Assignments

“Quick” Case Analyses

The purpose of these assignments is to support your thinking about primarily qualitative issues raised in the course. These three write-ups (choose three from CVS, Toyota, Zara/M&S, Amazon, European Recycling, Hank Kolb, Katrina, Break.com, Barilla) should provide a point of view as to what some protagonist in the case should do given the situation faced. These write-ups should be in the form of a one-page memo (single spaced, max font of 12) and contain your opinions, based on reasoned analysis addressing issues raised by the preparation questions (see the Case Preparation Questions section). Please DO NOT answer these questions directly. Rather, use these questions to help guide your thinking as to what issues may be relevant in the case. Quantitative or numerical analyses ARE NOT EXPECTED in these quick case analyses, although they are not discouraged either. In preparing for these assignments, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Work as an individual on these assignments. This is a firm constraint, no exceptions.
  2. Written assignments are to be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date assigned.
  3. Case analysis assignments are limited in length to a single-page, single-spaced memo using a text font no smaller than 12.
  4. Each one-page memo may be accompanied by up to two pages of supporting exhibits, provided they are clear and self-explanatory. No fonts smaller than 12.

“Deep” Case Analyses

These two write-ups (choose two from PATA, HP-DeskJet, and Sport Obermeyer) should contain your answers to the specific preparation questions for the corresponding cases (see the Case Preparation Questions section). In preparing for these assignments, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Work in teams of at most 3 students. This is a firm constraint, no exceptions.
  2. Written assignments are to be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date assigned.
  3. Case analysis assignments must be less than 4 pages in length (excluding appendices) and use text fonts no smaller than 12.
  4. Every graph or table/spreadsheet showing the results of computations must be accompanied by both a clear description of what all numbers shown represent qualitatively, and a detailed explanation of how they are computed, including a statement of all the relevant mathematical formulas or algorithms. Please do not submit a table copied from a spreadsheet assuming that the instructors will try to figure out by themselves how the numbers it shows are calculated—they won’t.

Homework

There will be two short homework assignments that will aim to test your grasp of some of the quantitative material taught in the course:

  1. The assignments should be done individually and submitted at the beginning of class on the day they are due.
  2. Homework assignments should be 1 page of text font no smaller than 12.

The Goal Book Report

Each student in the class should individually prepare and turn in a report of at most 3 pages containing answers to the following questions (in Q&A form, not essay form):

  1. What are the methods described in The Goal for identifying a bottleneck?
  2. After bottlenecks have been identified, what are the concrete factory floor-level actions described in the book for improving overall system performance?
  3. Relate the notions of statistical fluctuations and dependent events mentioned in the book to concepts covered during the course. Also explain and relate to course concepts the statement made by Jonah that a factory “balanced with demand” will soon experience bankruptcy.
  4. Several times in the book, lot sizes are reduced in order to decrease cycle time. What are the limits to this strategy?
  5. When designing an operational process from scratch, which process step(s) should be the bottleneck(s)?
  6. What are the high-level management messages in this book that you consider to be of value?
  7. Leaving writing style and other delivery issues aside (e.g., romance novel format), what substantial critiques of this book would you make pertaining to its function as a “textbook” on the management of business operations?

Course Info