Faculty and Staff Home Pages

MBA 518
Albers School of Business and Economics
Operations Management
Fall 1999
Greg Magnan, Ph.D. ([email protected])
Web page: http://fac-staff.seattleu.edu/gmagnan/
Pigott 426 / phone: 206.296.6466 / fax: 206.296.2083
4:30 – 5:30 W (Bellevue) and by appointment
9:30 – 12:15 (P101)
MATERIALS: (1) Operations Management for MBAs, by Meredith & Schafer, 1999,
(2) CoursePack (available at CopyMart, 206.325.5900)
(3) Cases/Readings from SU Bookstore (required).
(4) The Goal, by Eli Goldratt, 2nd Revised Edition, 1992, North River
In the core of the MBA, we intend to help you think like
a general manager and understand how management
decisions affect the overall performance of a firm.
Course Description
Operations management (OM) generally refers to the management of the processes that
efficiently and effectively transform resources into goods (e.g., airplanes, ultrasound equipment)
and services (e.g., health care, rental cars) desired by customers. These goods and services have
characteristics that distinguish them in the marketplace, such as high quality, low cost, or rapid
delivery. In most instances, the operations area dramatically influences how well a firm meets
the expectations of customers, and therefore has a significant impact on overall company
OM is an extremely broad discipline, encompassing a variety of topics including system &
process design, operations strategy, quality management, cycle-time reduction, productivity,
production/workforce planning, scheduling, work design, inventory management, purchasing &
supply management, facility location and layout, and lean manufacturing/JIT. Perhaps the most
important contribution of the operations function is that of increasing a firm’s competitiveness
through superior customer satisfaction, whether the customer is the end user (external customer)
or the next process (internal customer). Managing the above issues across the globe increases the
complexity as distances and supply chains complicate the efficient movement of goods and
effective communication.
Given the broad nature of operations management and that all organizations in the world offer a
product or service (and therefore have “operations”), there are many opportunities to highlight
the manner in which operations management interfaces with other company disciplines. During
this course, we will see examples of integration between operations the other courses in the MBA
core—finance (e.g., evaluating operations investment decisions), marketing/sales (e.g., providing
customers what they want when they want it), and management (e.g., how people and processes
are managed.) In addition, we will explore ways in which the functions of accounting (e.g.,
measuring “efficiency” and inventory), engineering (e.g., how products interact with processes
and the environment) can impact the operations system. MBA 518 is designed to help students
understand how the operations function—in both manufacturing and service industries—works
with other functions to provide superior products and services to its customers.
Successful companies demonstrate that world-class performance is achieved through crossfunctional approaches. A recurring theme throughout this course will be the interaction between
the operations function and the engineering, finance, accounting, management, information
systems, and marketing functions as business problems arise and solutions are identified.
Through cases, this course will highlight the relationships between the operations and other
functions by analyzing their interactions within the global business environment. Each case has
an international setting and provides an opportunity to analyze critically how decisions in one
function in one country can affect the other functions and, ultimately, the success of the firm.
Finally, we will discuss many of the issues associated with managing the people in an operations
group (where most of the employees are located.)
Another objective is to introduce students to the tools and techniques of OM, many of which
apply to all functions of a business (as well as the processes within those functions.) As firms
seek to identify and improve core processes, the operations tools associated with improvements
in quality, time/speed, and productivity can (and should) be applied to all facets of an organization. Staffing levels, capacity, facility layout and location, process flow analysis, quality
improvement, and cycle time reduction are examples of topics in which the analytical tools can
be applied to other functional areas.
Given structural changes in competition, one of the most important skills for managers and
workers is the ability to communicate. This course will give students additional communications
exposure through presentations, working with colleagues, and working on writing skills. In
achieving these objectives, several other competencies will be addressed, including:
Critical and analytical reasoning: Cases and outside readings will emphasize the
interrelatedness of functions, requiring students to determine and consider the effects of
actions in one department on results in another and on the firm overall.
