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Operations

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published: 28 Jun 2019

  • Topic: Operations
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case showcases how access- and ownership-based business models segment the market based on useage heterogeneity, and how pricing equilibrium emerges from the resulting duopoly. It also shows, counter-intuitively, that access-based entrants may intentionally benefit from choosing “inferior” technology to soften price competition from ownership-based incumbents, even when the cost of technology is ignored.

Keywords:
Pricing, Access Versus Ownership, Segmentation, Servicization

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Abstract:
The case focuses on the challenges facing Arenga Rainforest Sugar, a non-profit organization in Indonesia, as it re-thinks its business model. The product (rainforest sugar) supports sustainable agriculture, unlike traditional plantation-driven models (for palm oil and rubber). In response to growing demand in developed markets for sustainable food products, senior management is keen to deploy the new business model across all aspects of the business. The case describes the context, current strategy, operations and financials. It allow for a forward-looking analysis (less common than ‘with hindsight’) where students assess the current context and recommend strategies with actionable plans. The multi-disciplinary approach brings in issues related to strategy, building a new supply chain and distribution model, creating new brand and product categories, adopting a results-oriented marketing and pricing model or implementing a sound operational model while supporting rainforest conservation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This is potentially a “capstone” case for many courses, where students apply the learning from the course to develop recommendations going forward (strategies with actionable plans). For example, at the end of a course on distribution channels, students need to conceptualize a distribution plan that allows the company to capture more value (most of which is currently captured by retailers).

Keywords:
Strategy, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Operations, Marketing, Branding, Business Model Innovation, Cost Structure Analysis, Social Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Alleviate Poverty, Economic Growth, Responsible Production, Pricing

published: 25 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Operations

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Abstract:
In the aftermath of the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami in 2018, lives are at stake, infrastructure is damaged, coordination is limited and information is scarce. It is in this environment that humanitarian organizations have to operate in order to assist affected people in disaster-struck areas. The case follows the complex challenges confronting an international non-governmental organization (INGO) organizing a disaster response from HQ to provide aid to the victims in Indonesia.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• Explore how humanitarian logistics resembles and deviates from supply chains in the commercial sector. What can business learn from such operations and what can it teach? • Understand the importance of preparedness in humanitarian supply chains, especially the need for building local capacity. • Grasp the complexity of delivering supplies in a disaster setting. • Explain the issue of material convergence and how coordination is vital to ensure that emergency relief items flow properly through the supply chain. • Reflect on the effects of strict national regulations on international humanitarian assistance.

Keywords:
Disaster Response, Humanitarian Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Natural Disaster, Sulawesi Earthquake, Tsunami, Access Control, Government Regulation, Material Convergence, Humanitarian Supply Chain, Indonesia

published: 22 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Computer industry, Retail
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
On 15 May 2001, the first Apple retail store was opened to the public at Tysons Corner, Virginia, and the same day a second store was opened in Glendale, California. With retail branded experiences virtually unknown in the industry at the time, the decision to launch the Apple retail programme was greeted with scepticism. However, within the first week they welcomed 7,700 visitors, with sales of almost $600,000 – testimony to its undoubtable success – and went on to roll out another 24 stores. Fifteen years on, there are over 450 Apple stores globally, with higher sales per square foot – $5009 – than any other retail location in the United States. Even today, people still wonder what made them so successful and how it can be replicated. Having successfully designed a brand-defining experience for Apple retail that created immense value, Eight Inc. had to decide how this level of success could be replicated for other potential clients. The case describes the relationship between Apple and Eight Inc., who were initially hired by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to work on first the MacWorld tradeshows. It traces the steps in the process, from establishing the case to each minute detail in the design process. The case describes how the team built not just a store but a breakthrough branded customer experience.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To introduce and analyse a framework to design branded experiences. The case shows how designing a (retail) branded experience is different from designing a space or designing a service, and supersedes the latter. It also shows the business value that can be created through branded experiences. 2. The role of brand values in guiding the design principles for all the elements that contribute to the user experience. Understanding what those brand values are and how they are perceived by the target user is crucial in the design process. 3. A branded experience is the engagement of the user with the brand through the products/services, communication messages, the staff (and other users) behaviours, and the physical (and digital) space. The management of the experience design process requires an approach that combines modular and integrative principles. While the design of products/services, communication, behaviours and space are typically done separately by different disciplines, the integration of all these elements must be considered throughout the process so that they combine to create a holistic experience. The design of the Apple retail stores was not just an example of a good experience design, it was a breakthrough in the computer, technology and retail space. This provides a rich context to discuss the key success factors behind creating an outstanding branded user experience. One was the level of deep and detailed involvement of top-level management throughout the process, critical in defining the brand values that guided the rest of the design process and enabling the team to push the boundaries.

