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Sunil Chopra: A New Channel Strategy for Dell

Biography

Kellogg School of Management
IBM Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems, Professor of Operations

Sunil Chopra is the IBM Distinguished Professor of Operations Management. He was also Interim Dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University from 2009-2010. From 2006 – 2009, he served as Senior Associate Dean: Curriculum and Teaching. He became a faculty member of the school in 1989. Previously he was an Assistant Professor at the Stern School of Business Administration at New York University. He has a PhD in Operations Research from SUNY Stony Brook.

Professor Chopra’s research and teaching interests are in Operations Management, Logistics and Distribution Management, design of communication networks and design of distribution networks. He has co-authored the books Managing Business Process Flows and Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation. Both books are published by Prentice Hall and are used at several of the top business schools to teach Operations Management and Supply Chain Management respectively. The Supply Chain Management book was awarded the best book of the year for 2002 by the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). Professor Chopra has won several teaching awards at Kellogg.

He has been Departmental Editor for the journals Management Science and an Associate Editor for the Decision Sciences Journal, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management and Operations Research. His recent research has focused on risk management in supply chains. He has also studied distribution systems in a variety of companies trying to identify market, manufacturing, and product characteristics that drive the structure of a supply chain.

He has consulted for a variety of firms including Boise Cascade Office Products, GE Capital, W.W. Grainger, Motorola, Intel, and Sara Lee.

Areas of Expertise Cycle Time Management
Manufacturing
Optimal Decisions
Reengineering
Response Time Management
Supply Chain Design and Management

Education PhD, 1986, Operations Research, State University of New York, Stony Brook

MS, 1984, Operations Research, State University of New York, Stony Brook

BT, 1981, Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi

Academic Positions IBM Distinguished Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems, Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1995-present

Interim Dean, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2009-2010

Senior Associate Dean, Curriculum and Teaching, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2006-2009

Chairman, Managerial Economics and Decision Science, Northwestern University, 2000-2002

Director, Master of Management and Manufacturing program, Northwestern University, 1998-2006

Associate Professor, Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1992-1995

Assistant Professor, Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1989-1992

Assistant Professor, Leonard N. Stern School of Business Administration, New York University, 1986-1989

Honors and Awards Winner Case Category - Indian Management issues and Opportunities, EFMD Case writing competition, 2015

A-List of Management Academics, Business Educators, 2011

Executive MBA Program Outstanding Teaching Awards, Kellogg School of Management, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 1999

Kellogg Alumni Professor of the Year Award, Kellogg School of Management, 2005

A-List of Management Academics, Business Educators, LLC, one year

Editorial Positions Department Editor forOperations and Supply Chain Management, Management Science, 2003-2005

Associate Editor, Management Science, 2000-2002

Education Academic Positions Honors and Awards Editorial Positions

Read about executive education

Cases

Chopra, Sunil and Jonathan H. Owen. 1999. Partitioning of Hypergraphs. Discrete Applied Mathematics. 90(1-3): 115-133.

Let H = (V, E) be an undirected hypergraph and Asubset of or equal toC. We consider the problem of finding a minimum cost partition of V that separates every pair of nodes in A. We consider three formulations of the problem and show that the theoretical lower bounds to the integer optimal objective value provided by the LP-relaxations in all three cases are identical. We describe our empiical findings with each formulation.

Chopra, Sunil, Itzhak Gilboa and S.Trilochan Sastry. 1998. Source Sink Flows with Capacity Installation in Batches. Discrete Applied Mathematics. 85(3): 165-192.

We consider the problem of sending flow from a source to a destination where there are flow costs on each arc and fixed costs toward the purchase of capacity. Capacity can be purchased in batches of C units on each arc. We show the problem to be NP-hard in general. If d is the quantity to be shipped from the source to the destination, we give an algorithm that solves the problem in time polynomial in the size of the graph but exponential in [d/C]. Thus, for bounded values of [d/C]the problem can be solved in polynomial time. This is useful since a simple heuristic gives a very good approximation of the optimal solution for large values of [d/C]. We also show a similar result to hold for the case when there are no flow costs but capacity can be purchased either in batches of 1 unit or C units. The results characterizing optimal solutions with a minimum number of free arcs are used to obtain extended formulations in each of the two cases. The LP-relaxations of the extended formulations are shown to be stronger than the natural formulations considered by earlier authors, even with a family of strong valid inequalities added.

