Hold on to your Seats!!! We’re Going Down!!




If the airline industry can’t properly maintain the inside of a plane, how can we trust them to take care of the outside of the plane?


Recent financial troubles have not been the only source of difficulties for American Airlines.  The airline is now experiencing complications with their seats.  “A Boeing 757 from Boston to Miami carrying 175 passengers diverted to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday when three seats in row 12 came loose shortly after takeoff.  A second American Boeing 757 returned to JFK on Monday morning after a similar seat issue was discovered” (CNN).  This kind of quality oversight could be the straw the broke the camel’s back for American Airlines.

Initial claims pointed at the saddle clamp “improperly installed on the foot of the row leg” (CNN).  Due to this improper diagnosis, American Airlines inspected a total of 47 Boing 757 Airplanes that were using this type of clamp.  Through this inspection, American Airlines found “that six — including the two involved in the recent diversions — had seats that were not properly secured” (CNN).  It was later discovered that the clamps were not the source of the problem.  Even though this problem was misdiagnosed, it led to a discovery of improper equipment.  Would the faulty equipment been discovered if the problem was diagnosed correctly the first time?   Or did this error lead to a great deal of lost revenue, time, and labor.  These are the types of things that are not in excess for a company dealing with bankruptcy.

The financial implications of mismanaged time and resources are pretty severe for a company with major financial woes.  American Airlines had to ground almost 50 of their Boeing 757 planes.  This is on top of the problem American Airlines is having with their labor force.  American Airlines is in a difficult battle with their pilots union.  The airline suspects that pilots have been filing frivolous reports to cause massive slowdowns.  This slowdown is composed of 12,000 delays and 1000 canceled flights within the month of September.  The question here is whether or not the pilots have been leveraging false safety concerns to improve their union position.  Regardless of the validity of these claims, the airline must address each concern to avoid an even bigger situation.   Being a major airline, American Airlines must deal with problems coming from all directions.  Not only must American Airlines worry about the problems of their own employees, they must also worry about their manufacturers and the partners of their manufacturers.

More and more companies work with various manufacturers to supply them with the parts and pieces required to complete their final product.  It is almost impossible to find a major manufacturer that creates all of the pieces in house that are needed to complete an intricate product.  Many reach out to other manufacturers that specialize in that specific part/piece.  With all of these various pieces, it is very difficult to insure the quality of every one of these different parts.

The seats in question were manufactured by Weber Aircraft.  This Texas based company “manufactured the seats for American’s 757 planes, also made seats for 25 other airlines, including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Air Canada and Korean Air Lines”(Martin 2012).  To prevent future problems and issues, the FAA has essentially demanded that the various airlines rigorously inspect their planes using the 11 Weber seat models.  Over time we have learned that in this global economy it is necessary to make manufacturing partnerships.  However, in this case, it is evident that there is a complete lack of quality management.  How can an industry with so many moving parts avoid situations like this?





Piracy – Killing the Mobile App Industry


There are millions of people who download paid-for mobile apps for free. It has made a big impact on major companies such as Apple and Google. The article talks about a popular app that many of you probably heard of called Plague. Plague is a game that lets players infect a virtual world with pathogens. Within days of releasing the game to the Apple app store, hackers made it available online for free. Up to 35% of the game’s downloads have been illegal, but the game has gotten 1.6 million paid downloads. Had those illegal downloads been paid for, the app would of generated $500,000 more.

There is an obvious issue in pirating when it comes to music, movies, and video games, and now pirates have turned to the app industry, making a significant dent in mobile-app store sales. There are many ways to steal an app such as copying its code and publishing it on an online forum or legitimate app store. Sales would actually be 20% – 50% higher if it weren’t for illegal downloads.

Google, Apple, and others have been increasing security of their app stores by using process improvement, as discussed in class. Google started offering encryption keys along with paid apps to verify the app is being used on the device it was paid for. Many new game publishers are paying for anti-tampering tools to alert developers if hackers are trying to modify an app to steal it. The tools can also prevent the apps from working properly or redirect the user to Apple’s app store.

The majority of app developers do not use anti-piracy tools besides basic ones provided by the stores that sell their apps. It seems to me that it’s not worth it for most developers because some tools will make users go through extra verification steps, making apps more difficult to download and use.  A lot of developers are using a freemium approach, where they have ads on the app for the customers who do not want to purchase it, and ad-free version for those who do purchase it. Also, the people who download the apps illegally will have the ads version.

The developer of Plague says that he “hopes to convert pirates into paying customers by luring them with new features and updates.” In my opinion, I do not think that it will make a major impact by doing that, but it will definitely help a little bit. The article also states that piracy helps promote marketing and advertising for app developers. Overall, piracy has a big impact on the $10 billion dollar app industry

Do you think developers should invest more money to eliminate piracy?

Does piracy help promote marketing and advertising?

Do you think by adding new features and updates to apps, it will help decrease piracy?


Let me know how you guys feel about the topic. Here is the link to the article: 


From Cash to Cards to Phones

Over the years, the use of physical cash has declined with the increased use of credit and debit cards.  There are many people who do not even carry cash on them at all simply because they feel that it is too bulky and inconvenient.  The ease and convenience that a debit or credit card brings to a consumer’s shopping experience has grown to be a more appealing way of paying for various items.  Now, though, Google Inc. has attempted to make even this form of payment a thing of the past move on to the next big thing: to complete payments from a smartphone.

Basically, Google has come up with a way to make all of your debit, credit and even brand loyalty cards on your smartphone, which makes making electronic payments even easier.  Instead of fumbling through your wallet to find these various cards, you can simply pull out one card, the Google Wallet Card, and complete any transaction with ease.  The Google Wallet Card that is swiped will simply access the chosen card on the account and access any loyalty or rewards cards attached to the store.  This technology can be used anywhere that debit and credit cards are accepted, which means that it can be used anywhere nowadays.

By releasing such an application and choice to consumers, Google will be taking the lead against its competitors in the market, such as Square and PayPal.  This is especially due to the fact that the Google Wallet App will be available in both the iOS, or Apple, and Windows phone which makes it available to more consumers across both softwares.  With this newer feature and easier payment system, it is believed that Google will be able to attract far more customers than either competitor even if they are able to catch up with the technology in the near future.

Although it is not yet confirmed, it has been rumored that the Google Wallet card service may even surpass PayPal and come out with an card service that is integrated with the app and have secure payment service on the app directly.  This may be on the list of further improvements that Google has decided to make on the service.

Although the concept of the Google Wallet is very appealing and innovative, it is still under speculation by the public.  Personally, as someone who still uses cash from time to time, I am not so sure that I will be able to easily adjust to something like the Google Wallet.  The idea of having access to all of my finances in one place would, for me, be too risky.



Even the Feds say an Apple a day keeps the Doctor away

After eight years of customer loyalty, the U.S. Immigration and Custom Forces agency are going to end their contract with RIM (Blackberry’s maker) to gain a contract with iPhone. Over 17,600 employees will gain a new iPhone costing near $2.1 million. The agency said that the company “can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency.” They said that they also viewed Google’s Android, but decided that the iPhone would serve best at least for this year because of Apple’s tight controls of the hardware platform and operating system.

RIM has fired back by revamping the technology they’re putting in the BB10 to hopefully meet the government’s needs. RIM was always the choice for high-secured companies and IT firms, but because of the higher security levels on the newer iPhones and Androids, RIM now has some serious competition.

To me, this article is shows again how Apple dominates the market. Even customers who have been loyal to Blackberry for years now are giving up their contracts to go to the iPhone. Even at my own work, corporate is allowing managers an “upgrade version work phone” to get the iPhone for their phone. It used to be the saying that you had your personal phone, and your blackberry for work. I feel like this is changing rapidly, and already the iPhone is capable of having multiple numbers on it at once with apps. Hopefully with the new BB10, Blackberry will be able to compete once again.

It will be interesting to me to see which phone will finally beat the iPhone, or if that day will ever come.

iphone 5 vs. BB10




Drug Dealers Targeting Walgreens Supply Chain

On September 14, the Drug enforcement Agency shut down shipments of oxycodone which is a controlled substance at a Walgreens facility in Florida after suspiciously detecting a high number of sales on pain killers at a half-dozen Walgreens store in the states. Like any other retail pharmacies, Walgreens would receive scam orders from customers who would come back after two weeks to refill a 30-day prescription or  ordering two different prescriptions from two different doctors. They even have customers making up their own prescriptions. In the system, the computer has the ability to track down their customers prescriptions to see how often they would come back, and their profile. The illegal diversion of oxycodone was likely the result of a person or persons trying to “game the system with fake orders,” said Brian Kilcourse, a managing partner for retail consultant RSR Research.

I think it’s interesting how Walgreens or any other retail pharmacies has this type of technology to track down their customer’s prescription, what I don’t get is any getting the prescription several times shouldn’t the system flag the customers account to prevent them from ordering further prescriptions. I have no idea how retail pharmacy works, but as I recall revisiting the doctor a while ago, I noticed they only give you a sheet with the prescriptions they want me to pick up from any pharmacy, the only legitimate thing I saw from the piece of paper is the doctor’s name, address of the clinic, and a logo, and the drugs he told me to prescribe. I went to a Walgreens as well to drop off my prescription they just take the sheet and ask me to come back in half hour or next day pick up. I’m just curious how these a vulnerability in the supply chain management system and technology may have created an opportunity to divert oxycodone from one of the pharmacy chains and into the black market.

Apple’s Bill of Materials increases for iPhone 5

The Wall Street Journal posted an article earlier this week before the iPhone 5 came out entitled “Apple iPhone 5’s higher production costs no threat to its profits”. In the article, it discusses and analyzes Apple’s bill of materials, or BOM, before the iPhone was actually released. In the production of this iPhone, apple totaled up a bill of $199 for the 16GB device. This is up 6% from the previous model and is also in line with the price for the phone when purchasing a 2 year contract with the phone company. The only issue with this pricing is it goes off the market price of the item, not the amount apple might be paying for it. However, this does not change the fact that apple has increased to price of the pieces and electronics that it puts into its phones.

A reason why the BOM for the iPhone is such an analyzed piece of information is because the iPhone itself amounts for 40% of Apple’s gross margin and has remained far ahead of any other manufacturer. Then, it was taken in to account how when new iPhones are released, the old models are sold at a greatly reduced price brand new and are often more attractive to consumers when there are not a lot of changes done to the new iPhone.

Although the physical iPhone itself is what brings in the curious consumers, it is also important that Apple still appeals to the carrier companies that offer their phone. It is important for those companies to have the newest technology and the best technology to be able to offer to their prospective and current customers. They make their profits on the monthly services but without phones such as the iPhone or other close competitors, they would not be able to lock in those contracts.


This article intrigued me not only  because it is a day after the launch of the iPhone 5, but I feel like it is something that a lot of people can relate to and are interested in reading since it is a product we have all own, have played with, seen, or at the least heard of… for my generation at least. It is also shocked me to see that the iPhone 5 increased its BOM. It makes me wonder if apple will continue to raise the Bill of Materials with everyone phone model, or if they will have a project manager step in through out the year this year who really focuses on the cost of the materials. It is evident that apple has focused on the production and timeliness, even though some of us were expecting the iPhone 5 and all of its perks last November, but it seems as though they have lost sight of cost… or, have they? Is it maybe that Apple is such a profitable, successful, dominant company in today’s bad economy that instead of focusing on such a minuscule, insignificant cost to them they would rather focus on delivering a product that continue to keep them above the rest by miles? Or was this their plan since last year when they realized that realeasing the iPhone 4s, which was not much different from the 4, was not as profitable as they were expecting it to be? Instead of purchasing the new phone, people p urchased the iPhone 4 for much cheaper because there really was not a huge benefit to paying full price for the 4S. Apple may have figured that instead of focusing on cost, they would focus on production of a product that will guilt consumers into buying over the 4S so that they see the profits in the 5?


I am interested to see what people think Apple’s intentions are in this situation. Was this a strategic plan or do you think the increase in the BOM is going to hurt Apple in the end?





Living in the City of Chicago, I am sure that almost all of us have been on or at least seen some sort of CTA transportation in our daily lives. I know as a fact that I use both the Train and the Bus lines as a way to travel around the city that is a much more inexpensive option that taking a taxi cab or driving myself then parking and having to pay a premium for that parking spot. The CTA is the second largest public transit authority in the United States, and on an average day there systems of trains and buses provide transportation to over 1.6  million people on a daily basis.

Obviously with such as large amount of people that can be affected there is plenty of room for improvement within the system. I know that on more than one occasion I have been on a train that has broken down or been stopped because they train in front of them has broken down. This quickly will lead to delays in a City where people hate to be late and don’t have all that much spare time on their hands. So recently the CTA has selected the Trapeze Group to give there Operational Systems an overhaul. This groups main focus is going to look into improving the upkeep of the hardware used on a daily basis. This ultimately may lead to more improvement on the tracks as well as speedy service. How many times have you seen someone cram themselves onto an already crowded train just because they know the next train won’t be to the station in time to get them to work.


So my question is there anything other than maintenance that could be improved by the CTA that would make your commute more efficient? Remember 1.6 Million opinions could make some big changes.



Power Outage Takes Down Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest

So as many may have already figured out, three of the most popular sites went down on Friday night. This led to chaos and confusion as the “Internets” seemed to have been broken. When thinking about operations management or project management one must automatically assume that their is a contingency plan right? With everything now a days moving to the Cloud and into the abyss that is the internet, how could Amazon one of the conglomerates to hold the throne not have had a back up plan? A wee little storm happened to blow out the power in North Virginia. The outage occurred last night at 11:21 p.m. EST when Amazon’s Compute Cloud in North Virginia went down during violent thunder storm.


Seeing that most people cannot live without being connected, I cannot imagine the world we live in not having it. So with everything moving to Cloud Storage and most of the major developers offering free / paid space (Google, Apple, and Microsoft) How can management be so sure that everyone’s data is going to be safe. Even though what happened with these three sites was temporary (Netflix and Pinterest came back later that night, Instragram is still MIA), how stable is the Cloud going to be. The biggest concern would be that all of that data was being ran through one facility, granted that this was probably a freak occurrence, but should Amazon not have had a backup server?  Netflix already in the mist of rebuilding their image after their pricing fiasco was really not in a good position to take yet another blow. I know it probably is not as simple as a back up server, but there has to be other options for these companies if this type of event does occur.  How big of a backlash will this be, not just to Amazons cloud service, but for the three companies involved?

The repercussion of the cloud going down especially on a Friday night can also lead to positive results with other company’s looking to move toward cloud based services. Company’s that run these services, IBM, Oracle, and Akami can see this and offer packages that consist of having a contingency plan is things go array. Lets also not forget the security that these systems and services have to insure with the companies they are dealing with. So to bring this back to project mangement, this just shows that having a contingency plan during whether its in operations or an ad hoc project is a must. Management must know all of the risks they are undertaking before acting on a plan.




Manufacturability & Value Engineering

We learned in our “Operation Management” class that designing operations processes aims to reduce cost; reduce complexity; additional standardization of components; improvement of functional aspects of the product; and improved maintainability of the product. Furthermore, manufacturing and value engineering procedures are concerned with improvement of design and specifications at the research, development, design, and production stages of product development. Also, we learned that organizations develop a strategy plan to set their expectations of achieving missions and goals.

Volkswagen (VW) Group set a strategic plan known as “Strategy 2018” that aims to make the VW Group a worldwide leader in 2018. Over the long term, VW aims to increase unit sales to more than 10 million vehicles a year and intends to increase its return on sales before tax to at least 8%. To achieve these goals, Volkswagen announced an introduction of new manufacturing design platform called Modular Transverse Matrix or (MQB), which will play a vital role.

Volkswagen Group is a German multinational automotive manufacturing group headquartered in Wolfsburg. It is the world’s second-largest motor vehicle manufacturer by 2011 unit sales and the largest based in Europe. The Group is made up of various big brands: Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley, Skoda, SEAT, VW Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN.


Generally, each automobile platform is designed specifically for a market segment and shared between cars of similar size. A typical mass market of VW platform underpins different brands with several model variants. VW is now creating shared modular platforms to serve needs of its different subsidiaries. One of the prominent features of the MQB is the uniform position of all engines designed to accommodate two new four cylinder engine cars. The new engines will reduce the Group’s engines and gearbox variants in the MQB system by 90% and the MQB will also enables an identical mounting position for all current alternative drive concepts from natural gas and hybrid versions to the pure electric drivecitation.


Soon, all of the models and brands under VW Group will be produced on the same assembly line, and even will produce MQB models of different brands together. The advantages of creating a modular design are: simplifications of manufacturing and assembly; easier repair and replacement; parts interchangeability; standardization; and easier diagnosis and remedy of failures. By creating a standardized, interchangeable set of parts from which to build a variety of cars, VW plans to cut the time taken to build a car by 30%. The MQB platform will allow the VW Group to produce a worldwide high volume and niche models at extremely competitive costs over the long term. The MQB takes advantage of synergies in key technologies and allows for greater boost in salescitation.

The modular platform concept is a radical structural advantage for Volkswagen Group in the global automotive industry, allowing it to reduce costs and be more competitive on prices. Do you think that Volkswagen Group cars will dominate the world market share by 2018?


For more information about the new MQB, please read VW press release

ROLEX: The Art of Watchmaking

Whenever you produce a product that is unique, there has to be something unique as well in the way of producing it.

Rolex came to my mind directly with a series of questions:
What makes Rolex watches unique from other brand watches around the world?
What are the distinctive features of the environment in which Rolex watches are manufactured?
What are the distinctive characteristics of the Rolex employees that make the watches?


At Rolex, men and women who service and produce these machines are considered artists, who blend both science and design to create these master pieces of art. They understand the interplay between all the materials used, and combine all the thoughts needed to create an object that is a reflection of care and intent. At the end, they believe that it is a piece of living art that is greater than the sum of its parts. Furthermore, and this is the heart of Rolex, people who work on watches are very passionate, have incredible ideas and are always excited to produce such products. Hence, when
you are caring, passionate and enjoying what you are doing, you will do it with the utmost attention and care. And that is the secret at Rolex when producing their luxurious watches. It is like producing a thing with pleasant feelings and creating another soul.

From another angle, the workshops where the watchmakers work are very much organized. Managers say that the person is expected to work in a library like atmosphere (i.e. clean and quite) that will enable the watchmaker to focus and to be comfortable. I believe, watchmaking is not for everybody, it requires talent, time management, commitment and patience.  What adds to all of this as well is dealing with very delicate and expensive products. Not to mention, adding the jewelry further pressurize the watchmaker.

At Rolex they will only bring people who believe that working as a watchmaker is the right career at the right time.

I searched until I found this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGd4XHfG-G8

Enjoy every bit of it!!