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Guest Post: Lobsters, Shrinkage, Process, and the Supply Chain

January 21, 2021

Our Guest Post today comes from Howard Weiss, Professor of Operations Management Emeritus at Temple University.

In Chapter 12’s discussion of inventory, your Heizer/Render/Munson textbook discusses shrinkage and notes that shrinkage is “inventory that is unaccounted for between receipt and time of sale, and occurs due to damage and theft as well as sloppy paperwork.” Shrinkage does not have to occur at any one particular facility but can occur at multiple points throughout the supply chain. A prime example of this is what happens with lobsters.

The usual steps in getting a live lobster from Maine to a restaurant are:
 Catch the lobster in a lobster trap
 Transfer the lobster to the to the ship’s storage well
 Transport the lobster to storage at the wharf
 Truck the lobsters to a dealer
 Transport the lobster to a restaurant
Shrinkage occurs because lobsters die as they move through the supply chain. Each 1% in shrinkage equates to a $5,000,000 loss in sales.

The goal of Process Analysis, as explained in Chapter 7, is to “continuously improve the process.” Currently, researchers at the University of Maine are doing just that by studying the above supply chain in order to try to reduce the time involved in any of the steps and determine which steps would give the greatest benefit if the time is reduced.

Of course, not all lobsters are shipped live and follow the steps above. Some lobsters are euthanized then sent to a processing plant where tails are separated from the rest of the lobster which is processed to produce raw lobster meat. In addition, during the pandemic some fisherman have resorted to selling the lobsters directly to local restaurants or consumers.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. What factors would be important when shipping live lobsters?
  2. What Ch.7 process analysis tool would be most useful for improving the process?

Teaching Tip: Must-Dos Before Teaching Your Next Online OM Class

January 20, 2021

 While new campus lockdowns and delayed school openings haven’t marked an ideal start to the year, they have reinforced what we likely all knew: online teaching is here to stay. As you reconnect your webcam and ready yourself for the upcoming months of teaching to faces in Zoom boxes, Jay, Chuck, and I want to share an online teaching framework and helpful tips from Harvard B School’s Faculty Lounge (Jan. 18, 2021) called REMOTE. It stands for Reactions, Eye contact, Manageable, Organized, Thoughtful, and Engagement —all critical facets of ensuring a successful online class.

Reactions: Encourage students to use facial expressions or gestures to indicate whether they agree or disagree with what is being said in class. If students can’t access their video, they can use chat functions, polls, or emojis to share their reactions.

Eye Contact: Prioritize personal connections. Have the video of the student who is speaking right in front of you. That way, students feel like you’re looking and talking right to them.

Manageable: Keep your setup simple and practice, practice, practice.  Do what makes you best able to credibly deliver the value that you are used to delivering.
Organized: Plan for less and be prepared. Have everything nearby, all queued up and ready to go before class: the specific agenda for the class, any materials—slides, polls, etc.—that you want to use, and a list of students you plan to call on.
Thoughtful: Be considerate of your students’ needs. Online, we need to be more thoughtful about every action we take and how our students are experiencing it.
Engagement: Keep things exciting—but don’t overdo it. Be sure to mix things up. You don’t need fancy pyrotechnics in every single session, and you don’t need to fill every moment of an online course with something new and exciting. For example, one day you might use a PowerPoint slide as your online board and the next day you may use an iPad or a flipchart because you plan to sketch a more complex idea.



OM in the News: Capacity Problems for Chip Makers

January 17, 2021

Semiconductor companies are asking their customers for patience as the industry works through a sharp increase in demand from makers of everything from cars to consumer electronics. But there is no quick fix to the situation. As we point out in Supp. 7, Capacity and Constraint Management, adding new chip-making machinery is expensive and slow. And some of the deepest supply problems are taking place with older production lines that are less lucrative for manufacturers. In the whole semiconductor industry there is very little spare capacity right now, reports The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 15, 2021).

Demand for laptops has skyrocketed, and remote work during the Covid-19 era has increased appetite for cloud-computing and their data centers. Plus a surge in demand for chips that go into new 5G phones has put a squeeze on capacity. This chip shortage will likely last through 2022.

Ford said it was idling a factory in Kentucky because of chip shortages

With chip plants effectively running all out already, auto makers and consumer-electronics manufacturers are competing for every bit of limited manufacturing capacity. The car industry was among the first to be hit. VW is reducing production at its factories in China, Mexico, Tennessee and Germany. And in the face of the shortages, GM just asked suppliers to stockpile a year’s worth of chips.

