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All Discussions and Answers

WEEK 1 DISCUSSION 1 Customer Service - Zappos" Please respond to the following: From the e-Activity, analyze the role that customer service plays and determine the service management skills at Zappos. Evaluate the different way(s) that Zappos creates a superior customer service. From the website’s design and easy usage, the large quantities of items for sale, the excellent customer service the average looking service management correlates into superior customer service skills. The CEO treats his staff with respect and this reflects on the way customer service is given to the customers. Customers enjoy free shipping and free returns from the purchase date year round. Customer service and service management is evaluated daily. CS reps are trained to compare competitor’s websites for customers if an item is out of stock. CS reps also offer rain checks on items out of stock.

COMMENT: Zappos has invested a lot of time and money to research customer needs and wants. Zappos decided to invest into customer service rather than costly marketing campaigns. They realized that the human touch could not be replaced through technology so they put their resources into developing superior customer service.

Choose at least two OM activities in Exhibit 1.1 from Chapter 1 of the text. Evaluate how each of the activities impacts the management of goods and services that Zappos provides. Include one to two examples from each activity to support your position.

Job/service encounter design: (Service employees need more behavioural and service management skills) All employees regardless of job title receives the same training. Customer service representatives are trained to deal with all sorts of customer encounters. Dealing with an irate customer requires customer service to remain calm and professional while still offering excellent customer service.

Technology: (service facilities tend to rely more on information based hardware and software) relies on technology. Warehouse, inventory, shipping information, online services have to be on one accord for the customer service team to provide customers with accurate information and excellent customer service.

WEEK 1 DISCUSSION 2 "Value Chains" Please respond to the following: Choose an example of a global value chain and an example of domestic value chain. Compare and contrast the key challenges that the managers would face. Then, propose the ways to confront these challenges.

A global value chain example is Procter & Gamble. Procter & Gamble market various products in many countries. Sensible by Nature is an example of a domestic value chain offering organic products made exclusively by the owner. Challenges managers would face in a global value chain are slower growth of industrialized countries, locating manufacture and distribution, and deciding if partnering with competitors to share knowledge of manufacturing, distribution, and engineering. Challenges managers would face in a domestic value chain are meeting the demand of the market, inventory monitoring, and purchasing components to make finished goods. It is important to selected vendors to supply the products when needed. It is also vital to have accurate pricing and backup vendors for the same product.

COMMENT: Domestic factories are capable of extremely fast lead times. Committed companies who will do whatever it takes to enable domestic manufacturing see the impact in the supply chain in their bottom line. A sophisticated supply chain and operations planning process helps to enact domestic production.

Utilizing the Exhibit 2.4 from Chapter 2 of the text, evaluate how each value chain you chose from Part 1 of this discussion can be described from a pre- and post-production service perspective. Provide at least two examples for each perspective.

Procter and Gamble make the product called Tide Pods. This product was innovated from other products made by tide. Innovations of a new products are made from redesigned products involving packaging designs, marketing, quantities and sizes are all pre-production services. Inventory maintenance, product warranties, package recycling are post-production services. Offering additional services and guaranteeing products and services are also postproduction services.

WEEK 2 DISCUSSION 1 Choose two models of organizational performance and compare and contrast them by evaluating their differences and similarities. The value chain model and the service profit chain are two models of organizational behavior. Both the value chain and the service profit chain evaluate customer satisfaction and services. But the difference between the two chain models is the service profit chain is used mainly for the service industry while the value chain model can be used for a vast area and not restricted to the service industry.

From the first e-Activity, suggest ways performance measurements might be used by a company or an organization to evaluate its customer satisfaction. Evaluating performance can show organizations where improvements are needed. Evaluation of employee satisfaction and retention can provide better customer service. Quality and satisfaction should be provided within each sector of the business including manufacturing services, distribution services, and financial services.

From the second e-Activity, provide at least two examples of quality indicators that the company may opt to measure and defend its cause-and-effect linkage between the key measures of performance. Patient Safety and Prevention Quality Indicators are two indicators a healthcare facility may use to measure and defend its cause and effect linkage between key measures of performance. Indicators can be used to forecast potential complications after procedures and for research studies later. These indicators can serve as guidelines for improvements.

COMMENT: Measuring customer satisfaction can determine if the customer is loyal and will continue to choose your brand. Understanding the expectations and needs of customers helps in developing company standards. Those loyal customers recommend your brand to family and friends. Positive evaluations result in greater customer satisfaction.

