Operations

Image courtesy of Flickr user kenjonbro.

What Really Happened to Toyota?

Consumers were surprised in October 2009 by the first of a series of highly publicized recalls of Toyota vehicles in the United States. Citing a potential problem in which poorly placed or incorrect floor mats under the driver’s seat could lead to uncontrolled acceleration in a range of models, Toyota announced that it was recalling 3.8 million U.S. vehicles. The article discusses two root causes for Toyota’s quality problems.

Image courtesy of Flickr user eszter.

Why Every Project Needs a Brand (and How to Create One)

Project leaders should sequence and articulate messaging about their projects in the same way a marketing manager would organize an external branding effort to promote a company’s products and services. Just as product branding creates awareness and sustains value in the minds of an organization’s external customers, shareholders, and constituents, a brand mindset can empower a project leader to develop strategically-timed messages to create visibility and engagement among key targets.

andrew-mcafee-500
Free Article

McAfee: ‘Customer Service in the Digital Age: The Eternal Lament’

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

MIT Sloan’s Andrew McAfee reflects on “the amazingly bad design and execution of customer-facing processes among financial services firms.” He wonders if they’ll only get better “when competitors appear who take process design and execution seriously, and digitize them to the maximum extent possible.”

advertisement

Image courtesy of Flickr user Linh_rOm.

What Great Projects Have in Common

From time to time a company’s project truly stands out, creating exceptional value and having an impact on the industry. IBM’s AS/400 development effort in the 80s was a game changer and gave IBM a competitive edge. Apple Inc.’s success in creating the iPod portable media player and iTunes online store is another more recent example of a great project — one that changed the way people listen to and buy music. Why are such projects so rare — and why can’t more projects be like them?

Courtesy of IBM.

Putting It Together: How to Succeed in Distributed Product Development

The increase in outsourcing and offshoring of complex work has resulted in innovation efforts that require coordination across cultural, geographic and legal boundaries. If that coordination is mishandled, companies can find themselves needing to make multimillion- or even billion-dollar changes. The complexity of the task makes midcourse corrections likely. Managers must anticipate and adapt their processes in order to reduce risk and, ultimately, cost.

advertisement

07-Operations-500

Opportunism Knocks

Complex supply chains with many agents are more prone to problems, and on occasion, to spectacular collapse. Examples from the last few years include the subprime mortgage crisis; the failure of the Peanut Corporation of America; and dioxin-contaminated Irish pork. Without a doubt, today’s complex supply chains are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior leading to sometimes catastrophic failure. But there are five steps managers can take to protect their companies.

018-Operations-500
Free Article

The Trouble with Mass-Market Distribution

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

Niche manufacturers often seek out mass-market distribution as a way to increase sales. But is that always wise?

Not according to professors Andrew R. Thomas, of the University of Akron, and Timothy J. Wilkinson, of Montana State University Billings.

010-Innovation-500
Free Article

Bringing New Ideas to Fruition

  • Blog

It's not always easy to bridge the gap between academic research and the business world. Two recent articles offer perspectives on different aspects of the process:

TURNING IDEAS INTO START-UPS. A recent New York Times article highlights university "idea incubators" -- such as MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation -- that help professors bring their innovations to market.  Notes The New York Times:

"M.I.T.

014-Operations-500
Free Article

Understanding the ‘Bullwhip’ Effect in Supply Chains

  • Blog

Today's Wall Street Journal  has a noteworthy front-page article about the "bullwhip" effect, as it is starting to play out in businesses as the economy recuperates. What's the bullwhip effect? The WSJ article explains:
"This phenomenon occurs when companies significantly cut or add inventories.

advertisement

Image courtesy of Wal-mart.

Outcome-Driven Supply Chains

When properly designed and operated, the traditional supply chain has offered customers three primary benefits—reduced cost, faster delivery and improved quality. But managers are increasingly recognizing that these advantages, while necessary, are not always sufficient in the modern business world. The supply chain should be designed and managed to deliver one or more of six basic outcomes: cost, responsiveness, security, sustainability, resilience and innovation.

Showing 21-40 of 120