Customer focus: Since operations involves the management of processes, and customers usually
appear at the end of processes, an understanding of customer requirements is critical to
effective management.
Effective writing and presentation skills: Case write-ups and papers will challenge students to
write concisely, while the final project involves an oral presentation requiring the use of
presentation software.
Values/Ethics/Environmental awareness: Given that the majority of a firm’s assets reside in
operations, the deployment of these assets effects many dimensions. Understanding the
relationship between the operations function and the environment in which it operates is
critical. Invariably people work in the function and their interaction with operations
system must be considered in the design and operations of that system.
Interpersonal skills: Through group projects outside of class and in-class discussion, students
will have many opportunities to practice their listening skills. One of the great benefits of
an evening program is the diverse background of the students and interpersonal skills will
serve to better understand the views of different students.
Integration of business functions: This course is constructed around integrating business
functions. Every concept presented will involve discussion of its impact on the firm and
other functions. Cases and articles will be used to highlight interdependencies.
Quantitative skills: Several operations concepts involve numerical evaluation (e.g., capacity
planning, statistical process control, location decisions). These topics appear in cases and
the analyses may require utilizing quantitative skills to provide input for the critical and
analytical reasoning mentioned above.
Teaching Method
This class will incorporate a collection of lectures, cases, text readings, in-class simulations, and
articles from academic and business periodicals to promote operations and cross-functional
learning. I believe that use of these different tools will satisfy a wider variety of learning styles
and to keep long class sessions interesting. In-class discussions are a major component of
learning in this course.
Course Requirements
First, I would like to mention the quality of this course is largely a function of the involvement of
you, the student/customer (as is the case in most service encounters!) To that end, the bulk of
responsibility for learning is yours—keeping current with the reading and participating in case
and class discussions are critical to a successful course.
1. PLANT TOUR PRESENTATION / WRITE-UP: The purpose of the tour is to merge theory
with reality by exposing students to the operations of actual firms. Students will be placed into
teams of 3-4 (or students will construct their own teams) and each team will arrange a tour of the
operations function of a local manufacturing or service company that is involved in international
trade. Each team will analyze the practices and policies the firm employs within the operations
function. These practices can include the plant layout, the use of quality tools, materials flow,
planning, the role of inventory in the supply chain, people, etc. Addressing how the firm handles
these issues in light of their business environment is required.
Teams can approach this requirement in two ways. The first is to analyze a firm’s operations
from a broad, systems perspective. The focus in this analysis is to identify how the individual
elements of operations work together to provide support to the international business strategy.
The second approach is to focus on a limited set of elements/processes (one or two) such as how
inventory is managed, how orders are conveyed from sales to the planning system to the floor, or
perhaps how a centralized planning system orders materials for plants in different countries.
Teams can deliver their projects in one of two ways—either through an in-class presentation or a
20 (maximum!) page paper. Team choosing to present their findings will do so during the final
two class sessions. Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes in length (NOTE: due the
extreme importance of managing time during these sessions, a five-point per minute
penalty will be assessed to presentations longer than 20 minutes.) Presentations will be
graded on content, organization, clarity, creativity, and level of interest. Teams must use a
professional presentation software package and are encouraged to use one compatible with the
ASBE offerings so the multimedia cart can be used (Microsoft Powerpoint.) Please review the
project evaluation sheet appearing (forthcoming) for specific areas to be evaluated.
Teams presenting must submit a copy of the slides used in the presentation before the
presentation begins. Teams choosing to write their findings/analysis must submit their reports on
or before the finals week class meeting (see schedule). Papers should be no longer than 20
double-spaced pages (charts and diagrams may be included as an appendix). Presentations and
papers should focus on observations of how the company applies the concepts discussed in class
to support their business strategy..
Each team must select their own firm to visit. Please notify the instructor of your team’s choice
by the end of October so that duplicates can be avoided. Please keep in mind that, in addition to
the larger local companies, there are numerous smaller firms that can be visited. However,
companies with less than 20 employees should be avoided. Finally, please recognize that your
role is not to prepare a marketing presentation of the merits of the firm you visit. Instead, your
role is one of an analyst of the operations organization. Determining recommendations based on
the analysis is encouraged
2. EXAMS: A midterm and a final exam will be given. The exams will be “take-home” and
will consist of about 5 multiple choice questions (both conceptual and analytical) and about 8
short essay questions. The exams are due 2 weeks after they are handed out. The midterm will
be due October 30, 1999 and the final is due December 11, 1999. Make-up exams are not given.
3. PARTICIPATION: On time attendance and participation in class discussions are
mandatory. Strive to be prepared and concise (i.e., get to-the-point and avoid rambling in your
remarks.) Quantity of quality contributions to case discussions in class will count 15% of your
grade and will be evaluated by a combination of the instructors’ judgment and the rankings of
your peers at the end of the quarter.
At the end of the quarter, you will be asked to “identify the 5-7 students from which you learned
the most in class discussions.” These will be tallied and serve as the basis for determining your
attendance and participation score. It should be mentioned that participation does not translate
into volume! Please be courteous of others at all times and be cognizant of the limited
4. CASES: You are required to turn in a total of two written case analyses. Each is to be
double-spaced, no longer than four pages, word processed (no 10-point fonts, please), and
should attach (at the back) a copy of the scoring sheet appearing at the end of the syllabus. Cases
are due the day the case is to be discussed. At least one of the cases must be done individually.
Group efforts: hand in one case and all contributors will receive the same score for that case. For
the remaining cases, participation in discussions is still required. If necessary, this requirement
will be upgraded to asking each student to submit a 1-page summary of all cases (in addition to
the two required.
Required Format:
Please analyze and write-up cases using the structure outlined below. Respond as if you
are an outside consultant to the case principals. As such, place more emphasis on problem
identification and solution implementation/action plans than on an overview of issues. Section
headings are a must in your analyses (use those in bold below.)
1. Executive Summary: One paragraph summary of key issues and recommendations.
This should be a one or two (maximum) paragraph summary that can “stand apart”
from the rest of the analysis.
2. Organizational Profile/Overview: Brief discussion of material relevant to the
analysis, such as product/services offered, competitive priorities, industry trends, etc.
3. Critical Issue(s): Identification of the major problems and issues present in the case.
4. Alternatives: Identify the feasible solutions or alternatives available to the principals.
Include some evaluation or discussion of strengths and weaknesses of each alternative
(bullet format is just fine.)
5. Recommendation: Selection of preferred actions with justification. Be sure to
address potential negative consequences.
6. Action Items: Short list of prioritized action items for principals. If appropriate,
break list into short- and long-term.
Note: In some cases, you may prefer to group issue/alternative/recommendation rather
than repeating items. This, too, is just fine.
Cases are due the day we will discuss them. Late papers will not be accepted.
While written work must be completed individually, you are encouraged to discuss
issues in the case with your colleagues.
Plagiarism: When you put your name on the written case analysis, you are stating that the
writing is your own and not from another student, author, etc. Plagiarism is a serious academic
offense at the Albers School and is grounds for dismissal from the program.
For persons whose skills in written English are anything less than superb, a copy of Elements of
Style by Strunk and White will be useful. “How” (i.e., writing style) you say something is
equally as important as “what” (i.e., content) you have to offer. If you are an international
student who has difficulty with English grammar, you are urged to contact the SU Writing Center
(296-6239) and make an appointment well in advance of the due date of the paper.
“THE GOAL” REPORT: Each student will submit a short analysis of The Goal. The
analysis should center on your opinion of what “the goal” is (1 to 2 pages) and, more important,
how the concepts might be applied in your firm, division, department, or group. You are
encouraged to identify how Goldratt's measures (T, OE, and I) would apply to the scenario you
select. The write-up should be no longer than three double-spaced pages and is due November
13, 1999.