WEEK 2 DISCUSSION 2 "Operations Strategy" Please respond to the following:

Choose two service companies that you are familiar with such as Facebook, eBay, and

UPS, and apply them to Hill’s Strategy Development Framework. Note: Refer to

Chapter 4 of the text for information on Hill’s Strategy Development Framework. Both UPS and Facebook expanded their brand’s image through quality and recognition by using the marketing strategy. The development strategy was applied both companies. Both companies developed and approached new opportunities through existing or new organizations.

For each company you chose in Part 1 of this discussion, compare and contrast each sector of the framework and determine which key area(s) provides a competitive advantage. Provide at least two examples to support your position.

Facebook provides a competitive advantage utilizing a superb marketing strategy. Companies pay Facebook to advertise on the social network. Small businesses can also advertise using the social network keeping their marketing costs low.

UPS and USPS have teamed-up to become the largest delivery company by using the operations strategy. UPS is the leader in logistics and mail delivery worldwide. Their dependable service has lead them to be the top choice for delivery services. UPS’s reliable service also gives their customers a competitive advantage.

WEEK 3 DISCUSSION 1 "Business Analytics" Please respond to the following:

Examine the role of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Determine how each system can play a critical role in managing value chains. Examining the role of Enterprise Resource Planning shows that ERP plays a vital role in managing value chains by integrating information for all departments into a shareable database for improved communication. A business strategy such as Customer Relationship Management is used to adapt to forever changing customers’ wants and needs. This strategy assists in building customer relationships resulting in increased revenues and profits for the company. CRM can track competitors, effectiveness of the company’s advertisement and sales, and provide feedback.

Provide an example from an industry where analytics is used today either through ERP or through CRM, and determine the ways this technology has helped to deliver quality to the customer. The ERP system called CMsi5 used by UPS providing solutions to manufacturers and distributors operating in the environments of supply and manufacturing. Customer expectations are high. UPS’s CMSi5 system provides customers with the ability to track packages, look-up shipment rates, transit dates and times.

Assess the challenges that companies might face when trying to implement these types of technologies. Challenges companies may face when trying to implement types of technologies are less human customer service, higher employee skill levels, training employees on new technology, customer privacy, and decreased creativity from employees.

WEEK 3 DISCUSSION 2 "RFID Technology" Please respond to the following: From the e-Activity, evaluate the use and applicability of Radio Frequency Identification Devises (RFID) in industry today. Choose a company and provide at least two examples of how these devices can be used to improve productivity in its operations. The use and applicability of RFIDs in the pharmaceutical industry are used to preserve pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceutical drug companies utilize RFIDs for managing of logistic issues. The use of RFIDs also track shipment of products from location to location. Improved productivity reduces waste and costs.

From the case study, assess the benefits and risks associated with this type of technology that should be considered by Mr. Bracket. Identify at least two possible risks that the company might face and suggest ways to mitigate them. From the case study, the benefits of RFID technology is reduced time in scanning products and misreads. Mr. Bracket will also benefit from less frequent audits, quickly locating inventory of products, and lost or stolen products. From the case study Mr. Bracket the risks associated with this technology reduced creativity from employees and implementation of the barcode scan to RFID Two possible risks the company might face are the integration of the bar code scanning to the RFID technology, and less opportunity for employee creativity and empowerment.

WEEK 4 DISCUSSION 1 "Goods and Service Design" Please respond to the following: From the e-Activity, examine some of the steps that are involved in designing goods and services. Select two services or two products that are currently on the market. Use Exhibit 6.1 from Chapter 6 of the text to compare and contrast each step, and determine the similarities and areas where they differ.

From the e-Activity, suggest at least two changes to specific areas of the process design phase that may lead to improvement in operations. Provide a rationale to support your suggestion.

The design of a good or service remains crucial in facilitating the level of viability of the asset in the market by customer needs and demands. Several steps are involved in the design of goods and services. The steps include planning that involves the generation of the design strategy, concept development that involves the analysis of the target market. Testing screening includes the introduction of the product to the market, which remains crucial in analysing the reception of the product. Business analytics identifies the fourth stage, and it involves monitoring the level of product efficiency in the market. Product development proceeds with the elaboration of the product as influenced by the derived market feedback. The product launch and commercialization process that facilitates the penetration of the product in the market follows the process. The maintenance of flexibility in the process will create room for improvements and changes as stipulated by the level of reception experienced in the market.

