Recycling reduces costs

I live in Somerset.  So I happened across this report by the Somerset Waste Partnership.  It provides a detailed breakdown of SWP’s costs over a seven year period.  But of more interest is its analysis on how recycling contributes to lowering the cost of waste disposal.  They state “in 2019/20, every tonne of waste prevented through reduction or reuse saves Council Tax payers over £116.95 per tonne.”  And yet I have neighbours who do not recycle because they think “it’s a waste of time”.  😞

Posted in Chap 17 Internationalisation and CSR, Sector: Public Services & Charities | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Keeping customers “happy” when demand exceeds supply

Interesting insight into how to manage excess demand here.  It discusses an article by Adelman and Mersereau (2013) who identify three fundamental ways that customers differ from each other:

  • Contributing margin: the profit that the supplier makes from a customer;
  • Demand volatility: a customer’s consistency or inconsistency in the frequency and amount of orders;
  • Customer memory: the sensitivity of a customer to past experience with the supplier.

They argue that having a portfolio of these three types enable a firm to manage periods of excess demand.  They develop a model that prioritises which customer orders should be prioritised based on this information.

Posted in Chap 07 Capacity and demand, Sector: Manufacturing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Research Insight: Business models and business continuity

This article by Niemimaa et al (2018) suggests that business continuity management (BCM) is too focused on day-to-day operations and their resilience.  However external threats (such as digital technologies, crowd sourcing and the sharing economy) may not only affect such operations, they may actually disrupt the business model on which the business is based.  Hence BCM needs to adopt a more strategic approach that enables risks to the existing business model to be evaluated and effective responses be developed to counter such threats.

Niemimaa, M., Jarvelainen, J., Heikkila, M. and Heikkila, J. (2019) International Journal of Information Management, 49, December, 208-216

Posted in Chap 13 Projects and crises | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Five Fifty Guide to Creativity

Having blogged about the highly creative film industry, I though I’d see what McKinsey have to say about creativity.  Their Five Fifty Guide explores the following:

  • creative workers is an increasingly important part of the workforce
  • there is a strong correlation between creativity and financial performance
  • the rise of the creative economy and its related technologies
  • organisations can increase the level of creativity of their employees and teams.
Posted in Chap 16 Innovation and CI, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

3D printing in film making

Having blogged about movie making, I came across this video of two SFX designers talking about how they use 3D printing.

Posted in Chap 03 Processes and life cycles, Sector: Entertainment & Sport | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Operations Insight: Movie Makers

I’ve seen a lot of Movie Makers vehicles on the roads around where I live in recent days, so I guess there is a major movie being filmed somewhere in the West Country.  So I thought I’d look up their website.  The company provides vehicles for film companies on location.  The range of such transportation is considerable…

  • 24 different types of artist vehicles depending on the status and needs of the actors or production staff
  • 9 types of make-up wagons including one devoted to wigs
  • 3 types of wardrobe trucks
  • 2 types of dining bus (single decker or double decker)
  • 6 types of office vehicle for the production team
  • 9 types of tech trucks
  • 2 gym vehicles.

Looking at their website, I suggest that they are competing on quality order winners – features, aesthetics, and serviceability.

Posted in Chap 02 Winning Customers, Sector: Entertainment & Sport | Tagged | Leave a comment

Getting the best out of workers in the gig economy

I’ve blogged before about the gig economy.  This MIT Sloan Management Review article considers how managers should go about managing their temporary, flexible workforce. The three “big” ideas are:

  • schedule work at least two weeks ahead – so employees can plan both their work and leisure time;
  • provide training;
  • offer financial support, if needed.

If firms do not improve the working condition of gig employees, it seems likely that legislators will start to do so, both in the U.K. and U.S.A.

Posted in Chap 11 Jobs and people | Leave a comment

Hi tech beauty

Interesting insight on the BBC Business website into how digital technology is changing the way in which beauty companies compete.  It reports on five main trends:

  1. AI and mass personalisation – using a hand held device, the customer’s skin tone can be measured, and a cosmetic foundation made up to exactly match this.
  2. Augmented reality apps – enable customers to ‘try on’ lipsticks and eye shadow using their smart phones.
  3. Smart skincare advice – via an app, faces can be scanned for “wrinkles, red spots, pores, fine lines” and consumers can be sent advice on what to do about this and which products to use.
  4. Micro-printing make up – a device that applies just the right amount of make-up (Proctor & Gamble’s is called the “Opté wand”).
  5. emake up – downloadable make ups that can be used to enhance digital images on snapchat and instagram.
Posted in Chap 12 New products and services, Sector: Manufacturing, Sector: Retail | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

McDonald’s not so happy meal

I watched War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita last night (here).   But I waited till this morning to comment on it, as I expected McDonald’s UK to issue a press release this morning in an attempt to respond to the PR disaster we saw in that programme.  If you did not see it, two sisters, agreed nine and seven, wanted to present a petition of nearly 200,000 signatories requesting that McDonald’s stop putting plastic toys in happy meals.  The two girls were confronted by a burly man who ejected them from the premises, and who lied to them – saying he would listen to their concerns, when he did not.  In five minutes of television we saw McDonalds undo all their efforts to persuade their customers that they care about the environment.

The company has a number of ‘green’ initiatives, as this earlier press release about plastic straws proclaims.  This begins by stating – “[there will be a] phased rollout of paper straws to all 1,361 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland from September this year, with completion set for 2019”.  The press release ends by explaining – “In April, the Government announced it would ban the sale of plastic straws following a consultation later this year…”.  Mmm…

Looking at this from an operations perspective, there is an easy solution to the happy meal plastic toy controversy – which would be a win-win for McDonald’s.  Their online and point-of-sale ordering system enables customers to customise their burger.  It would be so easy to give customers the option of ordering a happy meal with, or without, the toy.  This would do three things:

  1. It would reduce McDonalds costs, as presumably they would need less toys.
  2. It would provide hard data with regards how concerned customers were about this issue, in order to establish policy.
  3. It would make two little girls happier (along with millions of other stakeholders).

By the way, in the long run – as Hugh and Anita’s programme – demonstrated, it is not enough to simply use recyclable plastic.  True sustainability will only be achieved if plastic usage itself is reduced significantly.  So let’s hope that customers opt for the toy free happy meal.

Posted in Chap 17 Internationalisation and CSR, Sector: Hospitality & Tourism | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cutting hospital waiting times (and costs)

NHS waiting times in hospitals is the topic of the opening case insight of chapter 8 in our book.  There is an interesting article in the LBS Review that proposes a new approach to this issue…

At the moment, how hospitals are paid for the work that they do and how their wait time is measured are separate. Payment is per treatment based on a “yardstick cost”, established by comparing each hospital relative to other equivalent hospitals.  Whereas, wait time is measured against nation-wide targets.  The article explains how these could be combined into a reimbursement method that would incentivise hospitals to cutt costs and waiting times at the same time.

Posted in Chap 08 Queuing and customers, Sector: Public Services & Charities, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment