2 Stories a Day



In 2000 my family contacted a builder in order to build a home. After approximately ten months my family and I were happy to receive a two story home. This translates to approximately one story built every five months. Although this may seem common in the USA, a province in China called Dongting Lake was able to produce a 30 story building in 15 days. This feat was accomplished through a proper management plan and efficient execution. Although the building may have been built in 15 days the project was mapped and planned out long before. Project managers effectively developed an organized strategy, defined the project, estimated project times and costs, developed a project plan, and executed the plan.

The project managers involved in this undertaking understood the organization’s strategy and were able to align the projects with the firm’s mission. These managers needed to respond to various environmental factors as well as navigating resource scarcities. Managers could possibly use the SMART pneumonic to remember to be specific in targeting objectives, establish measurable progress checks, make sure the objective is assignable to specific individuals, develop a realistic idea of what can be done with the given resources, and understand the time duration to achieve the objective. This step is crucial in project management in order to lay the foundation of the entire project.

Managers properly defined the project, established priorities, and created an effective work breakdown structure. As you can see in the video, components of the building were developed off-site and were assembled on the land afterwards. This focused the project by created a plan, schedule, and budget that is able to be effectively managed at the respective organizational levels.

Many times projects may be properly defined and aligned with the organization’s strategy but when it comes to estimating the projects there may be a difference of opinions. Top-down estimates are generally made from top managers who have limited knowledge on process where as bottom-up approach is generally derived from individuals who have a great deal of knowledge of the process and can provide a check on various costs in the work breakdown structure. In my organization, we do not utilize the bottom up approach very often. When making decisions about work processes without fully understanding the work process seems to create inefficiencies in the organization. I think that process individuals should be included in the estimation as well as the development of the project plan. These individuals would be able to identify critical activities as well as provide a basis for scheduling other activities. This plan can then be managed by top management. With a proper plan, management can effectively manage various activities and deliver the project.

Execution is key to any project, especially when constructing a building. Some individuals may be worried about entering a building which was built in fifteen days, however when understanding the planning and management involved and witnessing the execution I would not be worried, would you?



It’s just not the same

According to Investopedia.com quality management is the act of overseeing all activities and tasks to maintain a desired level of excellence. Quality management is an important part of operations management, and is one of the top priorities in a business that produces not only goods, but services. Lots of times companies encounter an issue where they have to compromise quality in order to increase profits. In our puppet class activity, we discussed the importance of having a unified quality standard. When one department thinks something may be acceptable, and the next department doesn’t let it go through then that becomes a vicious cycle of resource waste. What happens when a huge client or huge profits are on the line? In those cases this may result in ethical issues.

There are many people out there that choose the items they buy based on either the price, or the reputation of the company. It costs millions of dollars for companies to establish a reliable and trustworthy reputation; it also costs them to maintain that reputation. Eventually companies strive to increase their profit by increasing their productivity, without diminishing their quality. Productivity can be increased by perfecting the process by which the product is produced, or being able to obtain cheaper raw materials.

What happens to companies that have a wide breadth of products? We would hope that a company with a good reputation would make sure each and every one of their products is maintaining its quality; unfortunately that is not always the case.  Let’s take a look at a company that is widely respected, with a huge range of products.

Lancôme is one of those companies that has a wide breadth products. Although it’s all cosmetics, they range from face wash to eye shadows, to lipsticks. For the past couple of years I have been a huge fan of their voluminous mascara, and have suggested it to all of my friends. No matter how many new types of mascara Lancôme came out with, or other companies came out with; I never felt the need to make a change.

After a couple years of using that mascara, I felt it wasn’t doing the job quite the same. At first I thought it might have been a while that I had it, and it might have dried up. After I bought a couple more, I realized that the mascara was simply not the same. It looked the same, and was at the same price point, but it seemed that the quality had diminished. I don’t know if it was just the color or type I was buying, but I was no longer happy with the results.

I was very disappointed, and had to go through a few new ones to find one that I liked. I guess that’s what happens as new items are released by a company; more resources are put towards those products, and the old ones become less relevant. On the other hand,  the voluminous mascara is part of the cheaper line of products within the company. The low cost of the product might make it a little more difficult to maintain the quality when compared to their higher end products.

Do you guys think that companies with a more narrow scope of products tend to maintain quality a little better?

Is cost a direct reflection of the quality, even if it’s produced by a highly respected company?




Introducing iPhone 6’s new shape: Bent

Apple reveals iPhone 6 sales

With the recent introduction of the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, there has been a lot of controversy over one of the characteristics that constitutes its quality.  Both the new iPhones are a lot larger than the iPhone 5, but also a lot thinner. The current trend is moving towards thinner everything, so you might think this is great idea to create a thin iPhone. That is, until you realize that this feature can also turn awry.  As it turns out, in just the first 6 days, 9 customers complained about the iPhone bending from being carried in the back pocket.

For a prominent company such as Apple, which is known for their quality products, these news are terrible. Some might say that 9 is a very low number of instances comparing to the 10 million they sold. But, the publicity this issue is getting can drastically decrease the sales of the new iPhone, and its future products.


A company such as apple puts its products through so many different quality control checks, before they reach the market. Employees and machines, at different points in the process have to check the quality before it can move onto the next task. Apparently though, as mentioned in the statement by Apple, “Testing of the phones did not show any problems with bending or warping. IPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of the high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.” Nevertheless, it is difficult to believe this issue never came up. Sometimes people overlook quality issues hoping someone else will catch them. And sometimes, it is just too costly to point out quality issues. If a product is already in production with an announced deadline of introduction, a design issue will cause a delay and an additional budget to fix the issue. This will create a bad reputation for the company. However, so will a bad quality product.


Releasing a statement that confirms the product has successfully gone through three-point-bending test, a sit test etc., does not fix the issue. Unfortunately the person, who has had their iPhone bent, might not be as happy with the company as he previously had been. And we all know, that the best form of advertising is from friends and family. If your friend has it and it is performing well, you want it. But, the same goes for when your friend has it and its not that great. Then, your opinion of it changes as well. Unfortunately, this may cause Apple to lose lots of loyal clients, and tons of sales.


What do you think about the bent iPhone?

Did you purchase the new iPhone? If so, any issues with bending?

Does this change your perspective on apple?

Will you continue purchasing apple products?



Arthur, Charles. “‘Bending’ IPhone 6.” The Guardian. N.p., 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.


Quality vs. Price

hAs a customer how do you measure quality? Would you settle for lower quality due to lower price? Does the economy hurt the companies that don’t lower price because people cannot afford the same quality with the reduced income? These questions are raised in the article “High Quality Products Is Key for Chicagoland’s DK Organics” on constructionequipmentguide.com. DK Organics emphasizes product quality over any other key factors such as price. Many businesses compete by lowering price for a product and then eventually which leads to lower quality. Many well established companies choose to not compete with lowering price or lowering quality but rather with adding features to their product to attract customers rather than losing their reputation. After all, a reputation lost takes a lot of time to gain back which some companies are smart not to lose.

However, it is independently determined if a company is willing to be known as a low price company that attracts most of the lower and middle class therefore does generate high profit. On the other side a company like DK Organics can still be stable in a bad economy with not changing their price but maintaining quality and continuing to stabilize their reputation as well. Measuring quality is different for each firm as discussed in class. Companies have to choose between value based quality to compete.

ISO 9000, quality system, requires the companies to focus on customer’s requirements, needs and expectations. ISO 9000 exists to guarantee equity in the marketplace. Reputation for companies are built through customer review and what type of customer’s shop at the stores builds the reputation for the companies. on DK Organics website it is stated on the home page that “Our material yard carries top quality mulches, composts, soils, stone and sand. “(dkorganics.com) Material yard is bold to emphasize quality regardless of the price. “high value experience every time!” (dkorganics.com) again refers to quality that the individuals will get out of the product which can be measured by customer’s satisfaction and the rich lasting result of the soil. DK Organics product can be purchased by individuals but it is usually provided through a contractor “a service” in order to receive the product, which could cost extra money but quality is still measured high.

When a product cannot be purchased by a customer by itself easily and needs a service provider to obtain the product also increases the value and quality of the product. This could be also considered a great marketing strategy to generate more revenue by adding a service to the product. DK Organics can be considered a great business because landscaping is very important and public places will always hire someone to do the job for them instead of doing it on their own, thus generating revenue for the company.


Sources: http://bit.ly/112Ni1p

Spirit Airlines: We Know You Hate It, But We Don’t Care

Spirit Airlines is an American airline company that is known for having low-cost flights. The company is more concerned about the prices they give out rather than the complaints they are receiving. Spirit has been acquring their fair share of criticism from customers and the media. A survey was made of some 16,000 customer ratings and Spirit Airlines was among the bottom of the list for flying in America. “That report did not ask the one big question of who offers the best prices. And hands down, the No. 1 thing we’re told by our customers is that the price matters,” says Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson. Let’s be honest, would you complain about a flight that is two and a half hours long and only cost 75 bucks?