WEEK 4 DISCUSSION 2 "Service Positioning versus Product Process" Please respond to the following: Compare and contrast the service positioning matrix and the product process matrix in terms of their differences and similarities.

Provide at least one example currently used in business for each of the matrixes and evaluate their benefits and limitations within the industry you chose.

Evaluate how each matrix is unique in the way it addresses the needs of the customer.

The service-positioning matrix facilitates the provision of an explanation of new services and processes to customers and investors in the market. The process facilitates the definition of the market concerning the product and service to be presented. Service organizations place emphasis on service system design necessary in facilitating the delivery of the service to customers in the market. The service-positioning matrix remains prominent in the service industry as it facilitates destination positioning. The product-process matrix promotes the development of an analysis of the existent relationship between the product and technological life cycle of a product. The process facilitates the development of a link between the manufacturing and strategic options of the company.

WEEK 5 Discusssion 1 "Fast Food Franchise" Please respond to the following: Choose two fast food franchises, such as McDonalds and Burger King, and examine their facility layouts. Compare and contrast both food franchises, and discuss the differences in their layouts. Evaluate how each of the layouts enhance or hinder productivity and the customer experience. Support your answer. The facility layouts of McDonalds and Chipotle fast food franchises are considered to be efficient. McDonalds is continually upgrading its locations with modernized accommodation for the people. However, the kitchen improvements are not as effective as those of Chipotle. Unlike McDonalds, Chipotle serves its customers with fresh food which is efficiently prepared at the time of order. Chipotle’s kitchen area is organized and the staff have their own working area while at McDonalds the staff move anyhow. Chipotle’s facility layout enhances productivity as the customers are free to select their menu and food is prepared the way they want. The workers concentrate on the customers and are able to manage their inventory. On the other hand, McDonalds’ lack of organization has led to low productivity. Additionally, it is hard for them to efficiently prepare fresh food and special orders.

WEEK 5 Discussion 2 "Evaluating Supply Chain Performance" Please respond to the following: From the e-Activity, choose a company that sells a service or a product. Evaluate its supply chain performance effectiveness in terms of responsiveness, technology, and customer-related measures.

Determine at least three areas of effectiveness and three areas of deficiencies that can impact the competitive position of the company you chose in Part 1 of this discussion. Suggest ways the deficiencies can be improved. Provide at least two examples to support your answer.

IKEA Company uses a JIT technology to make sure that it has the required number of colors and models. Also, the performance of the company is measured by having 95 percent of the products in the warehouse. For this reason, the company has built distribution centres in different regions to fill the warehouses. The Company uses RFID to ensure the sold out items are restocked immediately. In the Company, areas of deficiencies are shortage of items, computer hacking and the slowdowns in the supply chain. Similarly, the three areas of effectiveness are sustainability, structural developments, and distribution process. The Company can improve by manufacturing its products locally to reduce the cost and the distance of the international shipping. Moreover, it should develop a secured identification to protect its Info System.

WEEK 6 Discussion 1 "David Christopher and Orthopedic Surgeon" Please respond to the following: From the first case study, evaluate the medical practice and suggest at least two options (not discussed in the case) to maximize patient throughput and revenues without compromising the quality of medical care. Support your suggestion.

Speculate how you would apply the theory of constraints to this medical practice.

Explain your position and support your answer.

The first option in maximizing the patients’ throughput, as well as, revenues is ingrained in outsourcing the hospital’s management of some certain services. The Orthopaedic surgery clinic can form partnerships with other entities for particular services e.g. the provision of food and also laundry services. They can thereafter share in the savings made. The second option lies in the addition of other profitable lines of service provision to the orthopaedic clinic. For instance, the hospital may benefit from the addition of a hyperbaric line of service since few hospitals are known to offer the service.

WEEK 6 Discussion 2 "BankUSA" Please respond to the following: From the second case study, determine the challenges faced by the Help Desk at BankUSA and suggest strategies to mitigate them.

Using the data on call volume in the case, select a forecasting model to forecast the short-term demand. Justify why this model was selected over other forecasting models. Support your position.

Working in a call center, in most cases, can be entirely stressful particularly when the operator is required to keep the calls within a specific timeframe. When clients call for help from the help desk, the time taken can be longer than expected depending on the customer’s mood and the reason for calling. To mitigate this, making sure that the representatives are knowledgeable and well-trained about the BankUSA is imperative. On the other hand, I would go for the Statistical Forecasting Model since the methods applied in the model above can sufficiently be grouped as time series thus extrapolating the historical data available.

