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OPS Rules Blog: Insights into Supply Chain and Operations Strategy

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iPhone 6: Apple Supply Chain Revisited

iphone 6 announcement resized 600

By Justin Wong and Tim Kachur. When the iPhone 5 in was released in September 2012, we commented on some of Apple’s supply chain capabilities.  Now that the iPhone 6 has been available for a few months, with a staggering 10 million units sold in the first week, let’s revisit the discussion to see what Apple has done this time around to ensure a successful launch.

Supply chain impact of West Coast Port disruptions

West coast port

By Tim Kachur and Zhiheng Ivan Xu.  East Asia is the primary manufacturing hub for products Americans use everyday: consumer electronics, clothing and appliances make the long journey by sea to major West Coast ports. Any disruption in this link would have disastrous consequences for the supply chain.  A 10-day lockout of West Coast ports in 2002 cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion a day, and took half a year to clear up the backlog.  

Pay attention to retailers' inventory not just sales


As another competitive Holiday retail season kicks off, we are going to see the successes and failures of retailers dissected and analyzed extensively. While most of the focus is on sales revenue, it also important to take into account inventory. 

How to reduce data Complexity for Supply chain analytics

Bill of materials

By Haresh Gopalan and Jeff Keene. Supply chain analytics requires expertise both in the subject matter as well as in the tools. The challenges, in particular around data wrangling, require deep understanding of the pitfalls and opportunities.

6 keys to building In-House Supply Chain Analytics Capabilities

Dilbert analytics

Sumeet Mahajan & Tim Kachur. Companies nowadays are well aware that they need to use advanced analytics to improve operations even though this requires a very high level of expertise. 

You can make big data work for you

Big data cartoon

“When you have large amounts of data, your appetite for hypotheses tends to get even larger. And if it’s growing faster than the statistical strength of the data, then many of your inferences are likely to be false. They are likely to be white noise.

It's the handyman not the power drill

Handyman simpsons

In Managerial Analytics, my co-author Michael Watson and I shared the (embarrassing) truth that although we were both sons of men who were very good at building and fixing things around the house (my dad was a professional carpenter for forty years), neither of us generally had a clue how to do things around our homes ourselves (though we do know how to search Angie’s List). Let’s say we needed to build a hand railing for a staircase. If you gave our fathers the most primitive of tools, they would do a much better and much faster job at building this hand railing than we would, even if we had the latest and fanciest tools available. In fact, even with great new tools, we might not even be able to complete the job or we might create a handrail that would immediately collapse when someone used it.

Declining oil prices and your supply chain strategy

Crude oil prices

A few years ago, the concern was rising oil prices. In fact, in September 2008 , David Simchi-Levi, Derek Nelson et al.

Does your inventory support your Service levels?

Service Level

By Mark Wahl, Jeff Keene, and Haresh Gopalan. Inventory optimization is one of the most important components of managing a supply chain, and in most complex supply chains can be an incredibly difficult problem.  A key measure of supply chain performance related to inventory management is service level or fill rate.

Industrial engineering and the inception of "supply chain"

First use of supply chain

By Haresh Gopalan and Billy Hou. Supply chain management has come a long way and nowadays, companies run increasingly complex operations systems and deploy analytics which run in minutes to make sophisticated decisions. We owe this to the engineering discipline called Industrial engineering which deals with the optimization of complex processes or systems and has had a large influence on supply chain and operations in the last three centuries.

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