Keywords:
Innovation, Design, Retail, Experience Design, Computing Industry, Organizational Transformation

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published: 18 Feb 2019

  • Topic: Operations
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
Fibbie Cornuda is an Italian company that uses metal cold-forming technology to manufacture ski boot buckles and components for carmakers. Managing production of automotive components at Fibbie Cornuda is easy: demand is predictable and there are few SKU varieties. Conversely, for ski boot buckles it manages a catalogue of thousands of SKUs that changes every year, with widely varying demand. To match supply and demand, the founder of the company has set up a plant in Romania and implemented operations strategies such as mass customization and delayed differentiation. But there is a downside: leadership has to manage two plants instead of one, and plant managers are constantly fire-fighting. The case provides a backdrop for the analysis of several operations strategies, such as reactive production capacity, delayed differentiation, outsourcing, and mass customization.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To examine the benefits and drawbacks of production outsourcing. To analyze the value of postponement and delayed differentiation in manufacturing. To appraise the implementation of a mass-customization initiative. (Note 1: The names of the company and people have been disguised at the request of the family owners, but nothing else has been changed. Note 2: This case complements an organizational behavior case study of the same company, by the same authors, entitled “Fibbie Cornuda: Manufacturing to Stay Fit”, with different pedagogical objectives).

Keywords:
Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, Ski-Boot Buckles, Automotive Components, Skus, Cold-Forming, Make to Order, Lead Time, Family Business, Components, Forecasting, Sourcing, Strategy, Erp

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published: 23 Jan 2019

  • Topic: Operations
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The case discusses supply chain risk management: how to leverage the structure of a supply network to assess its resilience, focusing on the consequences of disruption rather than the causes, as is traditionally done. The proposed framework, presented in a 2014 HBR paper by Simchi-Levi, Schmidt and Wei, describes how a consultant, Ann Van Delft, applies this framework when assessing the supply chain risk for her client a large telco internet service provider. Telco had recently experienced several outages due to equipment malfunctioning and a shortage of spare parts, resulting in the loss of some customers to its competitors. Ann was hired to deal with these issues as senior management felt the outages were damaging Telco’s brand, and would deter new customers.

Pedagogical Objectives:
. Apply the framework proposed by Simchi-Levi, Schmidt, and Wei (HBR, 2014) to assess the resilience of a supply network to potential disruptions. . Shift the focus of risk management strategies away from the potential causes of disruption to their consequences. . Improve students’ quantitative skills by generating managerial insight from a large data set.

Keywords:
Supply Chain Risk Management, Time to Survive, Time to Recover, Network Analysis, Quantitative Analysis

published: 30 Nov 2018

  • Topic: Operations
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
At the end of 2017, Disney announced it would acquire the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets including its movie studio, TV production company, cable channels and regional sports networks. If approved, the deal would give Disney the scale and content to develop its own streaming service by 2019, when its contract with Netflix expired. The rise of streaming had contributed to the steady decline of cable-TV, DVD sales and cinema attendance in the US. The case discusses the transformation of the media landscape with the growth of digital. Was Disney’s apparent move away from “content is king” – its strategy since 1923 – recognition of the importance of distribution channels in the digital age?