Chopra, Sunil and M. R. Rao. 1994. The Steiner Tree problem I: Formulations, Compositions and Extensions of Facets. Mathematical Programming. 64(1-3): 209-229.

In this paper we give some integer programming formulations for the Steiner tree problem on undirected and directed graphs and study the associated polyhedra. We give some families of facets for the undirected case along with some compositions and extensions. We also give a projection that relates the Steiner tree polyhedron on an undirected graph to the polyhedron for the corresponding directed graph. This is used to show that the LP-relaxation of the directed formulation is superior to the LP-relaxation of the undirected one.

Chopra, Sunil and M. R. Rao. 1993. The Partition Problem. Mathematical Programming. 59(1): 87-115.

In this paper we describe several forms of thek-partition problem and give integer programming formulations of each case. The dimension of the associated polytopes and some basic facets are identified. We also give several valid and facet defining inequalities for each of the polytopes.

Chopra, Sunil. 1989. On Ternary Problems. Mathematical Programming. 45(1-3): 35-47.

We consider ternary matrices, i.e., integer matrices having all entries 0, 1 or 2. Three associated problems the group problem, covering, and packing are studied. General classes of vertices and facets are discussed in each case. Certain lifting procedures are also described. For all three problems techniques used are natural extensions of those used in the binary case.

Chopra, Sunil, David L. Jensen and Ellis L. Johnson. 1989. Polyhedra of Regular p-Nary Group Problems. Mathematical Programming. 43(1-3): 1-29.

The duality for group problems developed in [3] is restricted top-nary group problems. Results for ternary group problems are obtained similar to those obtained by Fulkerson and Lehman for the binary case. A complete facet description of the group polyhedron is available for a group problem having the Fulkerson property. A group problem has the Fulkerson property if its vertices are the facets of the blocking group problem and if its facets are the vertices of the blocking group problem. The Fulkerson property is a generalization of the max-flow min-cut theorem of Ford and Fulkerson which is interpreted as a statement about the pair of row modules arising from a group problem. We show that a group problem has the Fulkerson property if the corresponding row module is regular.

Chopra, Sunil and Ellis L. Johnson. 1987. Dual Row Modules and Polyhedra of Blocking Group Problems. Mathematical Programming. 38(3): 229-270.

Corresponding to every group problem is a row module. Duality for group problems is developed using the duality or orthogonality of the corresponding row modules. The row module corresponding to a group problem is shown to include Gomory's fractional cuts for the group polyhedron and all the vertices of the polyhedron of the blocking group problem. The polyhedra corresponding to a pair of blocking group problems are shown to have a blocking nature i.e. the vertices of one include some of the facets of the other and mutatis mutandis. The entire development is constructive. The notions of contraction, deletion, expansion and extension are defined constructively and related to homomorphic liftings and suproblems in a dual setting. Roughly speaking a homomorphic lifting is dual to forming a subproblem. A proof of the Gastou-Johnson generalization of Gomory's homomorphic lifting theorem is given, and dual constructions are discussed. A generalization of Gomory's subadditive characterization to subproblems is given. In the binary case, it is closely related to the work of Seymour on cones arising from binary matroids.

Chopra, Sunil and Roby Thomas. 2009. Focus on Diamond Retailing: Blue Nile, Zales, and Tiffany . Case 5-408-754 (KEL394).

The case focuses on the diamond retailing industry toward the end of 2008, with the United States in an economic downturn. All diamond retailers are hit by the downturn and are facing a critical look at their strategies. Given the basic performance information on Blue Nile, Zales, and Tiffany, students are asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each business model with the goal of understanding business models that are better suited to handling a downturn.

Chopra, Sunil. 2013. The Future of Same-Day Delivery: Same as the Past?. Case 5-113-008 (KEL732).

In 2012 several retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, experimented with same-day delivery. Home delivery of pizzas had been a very successful model in the United States and had been copied all over the world. In contrast, home delivery attempts by companies like Kozmo and Urbanfetch had failed and both companies went bankrupt. The goal of this case is to build a framework that helps students identify the factors that influence the success or failure of home delivery models.

