Tag Archive | Operations Management

5th Production & Operations Management World Conference

I just came back from the 5th Production & Operations Management World Conference, which was held in Havana, Cuba. The P&OM World Conference is co-organized every four years by three leading academic associations which represent the operations management discipline in three regions: EurOMA, JOMSA and POMS. What I really like about the conference is the global networking opportunity it offers. The majority of the 450 participants of this year’s conference was European and I met many friends who use to attend the EurOMA Conferences. But, although the political tensions between Cuba and the U.S. made it a bit complicated for U.S. citizens to travel to Havana, the conference also attracted many participants from the U.S. as well as Japan and other parts of the globe. Many participants were leading OM and SCM academics. The next P&OM World Conference, which should not be confused with the POMS Annual Conference in North America, will be organized by JOMSA.

The Mechanisms of Supply Chain Resilience

Two ingredients are needed to create supply chain resilience (Wieland & Wallenburg, 2013): robustness, which is proactive, and agility, which is reactive. Robustness builds on anticipation “to gain knowledge about potential changes that might occur in the future” and preparedness “to maintain a stable situation”. Agility builds on visibility “to gain knowledge about actual changes that are currently occurring” and speed “to get back to a stable situation”.

Mechanisms of Resilience

Wieland, A., & Wallenburg, C.M. (2013). The Influence of Relational Competencies on Supply Chain Resilience: A Relational View. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 43 (4), 300-320 https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-08-2012-0243

Academic Positions in Supply Chain Management

Are you considering an academic career in supply chain management? A premium resource, dedicated to academic positions in logistics, is the Academic Hiring Survey (pdf), provided by The Ohio State University. Akadeus offers an interesting collection of open positions in business schools worldwide. If you are looking for a teaching or research position in North America, then the following webpages might be helpful: Decision Sciences Institute Placement Services and INFORMS Career Center (both pages contain some positions outside North America, too). In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the most important hub for academic positions at more senior levels is academics.com. Selected logistics/SCM-related positions can be found on the vacancies page of VHB’s WK Logistik (in German, but usually contains offers in English, too). A British webpage about academic employment is jobs.ac.uk; it is not restricted to positions in the UK. SCM positions are also announced on the Logprofs, AOM/OSCM and Transci-Logistics-section mailing lists. Good luck with your application!

A Fourth Star for Germany

So far, Germany has won the FIFA World Cup three times, in 1954, 1974 and 1990, and there is a good chance that it will win it a fourth time this weekend. So, why is this a topic for a supply chain blog? Well, according to a report by Spiegel Online (in German), Adidas has already prepared its supply chain operations and started to put a fourth star, symbolizing the number of World Cup victories, on some of its newly produced Germany soccer jerseys. “We have always believed in the fourth star and prepared ourselves for various scenarios already long before the World Cup”, a spokesperson told the newspaper and added: “We are prepared for a successful outcome. In the case of a possible victory of the Germany national football team, first jerseys with the fourth star will be commercially available in the course of next week.” (It has to be mentioned that Adidas is also prepared for a victory by Argentina.)

Update (2014-07-13): Germany were, indeed, crowned world champions for the fourth time.

Eight Rules for Formal Conceptual Definitions

Theory-building empirical research needs formal conceptual definitions. Particularly, such definitions are necessary conditions for construct validity. But what is a “good” formal conceptual definition? In his seminal JOM paper, A Theory of Formal Conceptual Definitions: Developing Theory-building Measurement Instruments, Wacker (2004) presents eight rules for formal conceptual definitions: (1) “Definitions should be formally defined using primitive and derived terms.” (2) “Each concept should be uniquely defined.” (3) “Definitions should include only unambiguous and clear terms.” (4) “Definitions should have as few as possible terms in the conceptual definition to avoid violating the parsimony virtue of ‘good’ theory.” (5) “Definitions should be consistent within the [general academic] field.” (6) “Definitions should not make any term broader.” (7) “New hypotheses cannot be introduced in the definitions.” (8) “Statistical tests for content validity must be performed after the terms are formally defined.” These rules are explained in detail in Wacker’s article. I am convinced that Wacker’s rules lead to better measurement instruments.

Wacker, J.G. (2004). A Theory of Formal Conceptual Definitions: Developing Theory-building Measurement Instruments. Journal of Operations Management, 22 (6), 629-650 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jom.2004.08.002

Introducing the Journal of Operations Management (Guest Post by the Editors-in-Chief)

In today’s guest post, Thomas Y. Choi and Daniel Guide, Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Operations Management, provide an introduction to their journal, which is a leading journal of our field.

