Tagged: bus100

Operations management


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Operations management looks at the processes businesses use to turn raw materials into finished products. Noam Shiber published a provocative article in The New Republic recently suggesting that the decline of American manufacturing is due in large part to the decline of operations management in the business school curriculum. Instead of studying how to make things, a large majority (~67%) of students at top MBA programs major in finance. As a result, business schools largely teach finance, and in many programs it isn’t even possible to major in operations.

In a similar vein, Gary Pisano at the Harvard Business Review notes that the trend of outsourcing production may weaken the ability of American companies to invent new products. When we design products here and have them manufactured overseas, those foreign companies gain an edge in learning how to manufacture efficiently, and once they know how to make our products, “they are in a much better position to move up the food chain into manufacturing and designing more sophisticated components and subsystems and, eventually, the entire product.”

What happens when we have a generation of managers who think of companies as assets to be bought and sold rather than as “makers of specific products, where the goal was to maximize quality and long-term market share”?

The field of operations management studies how a business produces its products. Remember that products include both goods and services, so that even though we tend to focus on production of goods when we discuss operations management, the same principles apply to producing services. Operations management is concerned with deciding on a production method, whether mass production, mass customization, or make to order production.

In addition, operations managers must decide on where to locate and design the layout of production facilities. Think about why Mercedes chose to locate in Vance. What advantages in terms of climate, transportation, and land and labor costs does that site provide? Would the same site be a good location for a Google data center or a Best Buy? Would The Dallas, Oregon, be a good site for a Mercedes plant?

One of the most important functions of operations management is quality management. Traditionally, firms used quality control to ensure that their products were not defective by inspecting finished goods. The problem with this method is that once the problem is found, it’s too late—you’ve already produced a defective product. QC treats the symptoms and not the causes. Since the 1950s, we’ve seen the rise of quality assurance, most notably in the form of Total Quality Management. The idea behind TQM is to make sure that the production process prevents defects from occurring in the first place. TQM seeks to constantly improve customer satisfaction by involving all employees in producing quality products, and by constantly measuring, analyzing, and controlling the production process to improve the level of quality. Because of this focus on continuous improvement, many people refer to total quality management as CQI, or continuous quality improvement. More recently, Six Sigma has taken the idea of continuous quality improvement and used statistical process control to reduce variability and keep defects below 3.4 per million (six standard deviations from the mean).

Weekly round-up, Sept. 14


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Here’s what we’ll be doing in class this week:

  • In BUS 100-01, we’ll discuss business communication on Tuesday and start business formation on Thursday.
  • In BUS 100-80,  we’ll discuss business law.
  • In BUS 263-01, we’ll review for the first test on Tuesday and take the test on Thursday.
  • In BUS 263-80, we’ll discuss business and constitutional law.
  • In PRL 101, discuss court systems and alternative dispute resolution on Tuesday and review for the first test on Thursday.

Weekly Round-Up


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Hi everyone. Hope you’re having a good holiday weekend. Here’s what we’ll be doing in class when we return:

  • In BUS 100-01, we’ll be discussing business law on Tuesday and Thursday. (Appendix 2 isn’t in your textbook, so click the link to download the pdf)
  • In BUS 100-80, we’ll discuss business ethics and social responsibility.
  • In BUS 263-01, we’ll look at constitutional law on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • In BUS 263-80, discuss business ethics.
  • In PRL 101, the final version of brief 1 is due on Tuesday. We’ll talk about technology and paralegals on Tuesday and constitutional law on Thursday.

Weekly round-up, August 31


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Here’s what we’ll be doing in class this week:

  • In BUS 100-01, we’ll talk about global trade on Tuesday and business ethics on Thursday.
  • In BUS 100-80, we’ll be wrapping up business and economics and moving on to global trade.
  • In BUS 263-01, we’ll discuss alternative dispute resolution on Tuesday and business ethics on Thursday.
  • In BUS 263-80, we’ll finish up court systems and start discussing alternative dispute resolution.
  • In PRL 101, the draft of our first brief assignment is due on Tuesday, when we’ll also discuss legal ethics and professional responsibility. On Thursday, we’ll look at paralegal workplaces.

Weekly round-up, August 24


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Here’s a quick round-up of what’s going on in class this week:

  • In BUS 100-01, we’ll form teams and begin our study of business on Tuesday and look at economics on Thursday.
  • In BUS 100-80, we’ll wrap up our goals matching discussion and start a discussion on business and economics.
  • In BUS 263-01, we’ll form teams and begin our study of law and legal reasoning on Tuesday and move on to court systems on Thursday.
  • In BUS 263-80, we’ll wrap up our goals matching discussion and start a discussion on law and legal reasoning and court systems.
  • In PRL 101, we’ll talk about the paralegal profession on Tuesday and start learning about legal research on Thursday.