The auto industry bears some responsibility for failing to place orders early enough in anticipation of the demand recovery. Over the past 2 decades it has become one of the largest consumers of computer chips, rivaling the PC industry, as cars become increasingly powered by software. Chips now power everything from engines and emissions control to brakes, A/C, windows, and a growing array of sophisticated safety features such as automatic lane control and crash avoidance.

The production cycles for chips are long, and the development cycles are even longer. Lead times across the chip industry have risen to 6-10 months, from 8-10 weeks before the pandemic.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. Which time horizon in Figure S7.1 is impacting the chip industry’s capacity options?
  2. What tactics might the industry employ to adjust capacity to demand? (Hint: see p. 312 in your Heizer/Render/Munson text).

OM in the News: ZIM Shipping’s Competitive Advantage

January 13, 2021

Israeli container ship operator ZIM Shipping is turning its small size into an advantage in a business dominated by outsize carriers running megaships in global supply chains, writes The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 7, 2021). The company is touting its “flexibility and agility” to capitalize on the surging demand from retailers looking to circumvent shipping logjams by using premium-priced, point-to-point services.

ZIM controls just 1.5% of global container capacity. The company competes against ship operators 10 times its size and that have grouped into 3 global operating alliances. Those 3 groups, including giants such as A.P. Moller-Maersk of Denmark, CMA CGM of France and China’s Cosco, collectively handled 83% of all seaborne imports into the U.S. last year.

“Our small size is now an advantage,” said ZIM’s CEO. “Our competitors use big vessels and operate on volumes and quantities. We are offering custom services to loyal customers that are willing to pay a premium for speed and reliability.”

ZIM’s biggest ships can move a maximum of 12,000 containers, roughly half of what is stacked on the ultralarge vessels operated by the sector’s leaders. Backups at ports have been keeping many of those behemoths waiting for days outside major ports, pushing back deliveries and saddling cargo owners with delay charges on top of record-high freight rates. ZIM’s smaller ships present higher charter-market flexibility and agility to redeploy across different routes, a significant benefit in times of volatile or uncertain market dynamics.

Airfreight services typically cost far more than ocean freight but offer rapid transport in exchange. The gap in delivery times, which can amount to several weeks in normal times, has narrowed because the grounding of passenger jets has left shippers waiting for space in capacity-strained aviation markets. “The regular air service is 5-6 days,” ZIM’s CEO said. “A number of clients wait for 5 more days and use our ships. They save 80% of the airfreight cost.”

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. What are the 3 ways firms can gain competitive advantage? (Hint: see Ch. 2 in your Heizer/Render/Munson OM text).
  2. What is ZIM’s strategy and why is it working?

OM in the News: Manufacturing’s Circular Economy

January 10, 2021

With a raging pandemic, disrupted supply chains, and a growing scarcity of raw materials, 2021 will present serious challenges to the global manufacturing industry. American Machinist (Jan. 6, 2021)  sees a renewed resolve among manufacturers to focus on sustainability and join the circular economy the strategic effort to eliminate waste and the maintain a continual use of resources. Manufacturers are approaching the circular economy model by rethinking how they design and produce their products with as little waste as possible, how they ship them, and how they approach the growing after-market repair and recycling market.

The circular economy is putting pressure on companies to reexamine their business processes; not only to improve quality and profitability, but because an efficient supply chain consumes less energy, uses fewer resources, and produces less waste. In short, gearing production toward sustainability is good business.

One example is DyeCoo, a textile company that has partnerships with Nike and IKEA, has developed a water-free process for dyeing. Using highly pressurized, recyclable carbon dioxide instead of water, the company can produce its product in half the time, using a fraction of the energy of traditional methods. Another example is Cambrian Innovation. This U.S. company treats wastewater contaminated by industrial processes, not only turning it into clean water, but even producing biogas that can be used to generate clean energy.

Manufacturers also will need to reengineer, and in some cases reimagine, their products. This means building for longevity in a sustainable business plan. If you are a lighting fixture manufacturer selling light as a service to an airport, you will want to produce lightbulbs to last long as possible, to maximize ‘uptime’ and revenue.