Chopra, Sunil, Jeffrey Blount, Peter Meindl, Marek Prach, Danny Su and Fuminori Takemura. 2006. Postponement. Case 7-204-250 (KEL128).

This note describes the concept of postponement of product variety and how it may be used to better match supply and demand while lowering inventories. The note discusses situations where postponement is more or less valuable. Several industry examples of postponement are discussed.

Chopra, Sunil. 2006. Quality Wireless (B): Call Center Performance. Case 5-405-756(B) (KEL154).

Quality Wireless has been receiving customer complaints about long hold times at its call center. To address these complaints it has put into place certain process changes at its call center. After one month, the company wants to make a decision regarding whether improvement has taken place or not. Part (A) uses this context for students to understand the “check” phase of the plan-do-check-act cycle of Deming using basic statistical principles. In Part (B) the manager is gone for ten days and returns to find that performance is not as good as when he left. Yelling at the supervisors results in performance improving over the next ten days. Part (B) allows the instructor to introduce the Statistical Process Control (SPC) framework for students to decide whether the manager’s response was appropriate or not.

Chopra, Sunil. 2003. Seven-Eleven Japan Co.. Case 5-403-757 (KEL026).

The case discusses the structure of the Seven Eleven Japan supply chain in terms of its facilities network, inventory management, distribution, and information. The case can be used to discuss how Seven Eleven has made consistent supply chain choices to support its business strategy of providing convenience to customers. In particular, the case points to how Seven Eleven has used information and aggregation in transportation to improve supply chain responsiveness at relatively low cost.

Chinese translation available.

Chopra, Sunil, Adrian Alonso, Lance Donenberg, Daniel Gamba and David Vely. 1996. Technical Note: Third-Party Logistics: Current Issues and World Wide Web Resources. Case 7-204-251 (KEL281).

The purpose of this note is to update a person already familiar with third-party logistics companies (3PLs) on issues facing the industry, and also to provide a listing of available resources on the World Wide Web related to 3PLs. We first cover basic concepts about 3PLs, and the benefits and risks of outsourcing logistics functions to these companies. Then we discuss current issues facing 3PLs. Finally, we present a summary of some of the most important 3PL-related sites organized by content.

Chopra, Sunil. 2006. Quality Wireless (A): Call Center Performance. Case 5-405-756(A) (KEL153).

Quality Wireless has been receiving customer complaints about long hold times at its call center. To address these complaints it has put into place certain process changes at its call center. After one month, the company wants to make a decision regarding whether improvement has taken place or not. Part (A) uses this context for students to understand the “check” phase of the plan-do-check-act cycle of Deming using basic statistical principles. In Part (B) the manager is gone for ten days and returns to find that performance is not as good as when he left. Yelling at the supervisors results in performance improving over the next ten days. Part (B) allows the instructor to introduce the Statistical Process Control (SPC) framework for students to decide whether the manager’s response was appropriate or not.

Chopra, Sunil. 2004. Excel Logistics Services. Case 5-104-005 (KEL019).

This case can be used to introduce statistical process control (SPC). It looks at the introduction of SPC into a distribution center servicing a department store chain. The case focuses on the receiving process in the distribution center and describes how SPC methodology is introduced. The ideas discussed include run charts, pareto diagrams, and control limits.

Chopra, Sunil. 2004. Six Sigma Quality at Flyrock Tires. Case 5-104-004 (KEL028).

The case assumes an understanding of statistical process control (SPC) and focuses on highlighting why Six Sigma quality is useful. In particular, it takes the issue of a bearing being worn out at a tire manufacturer leading to a mean shift (while producing defectives). In contrast, it is shown how a Six Sigma process would quickly detect the mean shift while producing hardly any defectives. The case may be used to introduce the methodology of statistical process control but is best used to illustrate the value of Six Sigma after students have understood SPC.

Chopra, Sunil, Scott Flamm and Sachin Waikar. 2011. Body Scans and Bottlenecks: Optimizing Hospital CT Process Flows. Case 5-211-256 (KEL592).