WEEK 7 Discussion 1 "Management of Inventories" Please respond to the following: From the first e-Activity, examine the best practices found in the video on inventory management.

From the second e-Activity, choose two service companies that manage inventory and compare and contrast their inventory management systems.

Based on your evaluation of both inventory management systems from Part 2 of this discussion, propose suggestions to management that would ultimately lead to improve operations.

Adopting the most appropriate practices in inventory control is essential for the business to survive in tough financial conditions. Some of the best practices that will assist organizations to be more efficient and productive include cycle counting, quality control, and stock control. Two firms that depend on inventory management include McDonalds and the Holiday Inn. McDonalds’ inventory comprises of drinks and food to secure the best products and services for the customers. The Holiday Inn, on the other hand, contains inventory in the form of beverage, food, and hotel rooms required in the hotel. For the management to improve its operations, they need to focus on order management, vendor accountability, and performance.

WEEK 7 Discussion 2 "Resource Management" Please respond to the following: Select a goods-producing organization and a service-providing organization of your choice. Suggest ways each organization can make aggregate planning decisions using the variables described in Exhibit 13.3 (Chapter 13).

Compare and contrast the operational and managerial impacts of the aggregate planning decisions in terms of customer satisfaction

An airline call center serves as a service industry with varying levels of demand such as major holidays and summer vacations. The demand can also be affected by poor weather resulting in rescheduling options and changes in the staff capacity. Also, during the peak period, an inadequacy in the available equipment may arise. A chase strategy will help reducing costs when the management changes the services and workforce levels. However, the radical transformations may dampen the morale of the employees and the customer service. A good-producing firm such as Adidas that deals with sports merchandise encounters issues in promotion timing, pricing initiatives, and inventory control. The aspects are essential variables for aggregate planning and they affect the satisfaction of the consumers.

WEEK 8 DISCUSSION 1 "Evaluate an Experience"

Please respond to the following: Analyze the importance of production planning and scheduling within an organization. Evaluate a bad experience you have had with an appointment from both perspectives of the customer (you) and the organization due to inefficient planning and scheduling.

Analyze the experience you provided in Part 1 of this discussion from a technical perspective and an intangible perspective. Suggest ways the schedules could have been created more efficient and effective.

An organization increases its production upon having an effective planning and scheduling of its operations. Further, the organization can find solutions to the uncertainties that may occur during the production process, for example, a fall in sales may prompt the organization to strategize on how to reach the market using a different channel. I encountered a challenge as a customer. The product that I received was substandard. It was not properly packaged. The organization had not done appropriate planning to ensure that they have sufficient time to check on the final product. As an organization, we lost many products because our competitor had already done its supplies hence all the stores had already been filled.

The appropriate schedule should have been done, for example, the organization should have planned on how its suppliers would receive their products. This would have created a smooth supply to the retailers and creating a wider market share for the organization.

WEEK 8 DISCUSSION 2 "Balloons Aloha"

Please respond to the following: From the case study, suggest short-term recommendations for the set of six jobs at the company. Support your recommendations.

From the case study, evaluate the efficiency of Balloons Aloha’s sequencing system.

Provide long-term recommendations with respect to sequencing jobs at the company. Support your recommendations.

It is paramount to increase the number of employees. This will help increase production. Another helium tank is recommended. This will ensure that more balloons would be fill and would meet the time set for delivery

It is significant for the management to stick to one sequencing. Ideally, this will ensure that the company can monitor the results of each tank and the number of balloons required to fill one tank. Additionally, the organization should adopt a standard sequence that would provide information about the customers expected.

WEEK 9 DISCUSSION 1 "Cost of Quality"

Please respond to the following: Select two fast food restaurants and evaluate them in terms of service quality. Suggest ways to improve the service quality. Evaluate the two fast-food restaurants you selected in Part 1 of this discussion in terms of the “Seven QC tools”. Determine the top three QC tools that tend to be most valuable to business owners. Explain your rationale.

The two examples of fast food restaurants encompass the Kentucky Fried Chicken otherwise known as KFC and McDonald’s. The primary way of improving the service they offer is by ensuring that the establishment is clean both on the inside and outside. The other way is by offering quality services and products just in the same manner that they have advertised. On the first account of the seven tools of quality, the check sheet seems to be a preferred mechanism by the fast food restaurants as they use it in their collection and analysis of data. The second is stratification where data regarding their performance is gathered from different segments of the market. The last QC tool is the cause and effect diagram.

