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 Operations Strategy  posted by  duggu   on 12/9/2007  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Rosenfield, Donald, and Dror Sharon, 15.769 Operations Strategy, Fall 2005. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare),  (Accessed 10 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Installing body wiring on the Cadillac assembly line.

Workers performing their specific duties in the Cadillac assembly line. (Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration.)

Course Highlights

This course features a bibliography for the readings used in the course, as well as selected lecture notes.

Course Description

The class provides a unifying framework for analyzing strategic issues in manufacturing and service operations. Relationships between manufacturing and service companies and their suppliers, customers, and competitors are analyzed. The material also covers decisions in technology, facilities, vertical integration, human resources and other strategic areas. Means of competition such as cost, quality, and innovativeness are explored, together with an approach to make operations decisions in the era of outsourcing and globalization.



This course will address operations strategy by building on the concepts of (1) reengineering and process design developed by Dr. Michael Hammer, (2) manufacturing strategy as developed in the literature, primarily by people at Harvard Business School, and (3) supply chain design and 3-D concurrent engineering literature as developed in Charles Fine’s book, Clockspeed: Winning Industry Control in the Age of Temporary Advantage, Perseus Books, 1999.

The concepts there emphasize the necessity of integrating product strategy, manufacturing strategy, and supply chain strategy. As a result, each of these will be touched upon in the course.

Operations strategy typically examines how manufacturing and operations can be used as sources of competitive advantage. The old view of operations management as the task of maintaining a comparatively static production or service facility has given way to one characterized by a need for renewed flexibility, relentless improvement, and the development of new capabilities at the operating unit level. As the global curtain draws back to expose more and more operations to the mounting pressures of worldwide competition, there are fewer places for laggard operations to hide. The context in which the operations manager now works - a global context facilitated by a high degree of electronic interconnectedness - has changed to one that emphasizes innovative system design and dramatic operations improvement over simple administration.

As a result of this changing environment, the skills required of operations managers have changed as well. The tools of control are now overshadowed by the tools of systems design and operations improvement. Few operations exist today in which information technology (IT) does not play a central role.

In the domain of supply chains, the winds of change are also relentless. In many companies, supply chain decisions were once the domain of procurement managers, many of whom presided of the "intellectual ghettoes" of their companies. Today one need look no further than the remarkable impact of the supply chain design that IBM chose for its first personal computer two decades ago to understand that supply chain design is not a competency to be left to dullards. In fact, if one views supply chain design as the competency of assessing all other capabilities in the value chain -- making choices about which capabilities should be invested in, which should be outsourced, etc. -- then one might argue that supply chain design is the most important competency in the entire organization. (See Clockspeed, Chapter 5.)

This course takes the perspective that supply chain design can have this kind of impact and then attempts to understand how supply chain design considerations should interact with many other organizational functions, such as product design, operations strategy, logistics, business strategy, etc.

Grading and Class Project

The course will use readings, cases, and class discussions to build understanding of these issues. Course requirements are to show up prepared for class, to contribute to class discussion, and to work in a group to develop and deliver (paper and presentation) a class session on a topic related to the course. Course grades will be assigned by weighting class participation 50% and the group project 50%.

The class project will require a group paper (.doc file) and presentation (.ppt file) at the end of the term. Ideally we would like to find a day when we could devote a day (perhaps offsite) to do this (partly in exchange for canceling several classes during the term). This mode was used effectively in Spring 2002. 

Finally, we will devote a day in class where when each student/group will give a one-slide presentation on project ideas. More will be said on this in class.



  CLASS #       TOPICS  
  1       Introduction to Operations Strategy  
  2       Process Concepts  
  3       Process Redesign Techniques  
  4       Process Redesign Techniques (continued)  
  5       Idea Marketplace  
  6       Process Identification and Modeling  
  7       Introduction to Clockspeed  
  8       Supply Chain Dynamics/3-DCE  
  9       Clockspeed Concepts (continued)  
  10       Process Enterprises  
  11       Leading Process Redesign  
  12       Process Redesign Methodology  
  13       Process Implementation  
  14       Clockspeed Concepts (continued)  
  15       Strategic Positioning  
  16       Operations Measurement & Improvement  
  17       Operations Measurement & Improvement (continued)  
  18       Supplier Relations  
  19       Capabilities Choice  
  20       Product Process & Supply Chain Design  
  21       Standardizing Operations  
  22       Capabilities Strategy  
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