Spirit AirlinesThe company strives to make the price for flights as low as possible. They have an average base price of only 79 dollars. One thing that customers hate about Spirit Airlines is the fact that they charge fees before and during the flights to passengers. These fees can add up to be 40 to 50 dollars for the majority of customers. Spirit Airlines does not even offer a free cup of water or have a video system while the passengers are in flight. There is not much leg room either so you are cramped, regardless of how short you are.

The airline company believes that is what the Spirit customers want when it comes to this airline business. Spirit believes they have travelers who would most likely be getting a bus seat if their airline service was not available. The Chief Executive Officer Ben Baldanza says, “Well, what we say is that we care about what our customers care about, which is price, and one of the things that Consumer Reports survey didn’t ask is where do you get the lowest fare? And so they asked about leg room, and they asked about check-in, and they asked about bag fees, and things like that. But the total price that customers pay on Spirit Airlines is less than they pay on anyone else, and that’s why they love us.”

Spirit Airline company should not be upset by all the criticism coming their way. Spirit is a very solid business as their sales rose 23 percent in just the past quarter. The planes are fuller than the rest of the other airline companies. The company has a rate of 85.1 percent in the first quarter  of 2013 when it comes to flights being full. That makes the company really profitable as they move forward.

The airline company still gets a lot of negative feedback from the press even when they are succeeding. So, is it fair that Spirit Airlines is getting this terrible assessment from the media when they are making profits and almost all of their flights are full? Does the base price really trump all the niceties that other airlines offer?Or should management try to improve their baggage fees and legroom in the flights in order to please the customers more?





Mass Customization: Tailoring To The Individual

NIke, Dell, and Swatch

The system of mass customization benefited manufacturers by offering services and achieving greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. In addition, customization brought greater advance information on market trends and reduces inventory. Usually, many companies cannot handle the mass customization system because of the way how their supply chains are designed and optimized for producing predetermined amounts of stock.  Because of this, some manufacturers believe that the profit margins are too low for those who adopt the mass customization system, and thus the system is not economically feasible since it depends on the type of the product.

To increase sales, most manufacturers integrate the most common appealing features into their products to move units.  Conversely, the ideology of mass customization is that every aspect of a product will be tailored to a customer specifically.  For example, Swatch, the world’s largest watchmaker company, produces standardized internal mechanism components en masse, but also offers a wide variety options such as colors, straps, faces, and so on. The idea of a personally tailored product has been adopted by prominent vehicle manufacturers, computer manufacturers, and many more.

Dell, as another example, has demonstrated the idea of mass customization and utilizes it to allow their customers a very personal PC experience. Dell allows customers to assemble their own desktops and laptops online by customizing components such as, hard disk, graphics cards, processor, memory (RAM), and other options before assembly and delivery.  Amazingly, Dell manages to offer a fair amount of variety with their components, but achieves the lowest cost of production in the entire industry, leveraging the benefits of e-commerce and mass customization in selling directly to customers.

Both Swatch and Dell offer personalized experiences, but these two manufactures do not offer an unlimited number of choices.  Instead, companies learn what sort of spectrum that customers would be comfortable purchasing in and adjust the limits accordingly so that customers will end up happy with both their product and service.

Nike, as the most popular sports equipment manufacturer in the world, pioneered many ideas in the industry of mass customization. In spite of this large number of products tailored to golf, basketball, tennis, and soccer enthusiasts, operations managers at Nike have improved product quality while reducing overall costs. Nike allows customers to customize many of their products. For instance, customers can print their own names and numbers on shoes as well as customize their shoe strings to different color. Consequently, these practices boosted sales of Nike products to phenomenal levels, smartly marrying the links between sales, production, design, supply chain, and logistics.

The greatest downfall of mass customization is wait time.  Considering that each product must be tailored to a specific customer, often being done by hand, it will take longer to be in a purchaser’s possession.  That is where uniformly mass produced products are advantageous, as they do not have to meet a specific criteria.  In addition, most custom products cannot be returned to a manufacturer, since the item was created specifically for an individual and the likelihood that that product would meet another person’s needs exactly is slim.


Should more businesses adopt the idea of tailoring a product to an individual’s needs?





“Combining Elements of Mass Production with Those of Bespoke Tailoring.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 22 Oct. 2009. Web. 23 May 2013.

Mello, Adrian. “Mass Customization Won’t Come Easy.” ZDNet. N.p., 19 Dec. 2001. Web. 23 May 2013.

“NIKE ID – The First Example of Mass Customization Driving Profit? | Crossroad Innovation.” Crossroad Innovation NIKE ID The First Example of Mass Customization Driving Revenue Comments. N.p., 10 Sept. 2010. Web. 23 May 2013.

“NIKEiD.” Mass Customization. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2013.









Is that an ISOlated case of the flu?

Quality management standards seem rare to come across when you look at the health system in Iowa. Specifically their hospitals. Iowa Lutheran is the first hospital in Iowa to achieve their ISO certification.

ISO 9000 standards are well known to American manufacturers as they have used ISO for quality assurance in their products. ISO gives suppliers a peace of mind that what they are receiving, follow international standards in their quality management. That means that a company’s upper management has set up a processes for all steps of their respective system. Six procedures are required by ISO; control of documents, control of quality records, internal audit, nonconforming control, corrective action, preventive action. The organization’s mission is to set standards for goods and services, ensuring efficient processes.

Iowa Lutheran Hospital

Iowa Lutheran Hospital

When you look at healthcare and hospitals, quality care is necessary and could be the difference between life and death. Should it be troubling that this is the first hospital in Iowa that follows ISO standards? Not necessarily. Prior to seeking ISO 9000-certification hospitals were granted certification through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO). The largest and oldest accrediting organization for healthcare, they set standards for the quality and safety of health care provided to patients.

What could be the implications of switching from a healthcare specific accreditation organization to an international standard organization? Is ISO 9000 a better quality tool overall for healthcare?

According to the article, “Iowa Lutheran has implemented a quality management system that includes review of acute medical, surgical, critical care , rehabilitative, obstetrical, emergency care, laboratory and radiology services.” It is obvious to see that the hospital is striving for excellence in healthcare and providing the patients with the best services, as any hospital should. It seems to me that any hospital would have the best possible standards set in place for all their different systems. Not only does ISO set up certain guidelines, but it also allows for collaboration between members for best practices, and this is an international group. Iowa Lutheran specifically attained 9001:2008 ISO certification. It takes a process-oriented approach. The requirement ensures ‘what’ an  company must do to meet customer needs and expectations. ‘How’ this is done is left up to the company, or in this case, the hospital. Hospitals are a lucrative business in the way they charge for a doctor to visit a patient, to take and x-ray, virtually everything they do. Insurance companies, healthcare systems and providers, and pharmaceutical companies. There are so many systems, guidelines, and protocols to follow. The four sections that make up ISO 9001:2008 would really benefit a hospital and how it is run. The sections include management responsibility, resource management, product and/or service realization, and measurement, analysis and improvement.

The other metropolitan hospital in Des Moines refuses to change to ISO 9000 standards.   How else can ISO 9000 benefit hospitals?

Article: http://www.businessrecord.com/Content/Health—Wellness/Health—Wellness/Article/Iowa-Lutheran-is-first-Iowa-hospital-certified-for-quality-management/174/836/58139

Source: http://www.ada.org/2702.aspx?currentTab=2

Lights, Camera, Quality Surgeries

Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Would you agree to be recorded while in surgery? Would you agree if you knew that the doctors would take better precautions and be on their best behaviors when they are recorded? The quality of care rises overwhelmingly when doctors know they are being recorded, so why wouldn’t they always be recorded? The article states that doctors follow the hand washing guidelines about 82% more when they are recorded, compared to 7% when the cameras are off. It only makes sense to enact surveillance for all surgeries because the doctors are more inclined to behave better. Just as a retail store or any office behaves better when they know the cameras are on, the doctors do the same. When I think about a hospital I tend to think about how they have higher quality because they are working with sick human beings and these peoples lives are in their hands, but maybe that’s not the case. If I was in surgery I would prefer to have the camera on in order to receive the best quality procedure I could. If my life were in someone else’s hands, I would want the best care in order to come out alive without complications from negligence. Yet there are also the chances that in the course of playing by the book, some miracles would be prevented because doctors are worried about the proper procedures to follow. The precautions that are being looked at are whose going to own the videos, can the surgeon refuse to be recorded, and whether or not surgeries that deal with private areas can be recorded. Doctors disagree to be recorded because of the possibilities of malpractice lawsuits that could be issued.

Besides the quality issue, the article also mentioned the doctors can use the videos as a review for techniques and ways of improvement. When I played sports, the use of video reviews were very helpful. Whether I was reviewing my own techniques or reviewing an upcoming team, I could always learn something new to improve my skills. The videos can also be used as a teaching method for new doctors and students. If the use of cameras equals better quality, I’m all for it. If it’s a matter of patient privacy, then the consent should be put onto the patient and they should be able to choose whether or not to press record.

The topic is interesting and both sides of the argument have valid points. It will be interesting to see what happens in the long run and why they chose it to be that way.

So, let me know what do you think about the quality of hospitals, and would you agree or not agree with the use of cameras?




Can You Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

As I’m lounging on the sofa in the family room watching my husband decorate the cakes that he baked for both our moms on Mother’s Day, thoughts about how he plans the whole process are running through my head. While my husband wasn’t enthused about the interruption, I was busy asking him multiple questions regarding how to forecast future demand, how to manage quality and quantity, and finally what inventory method is used by businesses that produce wedding cakes.

Forecasting is a critical aspect of the business to effectively manage overhead costs, ingredient inventories and most importantly, volume projections to meet demand while maintaining a profitable business. To achieve desired profitability, the business should deliver a wide variety of designs at competitive prices.

In class, I had learned about five quantitative forecasting methods. The simplest method to forecast how many wedding cakes will be produced next month is looking back at the last month’s production quantity. Another forecasting model is using the moving averages forecast method. This method uses an average of the most recent periods of data to predict of how many wedding cakes need to be produced next period. For example, the bakery may use a 3-month moving average by adding the last 3-month production of wedding cakes and dividing by 3 months. However, to use this method, we would assume that the market for wedding cake demands is quite stable.

Next important aspect for a Wedding Cake business is how to efficiently manage the quantity and quality of the cakes. Higher quality of ingredients used during production will lead to a better reputation for the business and create higher customer satisfaction, leading to repeat customers. Moreover, business would save ingredient costs by purchasing larger volumes.

This reminded me of what I had recently learned in my class about product focus. Some bakery businesses focus on producing high volumes and low variety. For example, one business can focus on a niche market and produce only wedding cakes that will deliver a high volume but limited designs. But such a business will need to be highly completive in the market in order to be successful. On the other hand, another bakery might produce low volume of cakes, but cater to a much broader customer base such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, etc.

Managing inventory of raw ingredients as well as finished goods is another critical aspect that has to be closely managed. The perishable nature of the products makes it very important to effectively manage inventory of seasonal products, while maintaining stocks for rush orders. Also, inventory management is crucial in maintaining business profitability by reducing waste of both raw ingredients and expired finished products.

Although I learned a great deal regarding the wedding cake industry from my husband, I”m still left with a few questions: What is the best way to forecast wedding cakes? What process strategies should be used by bakeries? Would it be more profitable to use process focus or mass customization strategy?


Will HTC survive?

HTC has been a leading competitor in the smartphone market for years. Recently, their revenues plummeted by 98% compared to last year. HTC claims this is due to the high competition from the market, especially Apple and Samsung. With the decline in revenues, it is only natural that their stock prices fell as well. HTC is struggling to keep up with Apple’s iphones and Samsung’s Galaxy models. HTC was supposed to release the HTC One smartphone in March, but they dropped the ball on that plan due to no revenues coming in and still having their fixed costs. In an attempt to hang on in the market, they recently announced a collaboration with Facebook for the feature of Facebook Home.

In class we had discussions that just because prices of stocks went down, does not necessarily mean that the quality of their product went down. The problem with the smartphone, and technology, in that matter, is that everything is fast-moving and changes are always taking place quickly. I have an HTC Thunderbolt smartphone, and there were extremely high hopes for it. It was a great phone until software started getting updated, such as different apps, but HTC Thunderbolt did not come out with a new update for the phone. Apple has a software update very often. Samsung has come out with the Galaxy and Galaxy 2 during the time that loyal HTC customers have been waiting for the update.

Part of the reason for HTC’s struggle is because they cannot keep up with the quick pace of change. That is one of the main complaints of customers.  This is why benchmarking is crucial. HTC does not need to come up with a new update every week, but they should try to improve their products so that they could keep up with app updates. I waited two years for my update. Before I received it, basic apps such as GMAIL, were not running properly on my phone because the app was no longer compatible with my phone’s software. My phone was essentially outdated. What did I decide to do? I am switching over to Apple and getting an iphone. Many customers have lost faith in HTC because they are taking their time with launching new products and updates.

A decline in revenues means that HTC’s products are not selling. In even a simpler way of putting it, customers are not interested. HTC is in big trouble if more customers start moving away from them and looking into Samsung or Apple products. HTC’s collaboration with Facebook is also up in the air because Facebook Home has not been fully tested out with customers. Currently, it will be an optional feature for your phone, but whether customers will want it is unknown. Before making this a permanent feature on the market, Facebook and HTC should run surveys to see if customers are even interested in something like this.

Do you think that HTC will survive in this constantly changing market? Is the collaboration with Facebook a good idea or a desperate measure to stay competitive in the market?