A midwest hospital purchases new CT Scanners which are much faster than the existing technology. Processes in the radiology department are optimized to the older, existing scanners and technicians are unable to take full advantage of the new scanner speed. The hospital finds itself working to change the processes to suit the new scanners capabilities and take full advantage of their speed.

Chopra, Sunil, Ioana Andreas, Sigmund Gee, Ivi Kolasi, Stephane Lhoste and Benjamin Neuwirth. 2012. Polaris Industries Inc.. Case 5-112-003 (KEL725).

In September 2010 Suresh Krishna, vice president of operations and integration at Polaris Industries Inc., a manufacturer of all-terrain vehicles, Side-by-Sides, and snowmobiles, needed to recommend a location for a new plant to manufacture the company’s Side-by-Side vehicles.

The economic slowdown in the United States had put considerable pressure on Polaris’s profits, so the company was considering whether it should follow the lead of other manufacturers and open a facility in a country with lower labor costs. China and Mexico were shortlisted as possible locations for the new factory, which would be the first Polaris manufacturing facility located outside the Midwestern United States. By the end of the year Suresh needed to recommend to the board whether Polaris should build a new plant abroad (near-shored in Mexico or off-shored in China) or continue to manufacture in its American facilities.

Chopra, Sunil. 2003. CRU Computer Rentals. Case 5-403-750 (KEL017).

This case examines a company that rents and leases computers. The primary objective of the case is to provide a scenario where students can see the link between operational flow measures such as inventory, throughput, and flow time and financial flows. The case presents a scenario where a firm sees financial performance worsen even though sales increase. A link between the operational measures and financial flows allows students to understand the causes.

Russian translation available.

Chopra, Sunil, Fernando del Cid, Roger Gordon, Brian Kearns, Paul Lennick and Andreas Sattlberger. 2003. Vendor Managed Inventories. Case 7-403-750.

This note addresses the concept of vendor managed inventories (VMI). It discusses best practices and issues that occur when introducing VMI. It also highlights some of the potential problems that may arise when implementing VMI.

Chopra, Sunil, Sudhir Arni, Jacqueline Tan and Ilya Trakhtenberg. 2014. Mast Kalandar: Prioritizing Growth Opportunities. Case 5-213-253 (KEL809).

Winner of the 2014 EFMD competition for best case on Indian Management Issues and Opportunities.

After a highly successful third round of funding in 2012, Gaurav Jain, founder of quick service restaurant chain Mast Kalandar, was looking to expand. In addition to opening new stores in other cities, Jain was also hoping to increase the profitability of his existing stores in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune. He needed to fully understand the financials of his current operations and identify the key drivers of success at the stores, at both the city and corporate levels. With this understanding, he would be able to evaluate how best to improve the performance of existing outlets and to choose an entry strategy for new cities. Students are asked to develop a financial model for outlets and use it to compare different growth strategies.

Chopra, Sunil. 2007. Wills Lifestyle in India. Case 5-107-003 (KEL362).

In 2003, ITC responded to the high level of obsolete inventory by shifting risk from finished products to manufacturing and raw materials. This required that their supply chain be much more flexible and responsive than it was in the past. By 2006, changes in the supply chain that included moving manufacturing in-house improved flexibility and responsiveness. Obsolete inventory was significantly reduced and the company was much better at matching supply and demand. Cost, however, continued to be higher than that at third parties. The company had to decide on the appropriate tradeoff between cost and responsiveness when structuring its supply chain.

Chopra, Sunil and R. Canan Savaskan-Ebert. 2004. Weight Solutions Clinic Bariatric Surgery Center. Case 5-104-006 (KEL030).

This case addresses how flow times and capacity calculations can be made for a service process such as the bariatric surgery center at a clinic. This case highlights how these calculations can be made for a service process just as in any manufacturing setting. In the course of the case, students should understand the notion of critical paths and bottlenecks and what factors affect both time and capacity. This understanding is then used to discuss the relative profitability of two types of bariatric surgery. The goal here is to link product profitability to the process.

Spanish translation available.

Chopra, Sunil and Murali Veeraiyan. 2010. Movie Rental Business: Blockbuster, Netflix, and Redbox. Case 5-310-507 (KEL616).

