Featured Operations Articles


The Shifts — Great and Small — in Workplace Automation

Frontiers |

Human labor isn’t going away, but automation may greatly affect the quality of available jobs.


Is Your Company Ready to Operate as a Market?

Frontiers |

Traditional hierarchies are giving way to market forms of organizing that will recast the role of management.


Second Thoughts on Second Sourcing

Multi-sourcing can lessen the risk of supply chain disruption. But it introduces risks of its own.


Assessing Performance

Do You Know What Really Drives Your Business’s Performance?

June 2, 2016 | Rhian Silvestro

Although intuitively appealing, strategy maps and models such as the service profit chain have a common pitfall: They encourage managers to embrace general assumptions about the drivers of financial performance that may not stand up to close scrutiny in their own organizations. A more rigorous analytic approach called performance topology mapping may help managers avoid these assumptions, as well as the strategic mistakes they promote.


Delivering Quality Service


How Customers View Self-Service Technologies

Customers want employee interaction, convenience, and fast transactions in their self-service technology.


Reading Global Clients’ Signals

Big data analysis can help geographically distributed companies monitor customer satisfaction.


Why Customer Participation Matters

Emphasizing customer participation is an important vehicle for generating valuable repeat business.


What Unhappy Customers Want

Customers are unsatisfied with complaint handling despite years of effort. A new approach is needed.

Manufacturing Best Practices

Monitor, Measure, Incentivize: Is Management as Simple as That?

Frontiers |

May 23, 2016 | Nicholas Bloom (Stanford University), interviewed by Frieda Klotz

Nicholas Bloom, William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, conducted an extensive study of 30,000 US factories, and found that two practices, underpinned by innovative software and IT systems, stand out in highly effectively managed operations: monitoring and incentives.

Digital Outsourcing

The Long-Tail Strategy for IT Outsourcing

No longer just a cost-saving measure, IT outsourcing has emerged as an important strategic tool for acquiring cutting-edge ideas. Many companies are expanding their portfolios of IT suppliers to include smaller, highly innovative companies. But this expansion increases the complexity of managing supplier portfolios. To take full advantage of the innovations that diverse suppliers provide, organizations need to reimagine their strategies to be dynamic, diversified, and still disciplined.

Should You Outsource Analytics?

Outsourcing analytics activities can offer benefits, but it requires a carefully constructed relationship between the company and the business process organization (BPO). Customers must be careful not to lose their expertise or their core intellectual property. Research suggests that companies with superior analytics capabilities will approach outsourcing differently than companies that are analytically challenged.


Meeting Supply Chain Challenges