Assignments

CLASS # TOPICS ASSIGNMENTS
1 Introduction to Operations Strategy
2 Process Concepts What are the principle performance problems facing organizations today? How do these differ from those they have faced in the past, and why do they have special urgency now? What are the root causes of these performance problems? What kinds of performance improvement initiatives have companies undertaken to address these problems, and why have they not been more successful? How does process redesign differ from these other initiatives, and why is it a more promising approach?
3 Process Redesign Techniques

Why is process design important? Why does it provide performance improvements undeliverable in other ways? What are the concepts underlying the new process designs in the readings? What are some other processes to which these concepts might apply? What assumptions have been broken in each of these situations? Which of these concepts would apply to the Bank of America case? What kinds of benefits can one hope to realize through process redesign?

4 Process Redesign Techniques (continued) Why is process design important? Why does it provide performance improvements undeliverable in other ways? What are the concepts underlying the new process designs in the readings? What are some other processes to which these concepts might apply? What assumptions have been broken in each of these situations? Which of these concepts would apply to the Bank of America case? What kinds of benefits can one hope to realize through process redesign?
5 Idea Marketplace

For the Idea Marketplace session, each person in the course should prepare one .ppt slide (font at least 24 point) on "what I would like to do a project on and/or what I wanted to learn at Sloan/MIT that I haven't learned yet." You will have about one minute/person to present that day.

One project option is to work with a former Sloan grad on supply chain issues for a well-funded startup to create a new mobile phone segment, for "fashion accessory phones."

6 Process Identification and Modeling What is notable, interesting, or exemplary about the Texas Instruments model? What principles does it embody?

Try to identify the major processes in your company; specify their inputs, outputs, interconnections, and metrics. Which are in greatest need of redesign?
7 Introduction to Clockspeed List ten industries with which you have some interest and/or familiarity in order of increasing clockspeed (by your own guestimation). For each see if you can name at least one measure for each of product technology clockspeed, process technology clockspeed, and organizational clockspeed.
8 Supply Chain Dynamics/3-DCE Based on your knowledge of each industry you listed in the exercise for Class 4, is there any evidence of a cycling between a vertical/integral structure and a horizontal/modular structure? List five organizational strategies for coping with increasing clockspeeds.
9 Clockspeed Concepts (continued)
10 Process Enterprises Why does process redesign lead to a new kind of organization?

In what ways must jobs, careers, compensation and reward, organizational structures and managerial roles change in order to support high-performance processes? What is difficult about making these changes? How can an organization go about doing so?
11 Leading Process Redesign Why is executive leadership a prerequisite for process redesign? Is it possible to get started without it? Who needs to fill the leadership role, and what precise responsibilities need to be discharged? Why do some companies and some leaders have difficulty with process redesign? What will it take to get them on board?
12 Process Redesign Methodology How would you go about determining which of your processes are in greatest need of redesign? How many should an organization redesign simultaneously?

What ought be the size and composition of a process redesign team? What is the role of the process owner in redesign? What does a redesign team need to know about a process before they can redesign it, and how should they go about obtaining that information?
13 Process Implementation What were the implementation strategies of the companies in the readings for turning a process design into reality? What are the key issues in implementation? What is particularly challenging about implementing new processes? How should an implementation effort be staffed, organized and managed?
14 Clockspeed Concepts (continued)
15 Strategic Positioning

American Connector's recent attempt to benchmark a Japanese competitor (DJC) reveals that it had been able to reduce its manufacturing costs dramatically over the previous six years, and suggests that it will perform even better in the next few. The case allows us to vividly contrast the different strategies of the two organizations as well as the different roles of the manufacturing organizations in each and the rates of learning that each has been able to achieve. This comparison will set the stage for further conversation about a capabilities-driven view of strategy as put forth in the article. Prepare to answer the following:

  1. How serious is the threat of DJC to American Connector Company?
  2. How big are the cost differences between DJC's plant and American Connector's Sunnyvale plant? Consider both DJC's performance in Kawasaki and its potential in the United States.
  3. What accounts for these differences? How much of the difference is inherent in the way each of the two companies compete? How much is due strictly to differences in the efficiency of the operations? Are there differences in the pattern of decisions by decision category?
  4. What should American Connector's management at the Sunnyvale plant do?
16 Operations Measurement & Improvement What role did the new information systems play in the Quality Management program initiated at Texas Eastman? What were the strengths and weaknesses in the existing financial reporting system prior to the introduction of the Daily Income Statement?