A straight grading scale will be used to determine final grades (A = 95-100, A- = 90-94, B+ = 8789, B = 83-86, B- = 80-82, C+ = 79-77, etc.) Course requirements are assigned the following
Plant Tour Pres. or Paper:
Case Write-ups (2):
Final exam:
Midterm exam:
“The Goal” Report
Feedback Team
A 2-person feedback team will be created on the first evening whose function is to serve as a
liaison between the class and the instructor. The team will communicate class perception on
issues such as the learning instruments applied, class pace, session clarity, workload, etc. to the
instructor. The team will meet with the class to gather feedback and suggestions/solutions to
perceived problems and then reports back to the instructor with the data collected. The team is
voluntary and will meet once or twice during the quarter. Please note that the formation of this
committee does not mean that individual office appointments should not be made. On the
contrary, I still encourage you to seek assistance or provide input.
Cls. Date
[auth. (yr)]
Case or
Module 1: Strategic Global Operations
9-25 Syllabus
• Review
Introduction to • Competitiveness
• Services
10-2 World Class
Product &
• Comp. Priorities
• OS Elements
• Product Design for
Global Dist.
• Social Responsib.
• Process Types
• World Class Mfg.
Dell & Magretta (98)*
McGuire (99)
Bodenstab (99)
Simison (99)
Soopers Video
Module 2: Producing Quality Goods & Services
10-9 Quality
10- Global Issues
16 in Service
• Mfg. Differences
• Blueprints
• Service Quality
7-Tools of quality
Workplace Safety
Adler (93)
Lin & Hidalgo (99)
Chase & Stewart (94)
Petzinger (98)
Keltner, et al. (99)
Collier (99)
Module 3: Operations & Finance/Accounting Interface
• Functions of Inv.,
Forms, and COSTS
• Independent Dem.
Global Supply • Continuous
Chain Mgt.
• Periodic Systems
• Service Levels
10- Inventory
23 Management
10- Global Supply • Analysis
30 Chain Mgt.
• Strategic Influences
• Purchasing
Location &
• Logistics
• Take-home
Midterm due
Holmstrom (97)
Mitro (98)
Levy (97)
Quick (99)
Walker (98)
Fung & Magretta (98)*
Fisher, et al. (94)*
Ferdows (97)* [skim]
Module 4: Operations & Marketing Interface
11-6 Lean
• Strategic Elements
• Decision Factors
11- Planning
13 Issues
11- Project Day
12-4 Presentations
12- Presentations
Aggregate Planning
Dependent Demand
Enterprise Systems
“The Goal” report
Womack & Jones (96)
Spear & Bowen (99)
Brander (98)
Olinger (98)
Kirkpatrick (98)
Minahan (98)
Upton-Plant Tour (97)*
• Presentations
• Take-home Final
* indicates articles were part of casepack purchased at SU Bookstore
(not a case!)
Operations Management, Fall 1999
Directions: Please copy this form and staple it to the front of your submitted case.
Case Name
Student Name
- Statement of business problem or challenge
- Evaluation of Proposed Actions (are they
useful, well thought-out, and practical?)
- Balanced Presentation (pros and cons are
adequately represented, awareness of downside
risks displayed)
- Persuasiveness of supporting arguments
- Creativity of ideas, suggested courses of action
62-65 = “Superior,” stands out from rest
59-61 = “Very Good,” above grad. average
52-58 = “Good”, expected grad-level work
51 or below = “Needs Work”
- Organization (ideas flow logically and smoothly)
- Clarity and conciseness of writing style
- Use of subheadings, where appropriate, for
organizational clarity
- Grammar & Spelling
- Use of examples, where appropriate, to
clarify ideas
- Interest Level
34-35 = “Superior,” stands out from rest
31-33 = “Very Good,” above grad. average
28-30 = “Good,” expected grad-level work
27 or below = Needs Work
Case Total Score = __________________
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