 Manufacturers are also taking serviceability into account in the design phase. Consider Dell and its Latitude laptop computers, which have been designed with recycling in mind. Using removable batteries, standardized fasteners, and by eliminating mercury and adhesives, Dell is able to produce laptops that are 97% recyclable.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. How does Supp. 5 in your Heizer/Render/Munson OM text define “circular economy?”
  2. Provide examples of how product design teams can use alternative materials to improve sustainability.

Guest Post: How Agility Helped Supply Chains Survive 2020

January 7, 2021

Our Guest Post comes from Polly Mitchell-Guthrie, VP of Industry Outreach and Thought Leadership at Kinaxis (at

Pop quiz: What disrupted supply chains more in 2020, supply or demand?

I posed this question at the start of the many virtual guest lectures I gave to classes in 2020 to illustrate that supply chains are not all the same, but that regardless agility was sure to be a key factor in response.

Some students chose demand, having experienced bare grocery shelves. Some answered supply, thinking of shutdowns in China. I shared stories from customers of the supply chain management software company where I work to illustrate the variation along with the common thread of agility.

Demand skyrocketed for some consumer packaged goods, but less obvious were spikes in other
industries. Biopharmaceutical company Ipsen didn’t anticipate demand shifts, since they make
specialty drugs for oncology, neurology, and rare diseases, but they experienced erratic
increases. A high-tech customer saw demand drop precipitously, but no one foresaw the move
to working from home, which then drove their demand through the roof. In contrast industries
like automotive, aerospace, and apparel saw demand disappear.

Most companies felt supply disruptions, from their own production shutdowns or their
suppliers. Lead times increased, some suppliers were temporarily (or permanently unavailable),
and sourcing new suppliers wasn’t easy. Distance made quality and cybersecurity harder to
manage. And some companies were whipsawed by both demand and supply.

The ability to anticipate disrupted demand, quickly substitute supply nodes, and readjust
balance was critical. Scenario planning usage took off as companies sought to rebalance by
making the best decisions for their entire supply chain, not just by the functional silos of
demand, supply, inventory, etc. Planning cycles shortened from weeks to days. Agility was
critical to survival, which is why agility is one of 3 reasons supply chains can’t afford to wait to invest in building this muscle now.

Guest Post: Forecasting and COVID

January 3, 2021
Our Guest Post comes from recently retired Temple U. Professor Howard Weiss, creator of our POM and ExcelOM software

There have been many articles and blogs written about the effect that COVID-19 is having on operations. One of the major areas that needs to be addressed is forecasting. Many companies rely on time-series forecasting as indicated in Chapter 4 of your textbook, but COVID-19 has caused the demand for some products to fall sharply, the demand for other products to rise sharply and the demand for other products to have temporary spikes mainly due to hoarding. Examples of each are in the figure and table below.

Using any of the time-series methods in these situations will cause the forecasts for 2021 and beyond to be incorrect. To overcome these problems one needs to look at using a different method or try to adapt the time-series method by replacing the outliers with demands that are more reasonable to assume had COVID not been a factor.

As the forecasting chapter indicates, rather than looking at past demand the forecasting method “may
be a subjective or intuitive prediction. It may be based on demand-driven data, such as a customer plans to purchase and projecting them into the future. Or the forecast may involve a combination of these, that is, a mathematical model adjusted by a manager’s good judgement.”

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. How could you modify the data outliers if you want to adjust a time-series method?
  2. If you change the method during COVID, how would you measure the quality of the forecast when using a new technique?

OM in the News: The “Regionalization” of Supply Chains

December 29, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic snarled the world’s sprawling supply chains for months, shutting factories, disrupting shipping and making it difficult for companies to get products from factories to consumers. Now, many companies are considering changing the model to avoid future product shortages and transportation delays, even if it might increase costs. Some are looking at moving production closer to home. Others are considering spreading small factories around the world instead of putting all their manufacturing in one place.

The idea is called “regionalization.” It involves sourcing components or setting up factories in multiple parts of the world at once, and then using each region to supply products to customers in the closest markets. If a factory is closed due to a disruption in one place, it will only impact sales in a few nearby markets, without affecting customers elsewhere. But “a world of more diversified supply chains almost certainly will be less efficient,” states one economist in The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 28, 2020).

A factory that makes automotive parts in China’s Shandong province

The U.S.-China trade war left many companies wary of concentrating too much production in one place—often Asia—in a race to keep costs low. The disruption from the coronavirus pandemic reinforced the feeling that the caution was warranted. Recently,  93% of executives told McKinsey & Co. they would explore a potential overhaul of their supply chains.

Setting up new supply chains is expensive, and the incentive to keep production in low-cost countries could be overwhelming. It has proven particularly tough to diversify away from China, whose factories reopened quickly in the spring, while other countries struggle to control the virus.

Classroom discussion questions:

1.What are the four global OM strategy options discussed in Ch. 2 of your Heizer/Render/Munson text?

2, What are the advantages and disadvantages of “regionalization?”

OM in the News: What Texas Wants for Christmas

December 25, 2020

The answer: More California companies to relocate to what Texas claims is the more business-friendly state. Oracle and HP are the latest big corporations to announce moves to the Lone Star State. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is also moving to Texas, and the electric car company is expanding there.

The announcements have highlighted the vastly different tax and regulatory systems in the country’s two most populous states, writes The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 17, 2020). California relies more on taxing personal income, particularly of high-income households, and operates a growing regulatory structure. Texas leans on more regressive property and sales taxes and boasts a more laissez-faire environment. The biggest difference: High-paid executives who move can see their state income-tax bills go from 13.3% to nothing.

Austin houses the powerful attraction of the U. of Texas

Moves by high-profile companies to Texas from California are not only likely to improve the personal finances of executives, but also offer employees more affordable housing and lighten regulatory burdens. For companies, much of the difference between California and Texas boils down to ease and cost of hiring—not just now but down the road. Companies have grown frustrated with the cost of attracting and keeping employees, as living expenses soar in California, and as regulatory mandates expand. “The compounding effects of California’s economic and political environment is making it more difficult to run a business effectively,” said one industry expert.

The Tax Foundation puts Texas 11th in its ranking of state business-tax climates, with California 49th. The biggest factor—outweighing any change in business taxes—is likely to be the lower cost of employing workers in the state. For most employees, that calculation is about housing costs.

Classroom discussion questions:
1. What other factors mentioned in Ch.8 (Location Strategies) affect location decisions?

2. How is “clustering” an advantage to both of these states?

OM in the News: Globalization in Retreat?

December 21, 2020

Globalization was a key driver of the world economy in the 1990s and 2000s. But global value chains—the spread of supply networks across countries—ceased expanding after the 2009 financial crisis. This year, the arrival of the pandemic has had a devastating impact on economic activity around the world, writes The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 17, 2020), and global trade has shrunk by 9.2%.

China remains an export powerhouse but has turned inward. Exports as a share of its GDP have fallen from 31% in 2008 to 17% in 2019. China is not alone. Nationalism has become a stronger force around the world, and with it economic nationalism. Indian Prime Minister Modi has a “Make in India” campaign. President Trump touts “Buy American” policies. 

The Indian government offers incentives to large smartphone brands to make their products there.

Other concerns about globalization relate to national security. The U.S.-China relationship has soured partly because of fears that the security of advanced technology products, from drones to microchips, might have been compromised by the Chinese authorities. The U.S. is not alone in worrying that Chinese technology is suspect, as the controversy over Huawei and the security of its telecom equipment shows. Japan has begun investigating how to break its supply-chain dependence on China and produce more at home.

And many countries have been asking whether they have become too dependent on others for essential medical supplies and medicines of which they might be deprived in an emergency. Some temporary export bans were imposed over fears about inadequate domestic supplies of medical equipment, PPEs, and drugs. Attitudes have changed. President Macron of France believes that the coronavirus “will change the nature of globalization, with which we have lived for the past 40 years,” adding that it was “clear that this kind of globalization was reaching the end of its cycle.”

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. In Ch. 2 (p. 33) of your Heizer/Render/Munson text, we identify 6 reasons why companies globalize. Which, if any of these, are changing if this WSJ article is on target?
  2. What are the main factors driving this “retreat?”

OM in the News: Made in America–Again

December 18, 2020

Looking to 2021 and beyond, there is more reason for hope in U.S. manufacturing than at any time since the 1990s, reports The Wall Street Journal (Dec 17, 2020). Three major themes are gaining traction that will carry manufacturing to new prosperity: a quick recovery from the recession; localization of supply chains (onshoring); and technological advancements that level the playing field between the U.S. and low-cost countries.