The Journal of Operations Management (JOM) is an empirical journal whose mission is to advance the theories of operations management (OM) and supply chain management (SCM). The goal is to publish original, high quality, OM and SCM empirical research that will have a significant impact on theory and practice. Regular articles accepted for publication in JOM must have clear implications for operations managers based on one or more of a variety of rigorous research methodologies. It is the premier ranked journal, repeatedly ranked above other journals in the discipline. It is one of the OM-SCM focused empirical journals used by both the Financial Times in its rankings of Business Schools as well as by the University of Texas at Dallas in its assessment of scholarship. In terms of citation share, in 2011 JOM was given the following ISI category ranking: 1/73 in “Operations Research & Management Science” and 7/166 in “Management”. The current impact factor (IF) is 4.40 and the five year IF is 7.13.

Thomas Y. Choi is a Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. Daniel Guide is a Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University. They have published their research in numerous academic and managerial journals.

Interesting × Important = Impact

“What is interesting research?” I recently read an essay by Cachon (2012), What Is Interesting in Operations Management?, published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, which starts with just this question. The essay discusses Cachon’s view of “the essential characteristics of interesting research in general and in operations management in particular”. According to him, “[i]nteresting means unexpected—interesting research piques your curiosity, it induces a pause for contemplation, and most importantly, it contradicts how you think about the world”. He also presents a simple rule for an interesting paper: “What was thought to be X is really Y.” Cachon gives several examples that demonstrate how this rule works in the field of operations management and similar examples could easily be found in supply chain management research. Cachon highlights that being interesting is necessary for research, but he also contends that this is not sufficient. To have an impact, research also needs to be important.

Cachon, G.P. (2012). What Is Interesting in Operations Management? Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 14 (2), 166-169 https://doi.org/10.1287/msom.1110.0375

EurOMA Conference Anniversary

This year turns out to be the anniversary year of two of the major SCM-related conferences in Europe. First, as summarized by Gyöngyi in her blog, the NOFOMA was held for the 25th time. Second, the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) just celebrated its 20th International Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland this week. I very much liked Mark Pagell’s keynote address. Herein, Mark compared the North American and European systems of training Ph.D. candidates: Both systems have great strengths (i.e., more methodological training in the U.S.; more involvement of faculty members into everyday life in Europe) and great weaknesses (i.e., Ph.D. candidates in the U.S. are students rather than real faculty members; professors in Europe are employer and supervisor at the same time). As part of the conference, several seminars, workshops, special sessions were held (e.g., publishing workshop). I enjoyed the conference and will definitely join the 21st EurOMA Conference in Palermo, Italy in 2014.

What Are the Best Business Schools?

You are looking for a business school and you do not know where to enroll? A ranking might help. One of these rankings is from Bloomberg Businessweek. As part of their 2013 Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking, they have now published the top 10 business schools in the area of operations management, an area that focuses on “the processes involved in production and everyday business operations, whether on an assembly line, a supply chain, or even something as common as a movie theater queue”. And these are the top 10 undergraduate business schools for operations management in the U.S.: (1) Pennsylvania (Wharton), (2) Washington (Olin), (3) Carnegie Mellon (Tepper), (4) Worcester Polytechnic, (5) Michigan (Ross), (6) North Carolina State (Poole), (7) North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler), (8) Boston U., (9) Georgia Tech (Scheller), (10) Buffalo. As I have discussed for the case of journal rankings some weeks ago, rankings always have advantages and disadvantages and should, therefore, be handled with care. However, Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking can, at least, provide some indications.

Global Manufacturing Outlook 2013

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Manufacturing Outlook 2013, written on behalf of KPMG, is out now. It is based on an international survey of more than 300 senior executives from five industries. The report demonstrates that competitive advantage can be secured by enhancing supply chain networks for efficiency and innovation. Particularly, it is demonstrated that (1) many manufacturers are planning mergers or acquisitions to seize opportunities in global markets, and they plan to exit non-profitable, non-core business units and product lines; (2) many manufacturers are building network relationships with suppliers to become more responsive to market changes; (3) supply chain visibility beyond tier-1 partners can have a positive impact on agility, resilience, and performance; (4) supply chain partnerships, rather than in-house efforts, are increasingly seen as an important source of innovation; and (5) manufacturers are investing in both breakthrough and incremental innovation to ensure competitiveness. In sum, the report highlights the importance of supply chain management for manufacturers.