Do the operators in Briley's 3B cracking plant like the new Daily Income Report? Why/why not? Would you have expected Texas Eastman's accounting establishment to like the DIS? Why/why not? What recommendations do you have for TEX's president?
17 Operations Measurement & Improvement (continued) What are some examples from the case that illustrate conflicts between operational and financial measures? Given the extensive operational measurement system at ADI, do they even need financial measures for internal management purposes? Why or why not? What do you expect would be the impact of the TQM program on ADI's financial performance? Overall, what is your evaluation of ADI's system? Is this a company that we should consider as exemplary?
18 Supplier Relations

Prepare to answer the following questions for class:

  1. As Brian Davis, what recommendations would you make regarding the two-supplier proposal for the new back-end process tool?
  2. Which supplier(s) would you select?
  3. What problems is Intel likely to encounter in implementing your recommendation?
  4. What other changes in Intel's operations strategy would you recommend?
19 Capabilities Choice

What are your recommendations regarding the manufacturing of CRP-1 for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials? What are your recommendations regarding manufacturing for Phase III clinical trials and commercialization?

How would you justify your recommendation to would-be investors in the company?

What is your recommendation regarding Nucleon's long-term manufacturing strategy? What should this company look like in ten years (e.g. an R&D boutique with pilot scale-manufacturing capabilities, or an integral manufacturing enterprise)?

20 Product Process & Supply Chain Design

How does BMW define quality?

What are the causes and consequences of BMW's quality problems with newly launched products? What should be done to improve "launch quality"?

What are your recommendations to Carl-Peter Forester concerning the R-series prototypes? What should he do regarding future development projects?

What changes would you recommend in the way BMW develops new models? What attributes of newly launched products would you expect to improve as a result of these recommendations? Which attributes might deteriorate?

What recommendations would you make to Chairman von Kuenheim regarding BMW's strategy to compete against new Japanese entrants into the luxury car market?

21 Standardizing Operations

Globalization of operations is also an important change that managers have been experiencing in recent years. This class will specifically explore the management of process technology development for additional plants. One of the questions to be explored is how far a company should go in implementing "copy exactly"? The case focuses on the level of automation to be used in the production of a new system, and whether all plants should use the same process technology.

  1. What are the implications for both cost and flexibility of automation? Do you agree with the assertion made by one of the managers in the case: "If you automate, you stagnate?"
  2. What are your recommendations regarding the issue of standardizing process technology across all plants? Are there motives behind this proposal, other than those stated in the case?
  3. As Juergen Geissinger, how would you go about implementing your recommendation? How would you overcome resistance from the plants? As Steve Dickerson, the plant manager at Asheville, North Carolina, what line of reasoning would you use to convince senior management that full automation is the less desirable alternative?
  4. As Klaus Lederer, what option would you like to see pursued? How do various options fit into the broader corporate strategy of ITT Automotive?
  5. In general, when should "copy exactly" be used?
22 Capabilities Strategy

What is your evaluation of CIBA Vision's competitive position and its development capabilities as of August of 1992? What are the root causes of some of its recent problems?

Should CIBA Vision be pursuing the daily disposable project? If so, which approach should they take to development? Should they do the project in the United States or in Germany? Should they use an autonomous project team or the existing development organization? What would the optimal manufacturing strategy be for a daily disposable contact lens?

Which of the proposed approaches gives this particular project the best chance of succeeding? Which approach do you think will lead to the most beneficial long-term change in the company's capabilities?