U.S. manufacturing lost its lead some time ago. Lack of sustained investment, noncompetitive labor rates and degrading infrastructure opened the door for low-cost countries, notably China, to take the lead as manufacturers shifted production overseas. The end result was an industrial sector that leaked jobs and fell behind in technology. So why a turnaround?

N95 face masks being made at a GM plant in Mich. The auto maker started processing face masks in response to the pandemic.

First, the industry is poised to emerge from the Covid-19 recession much more quickly and robustly than it usually does from downturns.  Data are overwhelmingly supportive of an industrial economy on the mend. With low interest rates and rising order books, manufacturers are boosting investments in both factories and new products.

Second, pre-pandemic, there was already a rising concern around supply-chain risks. Companies that a decade ago felt comfortable as suppliers consolidated and centralized—often solely in China—began to lose faith in globalization and made plans to onshore. Firms began to see that shipping intermediary products halfway around the world and often back again was no longer productive. These concerns were elevated to near panic as supply chains shut down in the early days of Covid. High-profile shortages, such as the lack of PPE, served as a broader wake-up call for the localization of supply-chains.

Third, automation and other technologies are almost at the point where the U.S. can produce the same quantity of product with half of the employees that would be needed in a similar factory in China. And advancements are accelerating. With progress in data analytics, low cost cloud computing and AI, the American factory is evolving into a new age. 

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. Chapter 1 in your Heizer/Render/Munson OM text describes 3 productivity variables. How does each apply in this article?
  2. What other current problems have encouraged the localization of supply chains?

Teaching Tip: New Cases in MyOMLab for Spring

December 15, 2020

Because its not easy to teach and grade OM case studies in an online format, we have added a new feature for the spring term. There are now 27 case studies loaded in MyOMLab–each with 4 multiple choice questions–that you can assign and have graded automatically. Just go to “Create Assignment,” then under Question Source, click “Show Case Study Questions.”

Here is the list of cases from which you can choose:

Ch.1 Zychol Chemical*

Ch. 2 Rapid-Lube

Ch.3 Southwestern University: A*

Ch.4 Southwestern University: B

Ch.5 DeMar’s Product Strategy

Ch.6 Southwestern University: C and Westover Electrical*

Supp. 6 Bayfield Mud Co.

Ch.7 Rochester Manufacturing’s Process Decision

Supp. 7 Southwestern University’s Food Services*

Ch.8 Southern Recreational Vehicle Co.

Ch.9 State Automobile License Renewals

Ch. 10 Jackson Manufacturing Co.

Ch. 11 Premier Bicycle’s Covid Problem–a brand new case set in 2020

Supp. 11 JIT After a Catastrophe

Ch.12 Zhou Bicycle Co.

Ch. 13 Andrew Carter Inc.

Ch. 14 Hill’s Automotive Inc.

Ch. 15 Old Oregon Wood Store

Ch. 16 Mutual Insurance of Ohio*

Ch. 17 Worldwide Chemical Co.*

Module A Tom Thompson’s Liver Transplant

Module B Coastal States Chemical*

Module C Custom Vans Inc.

Module D New England Foundry

Module E SMT’s Negotiations With IBM

Module F Alabama Airlines

Cases with an * have appeared in our Multimedia Library (click case study). All others appear in the text, and can, of course, be assigned with discussion questions.

OM in the News: The Last Vaccine Mile is a Long One

December 13, 2020

The U.K. became the first Western nation to start immunizing its residents from the coronavirus this week. But the speed of authorization and implementation of the program are being tempered by the reality of getting the delicate Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine to the most vulnerable, reports The Wall Street Journal (Dec,11. 2020).

Reaching the housebound and those in nursing homes is a challenge that offers a cautionary tale for U.S. health officials as they contemplate their own rollout. The main reason is that the conditions needed for the vaccine’s storage aren’t usually found in long-term care facilities. The vaccine must be kept at temperatures of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit and once thawed, used within 2 hours if at room temperature–certainly a Chapter 11 logistics management problem if there ever was one. Another challenge is that the vials holding the vaccine come in packs of 975 and must all be used once opened—nursing home providers say no elderly-care residence exists in the U.K. with so many residents.

Michael Tibbs, 99, was given the Covid-19 vaccine Dec. 8th in Portsmouth, England.

