DISC 6301

   Production and Operations Management


Spring 2003



Instructor:         Dr. Elizabeth Anderson-Fletcher

Office:              350-G Melcher Hall

Telephone:        (713) 743-4740  

e-mail:              EFletcher@uh.edu 

WebCT:           www.uh.edu/webct

Office Hours:    by appointment


Course Objective:

This is a practical course in solving operations problems in manufacturing and service organizations. Examples of these problems include forecasting demand, choosing business locations, managing manufacturing and distribution inventories, improving product and service quality, scheduling production and staffing, and managing projects.  The text and lecture notes will provide a theoretical basis and illustrate the practical application of operations management concepts.  Harvard Business School cases will be used to explore strategic issues in operations management.   


Course Materials:    

1.                  Chase, R. B., Aquilano, N. J., and Jacobs, R. R., Operations Management for Competitive Advantage (9th Edition), Irwin McGraw-Hill, 2000—available at University Center Bookstore.

2.                  Harvard Business School Cases—available at University Center Bookstore:

a.       Steinway & Sons (9-682-025)

b.      Shouldice Hospital Limited (9-683-068)

c.       New Balance Athletic Shoes (9-680-110)

d.      Sorenson Research Company (9-677-257)

e.       GE Thermocouple Manufacturing (A) (9-684-040

f.        Microsoft Corp.:  Office Business Unit (9-691-033)

g.       Motorola, Inc.:  Bandit Pager Project (9-690-043)

h.       The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (9-699-025)

3.                  Lecture Notes (PowerPoint Presentations)—available online using WebCT

4.         Solutions to Suggested Problems—available online using WebCT

5.         Spreadsheet Models—available online using WebCT


Grading Policy:

Case Reports (4 out of 5)                     40%

Exam I (February 25)                          30%

Exam II  (April 22)                               30%




WebCT will be used in this class to distribute the lecture notes (PowerPoint presentations), the Spreadsheet Models, and the solutions to suggested problems in the text.  To access WebCT for this class, please obtain a WebCT ID and login on the following web site: http://www.uh.edu/webct.  If you have questions about WebCT or need technical assistance, you can click on the “get help” link on the WebCT website, call the help-line at 713-743-1411 (M-F 8am-8pm), or visit the IT Support Center in room 56 of the library (M-F 8am-8pm). 


Class Preparation:

Reading assignments should be completed prior to the first class day devoted to a particular topic. After class, you should work any suggested homework problems in the text, review the topics using the CD-ROM included with your text, and review problems in the lecture notes covered that day.  In addition to working problems by hand, practice using the Spreadsheet Models provided by the instructor to gain a better understanding of solution techniques.  Problems will not be graded but will help you prepare for the examinations.  If a case does not require a report, you are expected to read the case before class, prepare answers to the suggested case questions, and be ready to participate in class discussion.  Suggested questions for case analysis are provided below.


Team Case Reports:

There are five (5) written team case reports.  The lowest grade will be dropped so that four (4) case reports count 10% each (40% total) in the final grade.  Each member of the team will receive the grade assigned to the group report.  Use the suggested questions provided for each case to guide you in your analysis.  Identify the problems and opportunities facing management, analyze alternative courses of action, and make specific recommendations to management.  You can utilize many of the Spreadsheet Models to assist in quantitative analysis for the cases.  Make sure to state your assumptions and provide model results (graph or table) in your exhibits to back up your points.


Two factors are equally important in case grades:  (1) writing and presentation and (2) analysis and recommendations to management.  The text should be between four and five pages, single-spaced. Use headings and subheadings throughout to better organize your report.  In addition to the text, attach as many exhibits as necessary to justify your points.  Refer to your exhibits in the text of the report and make sure that the reader can understand the report without having to stop and work through an exhibit.  On the title page please list all group members in addition to the team name.  Make sure to number your pages and proofread your document thoroughly.  Do not bind the case or put in a folder—a simple staple will do.  A suggested format for case reports is as follows.


1.      Introduction (brief)

2.      Analysis

3.      Recommendations to Management

4.      Conclusions and Future Research


Academic Honesty:

The University of Houston academic honesty policy will be strictly enforced.  No violations of this policy will be tolerated in this course.  A discussion of the policy is included in the University of Houston student handbook.  Students are expected to be familiar with this policy.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

The College of Business would like to help students with disabilities achieve their highest potential. To this end, in order to receive accommodation on exams or assignments, students must make arrangements with their instructor prior to the exam or assignment.  It is recommended that students with disabilities learn about their rights and responsibilities from the Center for Students with Disabilities (713-743-5400).



Suggested Questions for Case Analysis




1.      What accounts for Steinway’s reputation as a manufacturer of high quality pianos?

2.      What are the pros and cons of introducing the model K?

3.      Should Steinway introduce the model K?



1.      How successful is the Shouldice Hospital?

2.      How do you account for its performance?

3.      As Dr. Shouldice, what actions, if any, would you take to expand the hospital’s capacity?

4.      How would you implement changes you propose?



1.      What are the company’s production and marketing strategies?  Are they compatible?  Does the location decision affect these strategies?

2.      What is a reasonable demand forecast for New Balance for the year?  For the next two years?

3.      Which location option would you choose?  Why?



1.      What are the problems Sorenson Research is faced with?  What are the causes of those problems?

2.      What alternatives are available for dealing with the inventory-related problems?  What is your evaluation of these alternatives?

3.      What actions should Sorenson take?

4.      What lessons regarding management of the supply chain can other organizations learn from Sorenson?



1.      As William Draper, what plan of action would you adopt after the meeting on February 8, 1982?  Be specific about the things you will try to get your own people to do and how you will manage their activities.  Also be specific about the changes you will try to get Division management to make and how you will persuade them to make the changes.

2.      As Philip Renquist, Vice President responsible for all of Wilmington’s operations, how would you react to the changes that William Draper is proposing?



1.      What is your assessment of the WinWord project?  Why did it take so long?

2.      Evaluate Microsoft’s development process.  What are its weaknesses?  Strengths?

3.      Why is the company so successful?  Do you think it will remain successful?

4.      How should Microsoft’s development process evolve in the future?  What specific suggestions would you have for the company?

5.      What should Raikes do with respect to the next generation WinWord project?



1.       What are the most important lessons that the organization should learn from the Bandit Pager project?  How would you tell if the organization had in fact learned those lessons?

2.       What areas offer the greatest opportunity for leveraging that learning and applying it in the future?  Be specific as to the actions and efforts that might be pursued to realize this potential.

3.       How would you recommend Motorola organize and manage its approach to “learning across projects”?  Be specific as to who should do what and the resources that will be required.  How would you implement your plan?



1.      What caused the error leading to the patient’s death?

2.      How should the hospital respond to this incident?

3.      What should be done to prevent errors from occurring in the future?

4.      How should service organizations in general failsafe their systems?



                                               Class Schedule



CLASS 1—Tuesday, January 14

Topics:             Introduction to Operations Management, Operations Strategy  

Reading:           Text Chapters 1, 2

Problems:         none

Case:                none


CLASS 2—Tuesday January 21

Topics:             Operations Strategy (cont.), Forecasting

Reading:           Text Chapter 11

Problems:         (complete after class)  Chapter 11:  #2 (a,b,c), 3, 4(deseasonalize only), 13

Case:                Steinway & Sons (no case report due)


CLASS 3—Tuesday, January 28

Topics:             Forecasting (cont.), Facility Location

Reading:           Text Technical Note (TN) 9

Problems:         TN 9:  #2

Case:                New Balance Athletic Shoes (Case Report #1 due)


CLASS 4—Tuesday, February 4

Topics:             Facility Layout

Reading:           Text Chapter 5, TN 5

Problems:         TN 5:  #3, 4, 8, 10

Case:                Shouldice Hospital (Case Report #2 due)


CLASS 5—Tuesday, February 11

Topics: Supply Chain Management, Distribution Inventories

Reading:           Text Chapters 8, 13

Problems:         Chapter 13:  #4, 8, 12, 13

Case:                Sorenson Research Company (Case Report #3 due) 


CLASS 6—Tuesday, February 18

Topics:             Aggregate Production Planning, Manufacturing Inventories

Reading:           Text Chapters 12, 14

Problems:         Chapter 14:  #3, 4

Case:                none


CLASS 7—Tuesday, February 25



CLASS 8—Tuesday, March 11

Topics:             Manufacturing Inventories (cont.), Just-in-Time Production Systems

Reading:           Text Chapter 10

Problems:         none

Case:                GE Thermocouple  (no case report due)


CLASS 9—Tuesday, March 18

Topics:             Just-in-Time Production Systems (cont.), Production and Operations Scheduling          

Reading:           Text Chapter 15

Problems:         Chapter 15:  #4, 13, 14

Case:                none


CLASS 10—Tuesday, March 25

Topic:               Project Management

Reading:           Text Chapter 3

Problems:         Chapter 3:  #2, 5, 8, 10

Case:                Microsoft Corp.:  Office Bus. Unit  (Case Report #4 due)


CLASS 11—Tuesday, April 1

Topic:               Total Quality Management

Reading:           Text Chapter 7

Problems:         none

Case:                none


CLASS 12—Tuesday, April 8

Topic:               Statistical Quality Control

Reading:           Text TN 7

Problems:         TN 7:  #3, 8

Case:                Motorola Inc.:  Bandit Pager Project  (Case Report #5 due)


CLASS 13—Tuesday, April 15

Topic:               Service Operations Management

Reading:           Text Chapter 6, TN 6

Problems:         none

Case:                The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (no case report due)


CLASS 14—Tuesday, April 22