Jim Keyes, CEO of Dallas-based Blockbuster Inc., was facing the biggest challenge of his career. In March 2010 Keyes was meeting with Hollywood studios in an effort to negotiate better terms for the $1 billion worth of merchandise Blockbuster had purchased the year before. In recent years, Blockbuster’s share of the video rental market had been sharply decreasing in the face of competitors such as the low-cost, convenient Redbox vending machines and mail-order and video-on-demand service Netflix. While Blockbuster’s market capitalization had dropped 47 percent to $62 million in 2009, Netflix’s had shot up 55 percent to $3.9 billion that year. The only hope for Blockbuster, as Keyes saw it, was to shift its business model from primarily brick-and-mortar physical DVD rentals to increased digital and mail-order video delivery.

In Keyes’s favor, the studios were more than willing to provide him with that help. Hollywood wanted to see Blockbuster win the video-rental wars. Consumers still made frequent purchases of DVDs at its stores—purchases which were much more profitable for studios than the rentals that remained Blockbuster’s primary business.

Blockbuster had made efforts at making its business model more nimble, but the results had been disappointing, and its debt continued to skyrocket. By the end of 2009, the company’s debt had climbed to $856 million, its share of the $6.5 billion video rental business had fallen to 27 percent, and its revenues had tumbled 23 percent to $4.1 billion.

Chopra, Sunil and Jonathan H. Owen. 1999. Partitioning of Hypergraphs. Discrete Applied Mathematics. 90(1-3): 115-133.

Let H = (V, E) be an undirected hypergraph and Asubset of or equal toC. We consider the problem of finding a minimum cost partition of V that separates every pair of nodes in A. We consider three formulations of the problem and show that the theoretical lower bounds to the integer optimal objective value provided by the LP-relaxations in all three cases are identical. We describe our empiical findings with each formulation.

Chopra, Sunil, Itzhak Gilboa and S.Trilochan Sastry. 1998. Source Sink Flows with Capacity Installation in Batches. Discrete Applied Mathematics. 85(3): 165-192.

We consider the problem of sending flow from a source to a destination where there are flow costs on each arc and fixed costs toward the purchase of capacity. Capacity can be purchased in batches of C units on each arc. We show the problem to be NP-hard in general. If d is the quantity to be shipped from the source to the destination, we give an algorithm that solves the problem in time polynomial in the size of the graph but exponential in [d/C]. Thus, for bounded values of [d/C]the problem can be solved in polynomial time. This is useful since a simple heuristic gives a very good approximation of the optimal solution for large values of [d/C]. We also show a similar result to hold for the case when there are no flow costs but capacity can be purchased either in batches of 1 unit or C units. The results characterizing optimal solutions with a minimum number of free arcs are used to obtain extended formulations in each of the two cases. The LP-relaxations of the extended formulations are shown to be stronger than the natural formulations considered by earlier authors, even with a family of strong valid inequalities added.

Chopra, Sunil and M. R. Rao. 1994. The Steiner Tree problem I: Formulations, Compositions and Extensions of Facets. Mathematical Programming. 64(1-3): 209-229.

In this paper we give some integer programming formulations for the Steiner tree problem on undirected and directed graphs and study the associated polyhedra. We give some families of facets for the undirected case along with some compositions and extensions. We also give a projection that relates the Steiner tree polyhedron on an undirected graph to the polyhedron for the corresponding directed graph. This is used to show that the LP-relaxation of the directed formulation is superior to the LP-relaxation of the undirected one.

Chopra, Sunil and M. R. Rao. 1993. The Partition Problem. Mathematical Programming. 59(1): 87-115.

In this paper we describe several forms of thek-partition problem and give integer programming formulations of each case. The dimension of the associated polytopes and some basic facets are identified. We also give several valid and facet defining inequalities for each of the polytopes.

Chopra, Sunil. 1989. On Ternary Problems. Mathematical Programming. 45(1-3): 35-47.

We consider ternary matrices, i.e., integer matrices having all entries 0, 1 or 2. Three associated problems the group problem, covering, and packing are studied. General classes of vertices and facets are discussed in each case. Certain lifting procedures are also described. For all three problems techniques used are natural extensions of those used in the binary case.

