Supply Chain Management
1.A customer planning to buy a book can either order the book on the Internet from Flipkart.com or go to the nearby Landmark outlet. How are the supply chains different for these two companies? Are customers looking for the same kind of service from both the companies? How can these factors affect the strategies of both these companies?
1. Though supply chain principles are universal in nature, application of these depends on the context of
the country, which is why India has to find its own unique solutions. Explain why you agree or disagree
with the above statement.
1. Compare and contrast the supply chains followed by the two food product firms mentioned below:
(i) A firm offering a food product targeted at the lower end of the economic pyramid (e.g., Tiger biscuit offered by Britannia).
2. Describe the supply chain involved in making the bar of Lux soap that you have just picked up from your neighbourhood retail store. (ii) A firm offering a premium food product (e.g., Lays offered by Pepsi).
1.Indian companies complain that high logistics costs make their products less competitive in international markets. Identify products that are likely to be significantly affected by the poor logistics infrastructure in India.
1. Most Indian firms have increased their product variety by about 50 per cent in the past five years. What are the implications of these increased varieties on supply chain management practices in these firms?
7. HUL has decided to increase its reach in rural areas.
1.What are the implications of this decision for the department that manages the supply chain for HUL products?
2. With the emergence of organized retailing, power structure in the supply chain is likely to shift over a
period of time. What do you think are the implications of this for manufacturing firms?
3. Can ideas of supply chain management be applied to firms like Wipro and Infosys, which offer software services?
1. Why do some firms keep stocks close to the market while others keep stocks in the component form at their plants? How do these decisions affect their performance?
2. Identify two products each in the functional and innovative categories. Identify similarities and differences in the way supply chains for these products are managed
by their respective firms.
1. Within the same industry, one finds significant differences in the supply chain performance measures across firms. What could possibly explain these differences in performances across firms in the same industry?
2. What are the advantages of moving from an MTS model to a CTO model?
1. Over a period of time, a product is likely to move from the introduction stage to the growth stage and
from the growth stage to the maturity stage. Would this movement across different stages of the product life cycle affect supply strategy and practices of the firm?
1. Titan offers two brands of watches—Sonata and Fastrack. Sonata is targeted for a mass market while
Fastrack is targeted at a premium segment. Should Titan manage both brands with the same supply
chains? Should they share warehouses, transportation, supply chain software and other assets or should Titan handle them separately in all areas of business?
7. A firm has been complaining of facing very high demand uncertainty, but it has a very poor contribution margin. Consequently, it is not able to apply ideas suggested in the literature for innovative products? What is your advice on this issue?
1. Bharti has entered into a 10-year contract with IBM for IT services while its network management
contract with Ericsson is of 3 years duration only. What factors determine such differences in contract
2. Why do you think Wal-Mart owns a fleet of trucks, though most retailers do not?
1. You supply steering wheels to Mahindra & Mahindra for their existing products. Mahindra approaches
you to develop and supply steering wheels for its new product, the Logan. It wants you to invest
in the necessary tools required for the same and this will involve substantial investment. What can
Mahindra do to reduce transaction costs in this arrangement?
1. Are there economies of scale in purchasing? Should a firm with multi-plants operation centralize its purchasing?
2. A firm is planning to outsource its supply chain planning operations to i2 technologies. What is the architecture knowledge that the firm needs to keep in-house?
1. Indo Nissin Food Ltd has outsourced its distribution to Marico. How is this decision likely to be affected in the following situations?
• Indo Nissin increases its size of operations.
• Indo Nissin enters the premium products market.
• Indo Nissin wants to enter rural markets.
1.IIM Bangalore has not used audio-visual training material in the past. It wants to explore the distance education market and develop relevant training material using the audio-visual medium. Should this activity of developing audio-visual material be carried out internally or should it be outsourced to an external party?
1. Indian IT firms have been hiring engineering students who are not trained software specialists. IT firms spend enormous resources on training these young graduates. Should they outsource software
training to colleges from which these students are hired?
1.How important is coordination between cola companies and their bottling plants? Is it necessary to own bottling plants if the cola companies want to achieve a better degree of coordination at the local level of operations?
1. The purchase portfolio matrix in Figure 3.4 showed some distribution in terms of percentage of items located in each quadrant. Can one see a similar distribution for most of the manufacturing firms?
11. Why do you think reverse auction does not work for all items? Should Tata Motors use reverse auctions for procuring crank shafts?
1. HP has outsourced its manufacturing activities to third-party electronic manufacturing service (EMS)
companies like Flextronics but has kept sourcing activities in-house. Firms like Flextronics argue that since they buy inputs for a large number of clients, they have better economies of scale compared to HP, and HP may be better off by outsourcing sourcing activities to
EMS companies. Why do you think HP wants to keep its control on sourcing?
13. A firm can increase its ROI by selling its plant and machinery. So should firms sell their plants and machineries and outsource all manufacturing operations. Is there any fallacy in the above logic?
1. What is the relationship between service levels and inventory levels?
2. Why does the inventory in a system increase with an increase in stock points in the system?
3. What factors should a manager consider while deciding service levels?
4. The sales turnover for Subhiksha retail in Bangalore has doubled in last 2 years. What is the impact of this on the inventory turn for the firm?
1. While computing the ordering cost, one is supposed to consider only the fixed component of the ordering cost. Why?
2. What is the impact of inventory centralization on various supply chain performance measures?
1.A global software service firm operating in seven geographical locations, has five lines of business (LOB) and employs 100,000 people. The firm traditionally has been managing human resources independently, that is, each LOB in each geographic region manages its resources independently. Now it wants to explore the possibility of using a common pool of resources across geographical regions for all LOBs. The firm wants to quantify benefits of this idea of this common resource pool. Suggest a methodology for quantifying these benefits.
1.What transportation challenges do e-retailers like Amazon. com (www.amazon.in/) face? Visit Websites of the following e-retailers: eBay (www.ebay.in/), Flipkart.com (www.flipkart.com/) and Snapdeal.com (www.snapdeal. com/). Compare and contrast the shipping rates policy employed by various Indian e-retailers.
1. What are the main drivers of trucking rate structures?
2. A firm wants to design incentive systems for its transport contractor so as to improve transport lead-time reliability. To design this system they want to quantify the benefits of transport lead-time reliability. Suggest a suitable approach for this quantification exercise.
1. Compare and contrast issues involved in vehicle routing in the following four applications:
• Milk collection for a dairy co-operative
• Courier company
• Employee pick-up for a software service company
• Product delivery to retailers by a soft-drink company
(the van is also expected to pick-up the empty glass bottles)
1. How do transport companies benefit from a technology like global positioning system (GPS)? With the help of GPS, can transport companies track their trucks on a real-time basis?
2. What are the benefits of cross-docking? What are the difficulties in implementing cross-docking?
1. There is a concern that crude prices might touch150$ per barrel and high transport costs for the US market might drive away some of the manufacturing industry located in China and India to Mexico. For
what category of products will this have the greatest impact?
1. Indian Railways has a common pool of marketing officers who service all its clients, and it wants to explore the idea of creating a few industry verticals within marketing. It wants to create specific industry verticals only for those industries that will have significant business potential.
• Identifying a few strategic industries where Indian Railways has high business potential, suggest a
methodology that can help the railways in identifying the right industry verticals.
• Will a firm like FedEx target similar verticals or should they look for a different set of verticals? Suggest two industries that will be good from FedEx’s point of view.
1. How is managing a multi-plant international network different from managing a domestic multi-plant network?
2. A global company has put up a captive facility in India to manage a couple of internal backend processes. The CEO of the local unit is worried about the long-term competitiveness of the Indian unit. Labour cost has been increasing at the rate of 15 per cent in the last few years, and the CEO is worried that in the near future these processes may get shifted to Eastern Europe or some other part of the world. What should the CEO do so that the local unit can survive in the long run?
1. Reliance is trying design a network for its retail operations from the scratch. Suggest a suitable approach.
2. The central government has given several tax concessions for plants located in Baddi, and hence a large number of pharmaceutical and consumer non-durable firms have located their plants there. Why do you think auto component companies and garment companies have not moved to Baddi?
1. While Hyundai India Limited has only one manufacturing plant in India, Asian Paints has 18 processing centres. Why do firms in different industries work with different numbers of plants for serving the same market? List the pros and cons of having a large number of facilities?
2. Why should global firms question their network design decisions every few years?
1.Over a period of time Amazon.com has built new warehouses located at geographically different parts of the United States of America. Why should an e-retailer need multiple warehouses located at different parts of the country?
1. Under what circumstances should firms use qualitative forecasting?
2. Why do time-series forecasting methods work well for short-term forecasting but do not work very well in long-term forecasting?
3. What is the need to have multiple measures of forecast errors?
1. What is the role of a manager in the forecasting process using quantitative forecasting techniques?
2. How do organizational structures and performance measures impact the forecasting process in an organization?
3. It is generally said that one needs to clean the past data before one uses them for the purpose of developing forecasting models. What are the various issues to be kept in mind while cleaning the data?
1. What kind of seasonality are you likely to see if you are in any of following fields:
i Retail chain in metropolitan area
iv Consumer durable products
2. As a manager you have observed that for the last 6 months forecast for your division and actual demand matched perfectly. Will you be worried?
1. What role does forecasting play in the following categories of supply chains:
i Make to stock
ii Configure to order
iii Made to order
1. What are the key functional roles of IT in a supply chain?
2. Why is it important to understand the functional role of IT for any supply chain management system implementation project?
3. How is supply chain planning requirements addressed by DSS?
1. What are the technologies used for supply chain measurement and reporting?
2. How can Web services help a company to communicate with its suppliers and customers?
3. Enlist and discuss the limitations of ERP and the new developments taking place for the enhancement of ERP to address supply chain management requirements.
1. Compare the advantages of SCEM systems with that of existing supply chain management systems.
2. Discuss the risks and benefits of SAS models that many software vendors are offering.
3. What are the benefits companies can derive from product tracking technologies such as RFID?
1. How can a supply chain benefit from SOA?
2. What are the major components of the mobile system?
3. Discuss the key challenges to the adaption of the cloud computing.
4. Enlist the supply chain use cases of ‘Internet of things’.
5. What is big data and how big data analytics is applicable to supply chain analytics?
1. List down few examples of usage of social media for B2B collaboration.
2. Discuss the challenges in the adaption of the social media for enterprise applications.
3. How is NFC different than Bluetooth technology?
4. What are the key components of location-based tracking?
1. Discuss the potential usage of drones in supply chain.
2. Discuss the robotic fulfilment and the technologies involved.
3. What are the potential business risks involved with the use of 3D Printing?
1. Why is it tougher to achieve external integration compared to internal integration?
2. What are the greatest obstacles to implementing concepts of supply chain integration?
3. What is the bullwhip effect and what are the main causes of the bullwhip effect? What can a firm do to minimize demand distortions across the chain?
1. How can one implement the concept of supply chain integration within the planning systems of a firm?
2. Compare and contrast various supply chain initiatives seen in practice.
3. There is a view that it is important to transfer decision rights so that the supply chain is coordinated.
1.In India, the ECR industry initiative was started with a lot of fanfare but it has not made any meaningful progress. What could be the reasons for it? What can be done to improve the chances of success of any such industry initiative?
1. What is the role of trust in supply chain management?
2. What issues must be considered when designing supply chain relationships to improve the chances of
developing cooperation and trust?
3. There is a view that it is impossible to achieve external integration in a chain as each firm is interested in maximizing its own benefits. There is limited amount of pie that different parties in the chain are trying to grab. So is this is a zero-sum game, and would one never be able to implement ideas of supply chain integration?
1. What are the key dimensions in a supply chain process?
2. What are the ways in which a firm can move from an MTS model to a CTO Model?
3. Identify industry and technology characteristics that make postponement strategy viable.
4. How do other business functions like product design, process technology and marketing contribute to supply chain restructuring decisions?
1. Why will one want to design different material flow systems for fast- and slow-moving items?
2. Identify variables that affect the inventory placement decisions within a chain?
3. HUL has 100 plants (geographically spread throughout India) where a number of different product lines are manufactured and supplied to 50 odd depots that are geographically spread throughout India. To improve responsiveness and simultaneously to reduce costs, HUL has come up with the concept of regional depots. The company has four regional depots (one in each zone of the country) and all slow-moving items are first brought to regional depots from which the entire basket of slow-moving goods is shipped to 50 odd depots. All fast-moving items are shipped directly from the plants to
depots. One of the management trainees has suggested that HUL should redesign its supply chain (for slow-moving items). He has come with the following two options: Have only one central depot at Nagpur (centre of India) and serve the entire 50 depots from one central
depot for all slow-moving items.Have four regional depots but each depot should specialize
and stock only selected items that gets produced from the plants that are located in that zone. So all depots will get served from four regional depots for slow-moving items (instead of the current arrangement where each depot is served from the closest regional depot for all slow-moving items). Each of the slow-moving items will get stocked at only one of the four regional depots. Critically analyse the above two options.
1. Explain the concept of double marginalisation in the context of wholesale price contract.
2. In the example discussed in the chapter, we had assumed that manufacturer is the most powerful entity in the chain. How would our analysis change if the retailer was the most powerful entity in the chain? Analyze the supply chain efficiency in the context of balanced chain where both parties have more or less equal power.
1. Different industries seem to prefer different kinds of contracts. For example, the publishing industry prefers buyback contract, while telecom industry seems to prefer revenue sharing contract. Why would one prefer one contract over the other?
2. Revenue sharing and buyback contracts have been shown to be equivalent. Why would one prefer one over the other?
1. Why a revenue sharing contract by retailer is likely to result in lower sales effort when compared to pure wholesale contract?
2. What is the role of information technology in the implementation of revenue sharing contract?
3. For the music CD example discussed in the chapter, under wholesale price contract, let us assume that demand and retail price do not change. Therefore, i. What would be optimal wholesales price if
manufacturing cost = 50 instead of 25? Further, compute
・ manufacturing profit
・ retailer profit
・ total supply chain profit
・ supply chain efficiency
ii. How do supply chain dynamics change with ratio of c/p (manufacturing cost as % of retail price)?
1. For the music CD example discussed in the chapter, under wholesale price contract,
i. Compute the optimal wholesales price and supply chain efficiency if salvage price = 10 instead of 0.
Assume that the demand and retail price do not change.
ii. How do supply chain dynamics change with the change in ratio salvage price/wholesale price?
1. For the buyback contract discussed in the chapter (Table 11.2), determine the supply chain efficiency for w = 80 and b = 40.
2. For the revenue sharing contract discussed in the chapter (Table 11.6), find the supply chain efficiency for w = 50 and f = 0.3.
1. How can firms offering a high variety of products combine dual sources of supply—a low-cost high lead time source and the other a high-cost but shorter lead
2. Agile firms and efficient firms are likely to differ in the way they manage and measure supply chain performances. Identify a few key areas of differences in these two types of firms.
1. What is role of IT in managing agile supply chains?
2. Traditionally, lean manufacturing has suggested that we should remove all redundancies in the supply chain. In this chapter, it is suggested that firms should create redundancies in supply chains so as to manage supply chain disruptions. How do firms manage these two conflicting ideas?
1. Why are issues related to supply chain resumption becoming more important in today’s business context?
6. What are the main sources of supply chain disruptions? How do supply chain disruptions impact business performance?
1. If firms want to shift to dual sources of supply from sole sourcing so as to handle supply disruptions, what are the issues firms should keep in mind while selecting the second supplier?
2. Buyers will insist on redundancies in chain while suppliers will like to remove redundancies so as to reduce cost in the chain. How do firms reconcile differences in objectives between the two sides?
1. Why do firms offer different prices to different customers for the same unit of capacity?
2. Identify the key characteristics of industries where revenue management can be applied.
3. For airline/hotel industry, how will the magnitude of benefit from revenue management change with the following:
a) Reduction in demand uncertainty of business travellers
b) Increase in price elasticity of business travellers
c) Increase in capacity of planes/hotels
1. Explain why dynamic pricing provides higher profits compared to fixed pricing?
2. How important is IT for implementing ideas of revenue management?
3. Why does the fashion industry offer price discounts close to the end of the season?
4. In what ways can the Indian Railways apply the idea of revenue management in its operations?
1. Some hotels have found that the application of revenue management resulted in an increase in capacity utilization but resulted in reduction in total profits. What could be the reason for this?
2. How important is markdown management for firms in short life cycle products?
1. What are the key characteristics of effective markdown management policies?
2. A retailer operates with a standard markdown policy as follows: In case we are likely to have surplus stocks offer 50 per cent discount in the last month of the season. How effective is the above markdown policy?
1. Why is it difficult to implement green supply chain initiatives? Discuss with examples from practice.
2. Discuss a carbon footprint measurement initiative of a company. What metrics has the company designed?
3. What could be the potential inventory management problems with respect to returned products? What new challenges does it throw up for the focal firm? Discuss.
1. How can government regulations play an important role in forcing firms to undertake green initiatives?
2. “Societies are demanding more responsible supply chains”. Comment on the statement using observations from global supply chains.
1. Evaluate the performance of the Kurlon supply chain? What are the causes of the problems faced by Kurlon?
2. Evaluate the performance of the Delhi area office on the supply chain dimension? For your analysis you may like to focus on SDL 72 × 35 × 4.
3. What is your evaluation of the company’s planning processes?
1. What specific actions do you recommend to Narendra Kudva to address supply chain performance problems?
2. Identify the key challenges faced by the Baroda Union. How important is in-bound logistics for Baroda Union?
3. Suggest a suitable approach that Baroda Union can use for designing efficient routes for milk collection.
1.What kind of conflicts are these revised routes likely to create at Baroda dairy? How should Baroda Union handle these issues?
2. In what way will the problem of designing optimal vehicle schedules be affected by the nature of ownership (corporate sector vis-à-vis co-operative dairy like Baroda Union)?
1.If you were Jagdish Patel, what would you do?
2. As Saloni Yashpal, what would you do to address the wood logistics problem? Where would you focus your attention and solution efforts?
3. What options exist? What would you recommend? Why?
4. In what way the simulation exercise suggested by Saloni Yashpal would help APR in attacking the wood logistics problem?
1. What is the impact of railway gauge conversion (from metre gauge to broad gauge) on Dalmia Cement’s distribution operations?
2. What should be the optimal transport mode mix for Dalmia Cement?
3. Suggest ways in which Dalmia can get assured supply of trucks throughout the year.
1. Should Dalmia change its transport policy and manage a fleet of trucks on its own for its distribution function?
2. Why was Dalmia Cement exploring the option of moving from pack to stock to pack to order strategy? What conflicts or barriers internal to Dalmia would the pack to order strategy create? How should Dalmia Cement handle these issues?
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