Friday, June 1, 2007


Slowing Introductions of New Electronic Products Reduces E-Waste

Some types of regulations governing disposal of electronic waste can reduce the world’s mountains of devices waiting to be recycled, while they also slow the rate of new product introductions says Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Erica Plambeck.

Incentives for Employees in Just-in-Time Settings

In some manufacturing environments, having workers engage in just-in-time production can actually cause motivational problems and increase costs. The answer is to make sure employees' pay is tied to their actual productivity—and that means allowing for bad days and, consequently, some inventory build-up.

Firms Survive by Recognizing Fundamental Industry Changes

Enduring companies survive because employees throughout the firm, not just those in the executive suite, learn to keep an eye on how related industries are evolving, say Robert Burgelman and Andrew Grove. Strong firms don't just match the competition, they also recognize fundamental changes in their industries and stay strategically ahead.

Teamwork Can Boost Manufacturing Productivity Those who work in the most complex manufacturing environments have the most to gain from the use of problem-solving teams, according to research coauthored by Business School Professor Kathryn Shaw. Teams had the most effect when they worked on very high-quality products with complex manufacturing steps.

Not Coordinating Price and Quantity Can Mean Lost Competitive Advantage In most manufacturing operations, price is determined by the marketing department while operations decides how much to manufacture. When these two don’t coordinate well the result can mean the company loses competitive advantage say researchers who have created a new mathematical model for finding the optimal price and quantity to fit with real world consumer behavior. (June 2007)

The Best Way to Construct Unenforceable Contracts Strong relationships rather than iron clad legal agreements can be the most practical way for firms to outsource key operational activities, says associate professor Erica Plambeck. The threat of loss of future business is a stronger incentive in many cases than a legal document. (April 2007)

Startups Need a Special Learning Curve for Sales Before a young company can sell its product successfully, the entire organization needs to learn how customers will acquire and use the product. This requires a special learning curve for sales and marketing before the product is ready for a major push, say researchers Charles Holloway and Mark Leslie. (September 2006)

Music Industry Could Use Internet Piracy to Strategic Advantage Digital piracy costs music, movie, and software industries billions, but suing file-sharing internet networks and the consumers who use them to trade copyrighted material can backfire, argues Tunay Tunca. His research conclusion? Legal producers of digital goods can benefit from strategically using the presence of file sharers to reduce damage from big commercial pirates. (April 2006)

Smart Usage of Auctions Can Save Industrial Buyers Millions Buyers for major corporations may shave time and substantial costs from purchasing goods and services by using procurement auctions wisely and in some cases by mixing auctions with negotiations. (September 2005)

Factory Simulation Program Wins Wide Recognition A sophisticated online program simulating factory operations, developed at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, is teaching students at over 40 colleges and universities some important lessons about production processes. (February 2005)

Queuing Theory Meets Your Morning Latte Researcher Sunil Kumar explores the theoretical possibility of channeling customers through a service network in a way that allows them to pick the "shortest route," while also subtly controlling them so that they don't end up inadvertently clogging up the works in their zeal to get out as fast as possible. It could lead to shorter lines at the DMV and other answers to consumer dreams. (August 2003)

When is it Smart to Sell the Factory and Outsource? Should your company keep control of its supply chain and manufacturing facilities when it needs to expand — and risk getting stuck with expensive capacity it can't use? Or should it outsource — and if so, to whom and for how much? Researchers take on the build vs. buy dilemma. (June 2003)

Not Tracking Double Orders Can Hurt Manufacturing Firms When management fails to correctly estimate demand for a product or customers' sensitivity to delay, the lapse can cost a company dearly say researchers. Not taking into account double orders and not knowing clearly why a customer has canceled an order can cause companies to build too much capacity or not enough. (September 2002)

Book Examines Intel Strategies Intel CEO Craig Barrett's frustration with some of the spoils of success is told by Robert Burgelman, the Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in a new book about how Intel has built business strategies, sometimes from the bottom up, sometimes from the top down, or from all parts of the hierarchy simultaneously. (July 2002)

The Bullwhip Can Really Beat Up a Supply Chain What researchers call “the bullwhip effect” can cause a variety of expensive manufacturing problems. It is caused by information about demand for a product being distorted as it moves upstream in the manufacturing process. (June 2004)