WEEK 9 DISCUSSION 2 "Quality Control Systems"

Please respond to the following: Compare and contrast ISO900:2000 and Six Sigma in terms of their differences and similarities. Select one organization that has achieved Six Sigma certification. Then, discuss the benefits and results that the organization has achieved as a result of following the quality standards inherent in Six Sigma certification. Explain how these standards help this organization pursue continuous improvement.

A similarity between Six Sigma and ISO 9001 is their cycle of improvement i.e. the two systems are comprised of a methodology of utilizing a cycle for improving, optimizing and stabilizing their business processes. On the other hand, a significant difference between the two is their scope. The ISO 9001 is globally recognized while the Six Sigma is just comprised of different methodologies and tools used in the improvement of business processes. Ford Motor Company has attained the Six Sigma Certification. The company has particularly benefited from the concept as a result of the acceptance that its products have received consequently boosting the company sales and proceeds.

WEEK 10 DISCUSSION 1 "Lean Operating Systems" Please respond to the following: From the first e-Activity, examine at least three different types of waste that can be found in an organization of your choice. Suggest the lean strategies to confront them. From the second e-Activity, compare and contrast the lean service system found with Southwest Airlines to a full-service airline such as United Airlines, British Airways, and other large carriers in terms of cabin service, boarding process, baggage handling, and service encounters.

Recommend ways for the airline carriers to improve their lean operation system in terms of speed and quality while reducing waste and costs. Explain your rationale. The lean types of wastes that can be found within an entity encompass over-production, motion, and defects. Various strategies should be undertaken so that these wastes from organizations are entirely eliminated. For motion, everything that has an association with the concept should be analyzed for purposes of doing the necessary improvements. For over production, combining the productive steps should be made to eliminate inappropriate and unwanted processes. Lastly, the airline carriers can invest in smaller and also more flexible equipment that would make them cut their extensive costs.

WEEK 10 DISCUSSION 2 "Project Management" Please respond to the following: From the third e-Activity, provide at least two examples of companies that have used project management techniques such as CPM or PERT. Evaluate their success in operations.

Determine at least two factors that impact the quality of project management. Suggest ways these factors can be mitigated without affecting project operations. Examples of companies that have incorporated the concepts of PERT/ CPM include Microsoft and McDonalds. The system has enabled them to gain a comparatively tighter control over the actual costs of the projects that they undertake. The first-factor impacting project management quality is the people or personnel who undertake the project. Of interest here are their efficiency, dedication, and their turnover rate. The other factor is the organizational structure that substantially influences the costs to be incurred and the project’s duration. To mitigate the issue of personnel, it would be imperative to check the compatibility of their skills with the project’s requirements. For organizational structure, using only the tried and tested measures for saving costs and time would be appropriate.

WEEK 11 DISCUSSION 1 "Operations Management Applications"

Evaluate different operations management principles and techniques that can make businesses more profitable today.

Select one service company of your choice and discuss at least three operations management challenges the company is facing.

Suggest ways to confront the challenges and provide suggestions that can untimely improve sustainability in its value chain.

My business would be to start mobile-payment services. This business has done very well in developing countries, and it can be transferred to work successfully here. Other companies such as Apple have noticed its viability and rolled out services of their own such as the Apple Pay.

The primary challenge will be to attract new customers who are used to credit cards and other online payment services such as PayPal. Therefore, I would develop a marketing strategy that would endear the market to the service by highlighting its convenience and affordability.

WEEK 11 DISCUSSION 2 "The Value Chain Concept" Please respond to the following:

Describe a customer experience you have personally encountered where the goods or service or both were unsatisfactory (such as defective products, mistakes, poor service, and so on).

Suggest ways for the organization to improve its goods / service. Determine the element(s) of operations management that must be reevaluated.

I once purchased a hoover board from an online store and soon customers of that particular product raised complaints that the product was defective i.e. it exploded when being charged.

Out of curiosity, I decided to charge mine and yes it did explode.

To reduce the chances of defective products, a product should undergo rigorous development to ensure mistakes are identified and rectified. An organization should conduct extensive research into the product, provide samples to customers and get feedback before officially releasing it into the market. The product leaving the organization’s production line should also be be subject to quality assurance and standardization. Products should be individually inspected to ensure that a defective product does not leave the organization for the market.

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