The vaccine must be turned upside down—but not shaken— and returned to resting before it is given. The delicate technology it contains, named messenger RNA, is so new that Pfizer is still running stability studies to work out whether it can be stored for longer periods at warmer temperatures. The clock starts ticking as soon as they thaw the vials and they have 12 hours to complete the pack down, label the boxes and then get the vials to the mobile teams and into care homes.

Distributing a biological product, which requires kid-glove treatment, to the hardest-to-reach corners of Britain has “very significant logistical challenges,” said a government minister.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. A few OM issues are discussed in this WSJ article. Identify other major distribution problems we are sure to face.
  2. What can governments and/or citizens do to assist in implementing/administering the vaccine?

OM in the News: Apple’s “Goldilocks” Product Strategy

December 10, 2020

Apple this year released 5 new iPhone models, the most in the device’s history. Apple started in 2007 with one iPhone but soon established a “good-better-best” strategy, where budget and premium products flank “Goldilocks” options.

For years, the company did this by keeping older models around at slashed prices, writes The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 7, 2020). But recently, it has introduced more new options at various price tiers. This year’s lineup ranged from the $399 late-adopter-targeted iPhone SE to the feature-packed $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max—with a “just right” iPhone 12 in the middle. The company also gave Apple Watch shoppers 3 tiers of options for the first time.

While it may be more confusing for consumers to navigate the price and quality differences between the models, this kind of price ladder is strategic and ubiquitous—from airliner cabins to gas pumps.

The trick with offering multiple versions of a product is to offer enough to help people identify their own strike price but not enough to overwhelm them. “Apple is best at this,” said one industry expert, “creating variation between models in the number of camera lenses and the different levels of storage capacity. The ‘good’ option gives firms the opportunity to keep customers within the brand, for those who face economic pressure to downsize their lifestyle.” 

The WSJ article also looked at a $275 bread-baking appliance sold by Williams-Sonoma. When the retailer added a second model, similar to the first but larger and more expensive at $429, sales of the cheaper model doubled. Peloton employed a similar strategy with its new 2-tiered bike offering. When the company released a new stationary Bike+ for $2,495—with a bigger screen and more powerful software—it marked its original bike down to $1,895, from $2,245. Covid-19 has led to an explosion of demand for connected bikes as gyms closed–and Peloton’s sales jumped 172% compared with last year.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. In Chapter 5, we discuss product life cycles (see p.164-5). Where do the Apple 6 Plus, 8 Plus, 11, and 12 Pro fall?
  2. Why does Apple launch new products so frequently?

OM in the News: Hacking the Covid Vaccine Supply Chain

December 7, 2020

Cyber attackers have targeted the cold supply chain needed to deliver Covid-19 vaccines, reports Financial Times (Dec. 3, 2020).  The hackers appeared to be trying to disrupt or steal information about the vital processes to keep vaccines cold as they travel from factories to hospitals and doctors’ offices. The attacks highlight the importance of cyber security diligence at each step in the vaccine supply chain.

Many of the Covid-19 vaccines have to be kept cold to keep them from spoiling. Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine must be kept between -70C and -80C, while Moderna’s needs to be transported at minus 20C. 

Hackers appeared to be trying to disrupt the vital processes to keep vaccines cold

IBM’s head of threat intelligence said he believed the hackers were either looking to disrupt the vaccine delivery process or steal intellectual property.  “One side of it is cyber espionage: How do you get vaccines out? How is the manufacturing process working for refrigeration? How are you managing the entire logistics chain? There’s also potential for disruption, being able to launch attacks that disrupt vaccines, and their distribution to undermine trust in them.” He added that it was vital to treat the vaccine supply chain as “a new type of global critical infrastructure” to help them secure the products that could help end the pandemic.  “These refrigeration companies are not going to have the same security tools that advanced financial institutions have.”

No matter who conducted the attacks, they underscore how everything about coronavirus vaccines — how to make them, test them and move them — has become vital information around the globe. A year ago, nations including Russia and China were focusing their covert efforts on stealing secrets about missiles and AI advances; 6 months ago, intelligence agencies shifted their focus to obtaining, or defending, proprietary vaccine research.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. List all of the major risks that vaccine supply chains face. ( Hint: see Table 11.3 on p. 480 of your Heizer/Render/Munson OM text).
  2. Which of the 10 OM decisions (that the text is structured around in Table 1.2) are involved in vaccine preparation and delivery?