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Case Studies by Michael Pich

20 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Public sector
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore is designing a new employment pass processing centre. Working with a lean-thinking approach and using previous centers as a template, the project team proceeds to plan an updated version with faster processing times and improved interiors. Unexpectedly, plans grind to a halt as the civil servant in their line of reporting raises some crucial queries that call into question the very basis of the new centre’s lean and optimal design. Time is of the essence and the project head is now faced with two very tough options: proceed with minor incremental changes that may not meet expectations, or go for a complete redraft which requires time and capabilities that the team may not possess. Which will be his choice? The case stops here to allow a class discussion to evaluate the two options on how to proceed. This provides an ideal setting to discuss how to manage a new-to-the-firm design-thinking project.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to: • Evaluate the pros and cons of lean thinking vs. creative thinking methodologies. • Apply the steps and processes of creative thinking. • Examine the importance of excellence in user experience via the customer’s journey through the system. • Apply their understanding to consider the factors required to bring about transformation through design thinking in their own organizations. • Consider the need for excellence in public sector services, as in those for the private sector.

Keywords:
Innovation, Design Thinking, Public Sector, Organizational Transformation

published: 30 Nov 2012

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Connectors
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
In 2008, Michel Safir, our protagonist, was tasked to roll out Lean throughout the Design and Engineering (D&E) departments of FCI, a large multi-national player in the connector industry. This case describes in detail the pilot project where many of the principles of Lean were applied to various aspects of D&E over a period of 18 months. Once the ideas and processes were developed and tested in the pilot project, Lean was then to be rolled out to the rest of the global organization. Case A ends just before global rollout. Case B describes, briefly, how the global rollout was handled and the protagonist's lessons learned from the how the project was handled.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be used to illustrate both: (i) Lean, and its application to Engineering, and (ii) Leadership issues in rolling out Lean to a global organization. Lean principles, and how they might be applied to an engineering environment, are described in detail in Case A, within the context of the pilot project. The case ends with an open question from Michel as to how he might best roll out Lean to the rest of the organization. This then sets up a discussion on Change management, and the strategies and leadership issues that will arise in such a large change management effort. Case B reflects on what Michel actually did to roll out the initiative globally, and he reflections on the lessons learned from the exercise.

Keywords:
Lean, Engineering, Connectors, Change Management, Leadership, Continuous Improvement, Learning, Operations

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published: 30 Nov 2012

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Connectors
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
In 2008, Michel Safir, our protagonist, was tasked to roll out Lean throughout the Design and Engineering (D&E) departments of FCI, a large multi-national player in the connector industry. This case describes in detail the pilot project where many of the principles of Lean were applied to various aspects of D&E over a period of 18 months. Once the ideas and processes were developed and tested in the pilot project, Lean was then to be rolled out to the rest of the global organization. Case A ends just before global rollout. Case B describes, briefly, how the global rollout was handled and the protagonist's lessons learned from the how the project was handled.

Keywords:
Lean, Engineering, Connectors, Change Management, Leadership, Continuous Improvement, Learning, Operations

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published: 31 Oct 2011

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Aerospace - Repair and overhaul services
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Jacques Esculier arrives in Singapore to assume the position of Vice-President of Repair & Overhaul (R&O) for AlliedSignal Aerospace’s Asia Pacific operations. On discovering that the Managing Director of the facility in Singapore responsible for the repair and overhaul of auxiliary power units has resigned, he assumes the MD role as well. Once he has a good grasp of the key issues that the shop is facing. Jacques knows that changes must be implemented to reduce deficiencies in cycle time and quality level, as well as to solve problems of supply and inventory. As a corporate fast-tracker with an MBA he relishes the challenge.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Six-Sigma is still one of the most popular business improvement practices in the world, yet most implementations still fail to achieve sustainable improvements. Most organizations adopt Six-Sigma to manage indicators instead of using it to learn how best to create value in their organizations. The AlliedSignal Aerospace Services case is a perfect example of this. It explores the specifics of Six-Sigma and lean thinking, and demonstrates the importance of the manager-as-leader in ensuring the success of such initiatives.

Keywords:
Six Sigma, Total Quality Managment, Lean Manufacturing, Plant Turnaround, General Management, Leadership

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published: 02 Jan 2006

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Computers manufacturers
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Compaq Computer Corp., like many manufacturers, faces operational choices that strongly influence the cost of capital engaged in inventory, customer response time, and potential product obsolescence. This case describes some key operations strategy choices regarding two types of inventory: operation inventory (e.g., flow) and tactical inventory (e.g., finished goods). Tradeoffs in inventory management and customer response time are explored in the context of a firm that is changing from a push manufacturing to a customer-oriented pull system. Optional computer simulations (B case) visually display the dynamics of push and pull systems, kanban squares, and their effect on inventory requirements and customer response times. The simulations require the ProModel simulation software tool (not included, to be purchased separately) and computer simulation model files (available from the authors' website: http://faculty.insead.edu/chick/chick-teaching.htm).

Pedagogical Objectives:
The pedagogical objectives of the A case are to convey the importance of manufacturing strategies and inventory management in the value creation processes of a business. A simplified manufacturing model allows the ideas of operational (e.g., flow) inventory and tactical (e.g., finished goods) inventory to be explored. Build-to-forecast and build-to-order approaches can be described, and the challenges of switching from a push system to a pull manufacturing system can be explored. The case describes tradeoffs in production decisions that relate inventory assets and customer response times. The B case is an optional add-on that describes computer simulation models that visually demonstrate the ideas of push and pull systems, kanban squares, blocking and starving of production in kanban systems, and the effects of manufacturing choices on customer response times.

Keywords:
Manufacturing Strategy, Pull System, Operational Inventory, Tactical Inventory, Build-To-Forecast, Build-To-Order, Computer Simulation

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published: 02 Jan 2006

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Computers manufacturers
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Compaq Computer Corp., like many manufacturers, faces operational choices that strongly influence the cost of capital engaged in inventory, customer response time, and potential product obsolescence. This case describes some key operations strategy choices regarding two types of inventory: operation inventory (e.g., flow) and tactical inventory (e.g., finished goods). Tradeoffs in inventory management and customer response time are explored in the context of a firm that is changing from a push manufacturing to a customer-oriented pull system. Optional computer simulations (B case) visually display the dynamics of push and pull systems, kanban squares, and their effect on inventory requirements and customer response times. The simulations require the ProModel simulation software tool (not included, to be purchased separately) and computer simulation model files (available from the authors' website: http://faculty.insead.edu/stephen-chick/simulations).

Keywords:
Manufacturing Strategy, Pull System, Operational Inventory, Tactical Inventory, Build-To-Forecast, Build-To-Order, Computer Simulation

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published: 01 Mar 2005

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Computer/PC
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
This case describes ten years of supply chain evolution at Hewlett Packard's European Business Desktop division. It takes the perspective of Xavier de Montgros, Supply Chain Strategy Director PC Group of Hewlett Packard. It shows the evolution from a "Push" system to a "Pull" system, deals with outsourcing decisions, and considers HP's move to direct sales. The case ends with the evolving nature of the PC industry, illustrated by the recent sale of IBM's PC division to Lenovo. Xavier is considering how HP's supply chain can help HP to continue improving the profitability of its PC business.

Keywords:
Supply Chain, Clock Speed, Operations, Strategy, Inventory, Channel Partners, Suppliers, Computers

published: 28 Feb 2005

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Retail – Textile Apparel
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case was written to illustrate the importance of business process design as a basis for competition in the textile industry. The case illustrates the impressive performance of Zara, the new fashion player from Spain, which has innovated in process design so as to deliver new collections in its stores with a lead-time of 5 to 7 days. The more traditional approach in textile retailing is illustrated here by Marks and Spencer (M&S), the well-known UK retailer. Notwithstanding M&S's current problems, the case does not fall into an overly simple comparison between a young, innovative competitor and an ageing glory. The authors have taught this case both in executive education and in the MBA core class on process and operations management.

Pedagogical Objectives:
There are four important concepts that are stressed, more or less, depending on pedagogical objectives: (1) newsvendor losses in the textile industry; (2) the role of postponement in final design; (3) the 'lean enterprise' aspect of Zara; and (4) process competition and innovation, embedded in technology evolution.

Keywords:
Process Competition, Operations Management, Supply Chain, Retail Apparel, Delayed Customisation, Time-Based Competition, Newsboy Model, Innovation

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published: 04 Jan 2004

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Software/Banking
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case depicts the situation of a relatively large startup in Singapore that writes "back office" software for the banking industry. They have been quite successful in their niche, providing low-cost solutions to an international client base. The case deals with their latest software product (Symbols) that offers customer relationship management tools and capabilities to their clients. This case is an excellent illustration of the "details" behind CRM and the tradeoffs that must be considered in supporting and automating any process. By examining the data requirements of an actual CRM implementation, the case illustrates the processing bottlenecks that can occur in any software-supported process.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be used in three types of courses: (i) CRM/IT; (ii) operations management; or (iii) entrepreneurship. The teaching objectives are: Illustrate an actual CRM system and explore the tradeoffs encountered in designing such a system. Explore the interactions between software and hardware design in achieving "real-time" response in CRM systems. Illustrate that there are still bottleneck issues in software/hardware that must be considered when designing systems to support customer relationship management.

Keywords:
Customer Relationship Management, Process Improvement, Bottlenecks, Banking, Entrepreneurship

published: 01 Jan 2003

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Software, System integration, Consulting
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Case Writers: Greg BLACKWOOD and Charles CHAN In the year 2000 Knowledge Dynamics is a three-year-old company that designs and delivers business intelligence systems to its customers in the banking and manufacturing sectors. Seeking to accelerate its growth the company is considering a large investment in software development in order to add licensing fees to its revenue model.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Discuss the requirements for successful entrepreneurship Discuss the challenges of managing a small software company Discuss the enterprise software value chain

Keywords:
Entrepreneurship, Business Intelligence, System Integration, Singapore, Asia, Business Model, Software Development, Enterprise Software

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