Pedagogical Objectives:
. To understand the impact of digitalization on the restructuring of information chains . To assess the attractiveness of technology & operations strategies: vertical integration, horizontal dominance . To assess the importance of globalization in service industries, especially content management

Keywords:
Competitive Positioning, Industry Analysis, Information Chain, Distribution Channels, Content Management, Platforms, Service Management, Digital Transformation, Media and Entertainment, Streaming Services, Vertical Integration, Entertainment, Horizontal Dominance, Disney

published: 27 Aug 2018

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Business consulting services
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Joyful Frog Digital incubator (JFDI) was the first seed accelerator to focus on Southeast Asia (SEA) and is a key resource for new start-ups in Singapore. It focuses on providing coaching, structure and a network to early-stage start-ups, and creating an open and welcoming ecosystem for digital innovation. By the time of writing, JFDI had facilitated multiple “classes” of start-ups in its 100-day accelerator programme. Now it is at a critical moment of expansion, with the evolution of the programme to accommodate three classes per year instead of two, and the introduction of a pre-boarding programme to facilitate the selection process.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. Show how lean start-up principles are put into action. JFDI’s approach leverages the lean start-up methodology (http://theleanstartup.com/principles). 2. Illustrate how to manage an accelerator for start-ups and develop an entrepreneurship ecosystem. The JFDI accelerator programme takes a group-based approach to entrepreneurship as early-stage start-ups tend to encounter the same problems. These include team formation, customer adoption, understanding the domain, differentiated solutioning, articulation to an investor and illustrating traction. The programme tackles these problems during the 100 days of acceleration and provides a platform for start-ups to pitch their ideas to potential investors on “demo day”, the culmination of the programme.

Keywords:
Innovation, Start-Up, Accelerators, Singapore

published: 15 Dec 2017

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Abstract:
Agility is often mentioned but seldom defined or clearly illustrated. This case discusses UNICEF’s response to the sudden disruption of its aid supply chain to Yemen after the bombing started in 2015. It illustrates how a forwarding hub was quickly established in Djibouti and dhow vessels were used to reach small Yemeni ports from there. The case analyzes the supply chain, the organizational and strategic aspects of agility and discusses how UNICEF can further develop its strategic agility as an organizational capability. It can be used in supply chain and strategy classes, as well as classes on change management and fast decision making processes in organizations.
Part A outlines the events leading up to the Yemen Crisis and presents the challenges faced by UNICEF. Part B then describes UNICEF’s response to the crisis. Part B is restricted to instructors but can be distributed to students as well. The same goes for the supplementary teaching note, which gives an analysis of the response with regard to strategic agility.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Agility is required in dynamic environments but poorly understood. This case tries to explain how an organization has built multiple elements of agility in its supply chain and organization over the years and has been able to deploy them fully in a recent crisis. It explains what the basic building blocks of agility are and how an organization can develop an overall strategic capability by combining these components into a strong competitive advantage. The setting is a crisis in humanitarian aid due to a conflict and the organization is UNICEF.

Keywords:
Humanitarian Logistics, Emergency Aid, Strategic Agility, Supply Chain Management, Change Management, Sudden Change, Humanitarian Organization, Agility, Humanitarian Relief, Disaster Relief, Strategic Sensitivity, Collective Commitment, Resource Fluidity

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published: 15 Dec 2017

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Abstract:
Agility is often mentioned but seldom defined or clearly illustrated. This case discusses UNICEF’s response to the sudden disruption of its aid supply chain to Yemen after the bombing started in 2015. It illustrates how a forwarding hub was quickly established in Djibouti and dhow vessels were used to reach small Yemeni ports from there. The case analyzes the supply chain, the organizational and strategic aspects of agility and discusses how UNICEF can further develop its strategic agility as an organizational capability. It can be used in supply chain and strategy classes, as well as classes on change management and fast decision making processes in organizations.
Part A outlines the events leading up to the Yemen Crisis and presents the challenges faced by UNICEF. Part B then describes UNICEF’s response to the crisis. Part B is restricted to instructors but can be distributed to students as well. The same goes for the supplementary teaching note, which gives an analysis of the response with regard to strategic agility.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Agility is required in dynamic environments but poorly understood. This case tries to explain how an organization has built multiple elements of agility in its supply chain and organization over the years and has been able to deploy them fully in a recent crisis. It explains what the basic building blocks of agility are and how an organization can develop an overall strategic capability by combining these components into a strong competitive advantage. The setting is a crisis in humanitarian aid due to a conflict and the organization is UNICEF.

Keywords:
Humanitarian Logistics, Emergency Aid, Strategic Agility, Supply Chain Management, Change Management, Sudden Change, Humanitarian Organization, Agility, Humanitarian Relief, Disaster Relief, Strategic Sensitivity, Collective Commitment, Resource Fluidity

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