitization has not resulted in increased productivity growth. A University of Chicago economist explains why.

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The Power of Positive Feedback

Accelerating Projects by Encouraging Help

February 25, 2015 | Fabian J. Sting, Christoph H. Loch and Dirk Stempfhuber

How can companies get employees to pull together to meet project deadlines? It turns out that establishing psychological safety and promoting cooperative behavior can be just as important as good planning. This case study of management innovation at Roto Frank, a German company that produces hardware for industrial and residential windows and doors, highlights the difficulties of project planning and execution — and the benefits of building a positive feedback cycle.

Weighing the Outsourcing Option

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Should You Outsource Analytics?

Outsourcing analytics can offer benefits, but it requires a carefully constructed relationship.

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Operations

Managing the Human Cloud

Tapping a virtual, on-demand workforce requires new management models and skills.

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Operations
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What About Reshoring?

What It Takes to Reshore Manufacturing Successfully

August 7, 2014 | Willy C. Shih

The process of bringing assembly work back to U.S. factories from abroad is more challenging than the economics would predict. In the United States, many key resources, including the manufacturing workforce, have atrophied. Author Willy C. Shih (Harvard Business School) recommends that to reduce turnover, companies that embrace reshoring — bringing assembly work back from abroad — encourage workers to complete training and certification.