Chopra, Sunil, David L. Jensen and Ellis L. Johnson. 1989. Polyhedra of Regular p-Nary Group Problems. Mathematical Programming. 43(1-3): 1-29.

The duality for group problems developed in [3] is restricted top-nary group problems. Results for ternary group problems are obtained similar to those obtained by Fulkerson and Lehman for the binary case. A complete facet description of the group polyhedron is available for a group problem having the Fulkerson property. A group problem has the Fulkerson property if its vertices are the facets of the blocking group problem and if its facets are the vertices of the blocking group problem. The Fulkerson property is a generalization of the max-flow min-cut theorem of Ford and Fulkerson which is interpreted as a statement about the pair of row modules arising from a group problem. We show that a group problem has the Fulkerson property if the corresponding row module is regular.

Chopra, Sunil and Ellis L. Johnson. 1987. Dual Row Modules and Polyhedra of Blocking Group Problems. Mathematical Programming. 38(3): 229-270.

Corresponding to every group problem is a row module. Duality for group problems is developed using the duality or orthogonality of the corresponding row modules. The row module corresponding to a group problem is shown to include Gomory's fractional cuts for the group polyhedron and all the vertices of the polyhedron of the blocking group problem. The polyhedra corresponding to a pair of blocking group problems are shown to have a blocking nature i.e. the vertices of one include some of the facets of the other and mutatis mutandis. The entire development is constructive. The notions of contraction, deletion, expansion and extension are defined constructively and related to homomorphic liftings and suproblems in a dual setting. Roughly speaking a homomorphic lifting is dual to forming a subproblem. A proof of the Gastou-Johnson generalization of Gomory's homomorphic lifting theorem is given, and dual constructions are discussed. A generalization of Gomory's subadditive characterization to subproblems is given. In the binary case, it is closely related to the work of Seymour on cones arising from binary matroids.

Chopra, Sunil and Roby Thomas. 2009. Focus on Diamond Retailing: Blue Nile, Zales, and Tiffany . Case 5-408-754 (KEL394).

The case focuses on the diamond retailing industry toward the end of 2008, with the United States in an economic downturn. All diamond retailers are hit by the downturn and are facing a critical look at their strategies. Given the basic performance information on Blue Nile, Zales, and Tiffany, students are asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each business model with the goal of understanding business models that are better suited to handling a downturn.

Chopra, Sunil. 2013. The Future of Same-Day Delivery: Same as the Past?. Case 5-113-008 (KEL732).

In 2012 several retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, experimented with same-day delivery. Home delivery of pizzas had been a very successful model in the United States and had been copied all over the world. In contrast, home delivery attempts by companies like Kozmo and Urbanfetch had failed and both companies went bankrupt. The goal of this case is to build a framework that helps students identify the factors that influence the success or failure of home delivery models.

Chopra, Sunil, Jeffrey Blount, Peter Meindl, Marek Prach, Danny Su and Fuminori Takemura. 2006. Postponement. Case 7-204-250 (KEL128).

This note describes the concept of postponement of product variety and how it may be used to better match supply and demand while lowering inventories. The note discusses situations where postponement is more or less valuable. Several industry examples of postponement are discussed.

Chopra, Sunil. 2006. Quality Wireless (B): Call Center Performance. Case 5-405-756(B) (KEL154).

Quality Wireless has been receiving customer complaints about long hold times at its call center. To address these complaints it has put into place certain process changes at its call center. After one month, the company wants to make a decision regarding whether improvement has taken place or not. Part (A) uses this context for students to understand the “check” phase of the plan-do-check-act cycle of Deming using basic statistical principles. In Part (B) the manager is gone for ten days and returns to find that performance is not as good as when he left. Yelling at the supervisors results in performance improving over the next ten days. Part (B) allows the instructor to introduce the Statistical Process Control (SPC) framework for students to decide whether the manager’s response was appropriate or not.

Chopra, Sunil. 2003. Seven-Eleven Japan Co.. Case 5-403-757 (KEL026).

The case discusses the structure of the Seven Eleven Japan supply chain in terms of its facilities network, inventory management, distribution, and information. The case can be used to discuss how Seven Eleven has made consistent supply chain choices to support its business strategy of providing convenience to customers. In particular, the case points to how Seven Eleven has used information and aggregation in transportation to improve supply chain responsiveness at relatively low cost.

Chinese translation available.

Chopra, Sunil, Adrian Alonso, Lance Donenberg, Daniel Gamba and David Vely. 1996. Technical Note: Third-Party Logistics: Current Issues and World Wide Web Resources. Case 7-204-251 (KEL281).

The purpose of this note is to update a person already familiar with third-party logistics companies (3PLs) on issues facing the industry, and also to provide a listing of available resources on the World Wide Web related to 3PLs. We first cover basic concepts about 3PLs, and the benefits and risks of outsourcing logistics functions to these companies. Then we discuss current issues facing 3PLs. Finally, we present a summary of some of the most important 3PL-related sites organized by content.

Chopra, Sunil. 2006. Quality Wireless (A): Call Center Performance. Case 5-405-756(A) (KEL153).

Quality Wireless has been receiving customer complaints about long hold times at its call center. To address these complaints it has put into place certain process changes at its call center. After one month, the company wants to make a decision regarding whether improvement has taken place or not. Part (A) uses this context for students to understand the “check” phase of the plan-do-check-act cycle of Deming using basic statistical principles. In Part (B) the manager is gone for ten days and returns to find that performance is not as good as when he left. Yelling at the supervisors results in performance improving over the next ten days. Part (B) allows the instructor to introduce the Statistical Process Control (SPC) framework for students to decide whether the manager’s response was appropriate or not.

Chopra, Sunil. 2004. Excel Logistics Services. Case 5-104-005 (KEL019).

This case can be used to introduce statistical process control (SPC). It looks at the introduction of SPC into a distribution center servicing a department store chain. The case focuses on the receiving process in the distribution center and describes how SPC methodology is introduced. The ideas discussed include run charts, pareto diagrams, and control limits.

Chopra, Sunil. 2004. Six Sigma Quality at Flyrock Tires. Case 5-104-004 (KEL028).

The case assumes an understanding of statistical process control (SPC) and focuses on highlighting why Six Sigma quality is useful. In particular, it takes the issue of a bearing being worn out at a tire manufacturer leading to a mean shift (while producing defectives). In contrast, it is shown how a Six Sigma process would quickly detect the mean shift while producing hardly any defectives. The case may be used to introduce the methodology of statistical process control but is best used to illustrate the value of Six Sigma after students have understood SPC.

Chopra, Sunil, Scott Flamm and Sachin Waikar. 2011. Body Scans and Bottlenecks: Optimizing Hospital CT Process Flows. Case 5-211-256 (KEL592).

A midwest hospital purchases new CT Scanners which are much faster than the existing technology. Processes in the radiology department are optimized to the older, existing scanners and technicians are unable to take full advantage of the new scanner speed. The hospital finds itself working to change the processes to suit the new scanners capabilities and take full advantage of their speed.

Chopra, Sunil, Ioana Andreas, Sigmund Gee, Ivi Kolasi, Stephane Lhoste and Benjamin Neuwirth. 2012. Polaris Industries Inc.. Case 5-112-003 (KEL725).

In September 2010 Suresh Krishna, vice president of operations and integration at Polaris Industries Inc., a manufacturer of all-terrain vehicles, Side-by-Sides, and snowmobiles, needed to recommend a location for a new plant to manufacture the company’s Side-by-Side vehicles.

The economic slowdown in the United States had put considerable pressure on Polaris’s profits, so the company was considering whether it should follow the lead of other manufacturers and open a facility in a country with lower labor costs. China and Mexico were shortlisted as possible locations for the new factory, which would be the first Polaris manufacturing facility located outside the Midwestern United States. By the end of the year Suresh needed to recommend to the board whether Polaris should build a new plant abroad (near-shored in Mexico or off-shored in China) or continue to manufacture in its American facilities.

Chopra, Sunil. 2003. CRU Computer Rentals. Case 5-403-750 (KEL017).

This case examines a company that rents and leases computers. The primary objective of the case is to provide a scenario where students can see the link between operational flow measures such as inventory, throughput, and flow time and financial flows. The case presents a scenario where a firm sees financial performance worsen even though sales increase. A link between the operational measures and financial flows allows students to understand the causes.

Russian translation available.

Chopra, Sunil, Fernando del Cid, Roger Gordon, Brian Kearns, Paul Lennick and Andreas Sattlberger. 2003. Vendor Managed Inventories. Case 7-403-750.

This note addresses the concept of vendor managed inventories (VMI). It discusses best practices and issues that occur when introducing VMI. It also highlights some of the potential problems that may arise when implementing VMI.

Chopra, Sunil, Sudhir Arni, Jacqueline Tan and Ilya Trakhtenberg. 2014. Mast Kalandar: Prioritizing Growth Opportunities. Case 5-213-253 (KEL809).

Winner of the 2014 EFMD competition for best case on Indian Management Issues and Opportunities.

After a highly successful third round of funding in 2012, Gaurav Jain, founder of quick service restaurant chain Mast Kalandar, was looking to expand. In addition to opening new stores in other cities, Jain was also hoping to increase the profitability of his existing stores in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune. He needed to fully understand the financials of his current operations and identify the key drivers of success at the stores, at both the city and corporate levels. With this understanding, he would be able to evaluate how best to improve the performance of existing outlets and to choose an entry strategy for new cities. Students are asked to develop a financial model for outlets and use it to compare different growth strategies.

Chopra, Sunil. 2007. Wills Lifestyle in India. Case 5-107-003 (KEL362).

In 2003, ITC responded to the high level of obsolete inventory by shifting risk from finished products to manufacturing and raw materials. This required that their supply chain be much more flexible and responsive than it was in the past. By 2006, changes in the supply chain that included moving manufacturing in-house improved flexibility and responsiveness. Obsolete inventory was significantly reduced and the company was much better at matching supply and demand. Cost, however, continued to be higher than that at third parties. The company had to decide on the appropriate tradeoff between cost and responsiveness when structuring its supply chain.

Chopra, Sunil and R. Canan Savaskan-Ebert. 2004. Weight Solutions Clinic Bariatric Surgery Center. Case 5-104-006 (KEL030).

This case addresses how flow times and capacity calculations can be made for a service process such as the bariatric surgery center at a clinic. This case highlights how these calculations can be made for a service process just as in any manufacturing setting. In the course of the case, students should understand the notion of critical paths and bottlenecks and what factors affect both time and capacity. This understanding is then used to discuss the relative profitability of two types of bariatric surgery. The goal here is to link product profitability to the process.

Spanish translation available.

Chopra, Sunil and Murali Veeraiyan. 2010. Movie Rental Business: Blockbuster, Netflix, and Redbox. Case 5-310-507 (KEL616).

Jim Keyes, CEO of Dallas-based Blockbuster Inc., was facing the biggest challenge of his career. In March 2010 Keyes was meeting with Hollywood studios in an effort to negotiate better terms for the $1 billion worth of merchandise Blockbuster had purchased the year before. In recent years, Blockbuster’s share of the video rental market had been sharply decreasing in the face of competitors such as the low-cost, convenient Redbox vending machines and mail-order and video-on-demand service Netflix. While Blockbuster’s market capitalization had dropped 47 percent to $62 million in 2009, Netflix’s had shot up 55 percent to $3.9 billion that year. The only hope for Blockbuster, as Keyes saw it, was to shift its business model from primarily brick-and-mortar physical DVD rentals to increased digital and mail-order video delivery.

In Keyes’s favor, the studios were more than willing to provide him with that help. Hollywood wanted to see Blockbuster win the video-rental wars. Consumers still made frequent purchases of DVDs at its stores—purchases which were much more profitable for studios than the rentals that remained Blockbuster’s primary business.

Blockbuster had made efforts at making its business model more nimble, but the results had been disappointing, and its debt continued to skyrocket. By the end of 2009, the company’s debt had climbed to $856 million, its share of the $6.5 billion video rental business had fallen to 27 percent, and its revenues had tumbled 23 percent to $4.1 billion.

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