C H A P T E R
Operations and Productivity
1. The text suggests four reasons to study OM. We want to understand (1) how people organize themselves for productive enterprise, (2) how goods and services are produced, (3) what operations managers do, and (4) this costly part of our economy and most enterprises. 2. Possible responses include: Adam Smith (work specialization/ division of labor), Charles Babbage (work specialization/ division of labor), Frederick W. Taylor (scientific management), Walter Shewart (statistical sampling and quality control), Henry Ford (moving assembly line), Charles Sorensen (moving assembly line), Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (motion ...view middle of the document...
We find this structure an excellent way to help students organize and learn the material. 8. Four areas that are important to improving labor productivity are: (1) basic education (basic reading and math skills), (2) diet of the labor force, (3) social overhead that makes labor available (water, sanitation, transportation, etc.), and (4) maintaining and expanding the skills of teamwork and motivation. 9. Productivity is harder to measure when the task becomes more intellectual. A knowledge society implies that work is more intellectual and therefore harder to measure. Because the U.S. (and many other countries) are increasingly “knowledge” societies,
productivity is harder to measure. Using labor hours as a measure of productivity for a postindustrial society vs. an industrial or agriculture society is very different. For example, decades spent developing a marvelous new drug or winning a very difficult legal case on intellectual property rights may be significant for postindustrial societies, but not show much in the way of productivity improvement measured in labor hours. 10. Productivity is difficult to measure because precise units of measure may be lacking, quality may not be consistent, and exogenous variables may change. 11. Mass customization is the flexibility to produce in order to meet specific customer demands, without sacrificing the low cost of a product oriented process. Rapid product development is a source of competitive advantage. Both rely on agility within the organization. 12. Labor productivity in the service sector is hard to improve because (1) many services are labor intensive and (2) they are individually (personally) processed (the customer is paying for that service—the hair cut), (3) it may be an intellectual task performed by professionals, (4) it is often difficult to mechanize and automate, and (5) often difficult to evaluate for quality. 13. Taco Bell designed meals that were easy to prepare; with actual cooking and food preparation done elsewhere; automation to save preparation time; reduced floor space; manager training to increase span of control.
With most of the ethical dilemmas in the text, the instructor should generate plenty of discussion with this dilemma. The authors are hesitant to endorse a particular correct answer. And students may well be on both side of this dilemma. Many students will be inclined to accept the child labor laws of their country. Students raised in more affluent environments may not understand children working. However, those who had to scrape by in their youth or had parents that did may be more sympathetic to 10-year-olds working. From an economic and self-preservation perspective many 10-year-olds do work and need to work. There are still a lot of poor people in the world. Such a decision may endorse the moral philosophy perspective defined as a Utilitarianism decision. A utilitarianism decision defines acceptable actions as those that maximize total...