Horse Meat and See-through Yoga Pants: Supply-Chain Failures

Education Opportunities

Most students after graduating college will go to work full-time. For those students who want to continue their education either through an M.B.A or specialized Master’s Degree the options are countless. Many students may turn to an M.B.A or another common Master’s degree. However, one of the fastest growing fields in business is for individuals with degrees or experience in supply-chain management.

Supply-chain management is a broad term that incorporates numerous elements of business including leverage, communication, efficiency, innovation, risk management, and continuous improvement. These elements are used by supply-chain managers in procurement, transportation, inventory, and forecasting to name a few. Also, supply-chain hires will find themselves conducting supply-chain analysis, which can incorporate fields such as engineering, analytics, and operations.

Why Supply-chain Management?

As our economy and the economies of the world have become globally focused, supply-chain management has become a necessity. Multinational corporations and global partnerships have opened the possibilities of receiving goods from around the world at the blink of an eye. These new possibilities give businesses and consumers greater opportunities, and access to products at prices never before seen in a free-market.

However, as stories of horse meat in European stores and see-through yoga pants have become more common, managers are turning to supply-chain personnel to prevent these embarrassments from happening again. These negative story lines hurt a companies bottom line and reputation, which can have long-term consequences. By leveraging supply-chain experts a company can help their bottom line and customer service.

If interested, below is a brief overview of supply-chain management through the operations of a lemonade stand.

Supply-Chain Management Failure

One example of a supply-chain management failure, as we talked about in class, is the example of Boeing and the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing increased its outsourcing from about 35-50% on the 737 and 747 to close to 70% on the 787. The supply chain that Boeing had in mind was one that would keep cost’s low and spread the risk proportionately between themselves and their suppliers. Unfortunately for Boeing, this strategy backfired due to poor supply-chain management. Ultimately, this led Boeing to run billions of dollars over budget and caused years of delays.

If a company as large as Boeing can have supply-chain management failures, any company, large or small, can experience similar failures. By hiring individuals with a background in supply-chain management companies are hoping to counteract the potential issues related to supply-chain management.

Increasing Supply

Below are some new programs offered in supply-chain management to meet increased demand.

School Location Program Year Started
University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business Houston M.B.A. certificate in supply chain management 2011
Rutgers Business School Newark and New Brunswick, N.J. Undergraduate major 2011
Bryant University, College of Business Smithfield, R.I. Undergraduate major and M.B.A. specialization in global supply chain management 2012
Governors State University, College of Business and Public Administration University Park, Ill. Online M.B.A. in supply chain management 2013
Portland State University, School of Business Administration Portland, Ore. M.S. in global supply chain management 2013
Texas Christian University, Neeley School of Business Fort Worth, Texas M.S. in supply chain management 2013
University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School, and Tsinghua University Chapel Hill, N.C. and Beijing Global Supply Chain Leaders Program—M.B.A. from Kenan-Flagler, Master of Engineering Management from Tsinghua 2013
University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business Los Angeles Online M.S. in global supply chain management 2013
Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business Tempe, Ariz. M.S. in supply chain management or M.S. in supply chain management and engineering 2014


Would an advanced degree in supply-chain management be of interest to you? Do you think supply-chain management can help companies overcome global issues?

Cubs Win…well not yet but changes are coming.

Chicago Cubs

We can all agree the Chicago Cubs most likely will not contend for the World Series next year, adding to the 106 year drought. However, under the new ownership and leadership of Tom Ricketts the Cubs have begun making changes that will help their chances of getting back to a World Series.


26 Weeks…and Counting

After a turbulent period of battling with the City of Chicago, the adjacent rooftop owners, and the court system they have finally begun construction on an estimated $575 million dollar renovation this offseason.

The major issue arising with the renovation is that the cubs want to play next season in Wrigley Field. Unlike other renovations or new stadiums, the Cubs will not take a season off from playing in Wrigley Field. This puts a tremendous time restriction on when the project needs to be complete. The Cubs opening day next year is April 6th against the St. Louis Cardinals. That allows the project manager (PM) just 26 weeks to complete the project. At the time of this writing (Oct 6th) they will have exactly 6 months to finish the renovation.

The major renovations this winter will be extending the outfield walls, constructing new bleachers, and adding several digital screens including a Jumbotron in left field. Under perfect conditions this short of a deadline would be a challenge, but when you add in the harsh Chicago winters you introduce a whole new set of challenges.

With construction to begin next week on the bleachers, many individuals question if the renovations will be completed in time. And if they are, how much over budget will it go? Fortunately, for the taxpayers of Chicago this project is privately funded. However, many stadium construction and renovation projects are partially funded with public funds (i.e. Soldier Field renovation) and the tax payers are on the hook for budget overruns.

If you’re interested in seeing the full scale of renovations that will take place over the next few years take a look at the video below.


Project Management

This tight timeline would test the best of project managers, and any construction team. In order to stay within the short timeframe, construction started immediately following the Cubs season. Fortunately, for the construction company the Cubs did not make the playoffs this year. However, this offseason’s construction project is only the first in a planned series of projects. Next offseason the Cubs are planning on renovating the clubhouse and a few other areas of the ballpark. If this current construction project does not go as planned, or if the Cubs can make the playoffs next year, the future construction plans could be altered.

Come late March 2015 it will be interesting to see where the Wrigley Field renovation project stands. If the project is behind schedule will the PM crash the project and risk going over budget? Or will they risk having an uncompleted stadium for opening day? Each of these options has potential drawbacks, but these are the types of questions that PMs face on most projects they handle.

Hopefully, all goes well with the Wrigley Field construction project. However, with the pending winter weather, do you think the construction project will get done in time? Also, as a project manager in this situation how would you manage a team under this type of a timeline?$575m-renovation-set-to-begin/323525/