ScannerShirts Blur Airport Body Scan Images.

Recently, I went to L.A. When I was waiting at security checkpoint, the U.S Custom officer asked me to do the full-body scanners. That was not my first time to do this; I could not count the times that I have been to this situation. However, I have read an article about this controversial issue that how to led entrepreneur Marc Carey to launch a line of airport underwear for men, women and children. His company, Kentucky based, markets underwear with smiley faces and patriotic symbols like stats and the U.S seal, strategically placed to obscure private parts if the wearer must do the full-body scan. I am wondering, is it ethical to market merchandise that aims to thwart government-mandated initiatives like full-body scans at airports?

However, there are some pros and cons in this issue:

Pro: Full-body scans are revealing invasive and undignified; moreover, merchandise like airport underwear does not prevent security personnel from adequately screening travelers for prohibited devices.

Con: Scanning requires only that travelers stand in a screening room, fully clothed for only 15-25 seconds. Experts claim the extremely low dose of radiation poses no health threat. Furthermore, an item like airport underwear provokes consumers’ worst fears about inappropriate contact.

Therefore, given the circumstances, consumers need to exercise their own good judgment about whether to purchase special travel underwear.

What do you think?

Sources:Fran Golden,”Airport Scanner Blocking Underwear a Hit,” AOL Travel, January 5,2011.

Best buy, the largest Electronic Store of the Country in Trouble? Let’s find out..

Is the largest Electronic Store of the Country in Trouble? Let’s find out..

Today, we are going to talk about one of the largest electronic stores of United States of America. Best buy has been one of the leading electronic suppliers for many years not only in United States but many other countries. After Circuit City going out of business, many of us thought that there is no looking back for this company. However, after Amazon coming into the industry it gave Best buy a tough competition and many people are turning towards online shopping in search better deals and lower prices.

After facing tough losses and losing its market share against many retailers like Amazon, Wal-mart and Apple Best buy has reported 1.7 billion dollar losses for its fourth quarter in March. In order to recover from these loses Best buy came up with a new plan to eliminate about 400 stores out of its 1100 stores in United States. “In order to help make technology work for every one of our customers and transform our business as the consumer electronics industry continues to evolve, we are taking major actions to improve our operating performance,” Best Buy CEO Brian J. Dunn said in a statement. The company is expecting to achieve $800 million in cost reductions by its fiscal year 2015. Besides cutting down its locations and laying off many employees best buy is also planning to change the architecture of its existing and new stores.

Best buy has also announced that they are going to take out most of their displays and not have any source of internet connections in their stores to avoid customers going online to compare prices with its competitors. Best buy is also planning to invest more in Best Buy Mobile, and open 100 more locations.  As part of the company’s new strategy, Best Buy will remodel some of its big box stores with what it calls a “Connected Store” format. These stores will “focus on connections, services and multi-channel experience through a total transformation of both the store and the operating environment.” They are planning to move their tablets and best buy mobile departments in front of the store and move all the other departments in the back of the store.

Although I feel the approach best buy is taking might help them for short period of time, However it is about time for Best buy to focus more on e-business. What do you guys think? With the booming e-business industries and many customers trying to compare prices and looking for a best deal possible, can best buy ever get on the top position ? Does best buy needs to work more on their store and operations management or do they need to focus more towards e-business?

Wal-Mart and the Successful Supply Chain Management

We all know that Wal-Mart is one the most sucessful companies out there with one of the best supply chain’s ever created. The University of San Francisco wrote up an article on the techniques that Wal-Mart uses to become sucessful and they are exactly the same techniques that we learned in class.

Wal-Marts cost saving methods are always passed down to the customer as the costs associated with their supply chain is minimized.

Their success comes from:

  • Cross Docking
  • Demand Planning
  • Forecasting
  • Inventory Management
  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Distribution Management
I looked up cross docking to get a better understanding of what it is and how Wal-Mart uses it and it is a technique that replenishes inventory. Cross-docking is when inventory comes from the supplier directly to the retailers warehouse and then turned around and shipped out on trucks to the retailers store. This minimizes shelf time and inventory costs that Wal-Mart would of had to pay.
In addition, supply chain managers at Wal-Mart focus heavily on demand planning and forecasting like we did in class in order to acheive “lean inventory”. They focus on historical data, upcoming sales, and trends in the indsustry to predict the inventory levels they need.  They then forecast out their predicitons to make sure distributors have just the right amount of inventory on hand to reduce inventory costs.
One of the best ways Wal-Mart gets the lowest prices though is it vendor partners and the long-term contracts established with them. Since Wal-Mart is a market leader in retail sales, vendors are forced to agree to low margin, high volume sales to Wal-Mart if they want to stay on the retailers shelves.
One of my first accounting jobs was working at a online computers parts retailer/wholesaler. We had a few warehouses connected to an office and this gave me my first insight into supply chain and inventory management as I was involved in purchasing as well. Initially, our inventory system was out of date as we used a periodic system that was time-consuming and expensive. Our inventory mangement became more efficient when we ordered a SKU system to keep a perpetual count of what we had. Our hot-selling or our “A” list items were constantly being re-ordered and our inventory became much more lean to the point where we were restocking huge shelves every week. We used histroical data such as Black Friday sales and upcoming promotions to know how much to stock and also became a volume buyer to achieve the lowest prices.
Have you had experience being in a purchasing department and measure the inventory volume that needs to be purchased?


Marketing Driving Quality Control

While it’s true that upper and lower boundaries for SPC charts can be set by using some measure of central tendency and typical variation, there are sometimes other factors that will be used to determine process control limits. At Dremel, a power tool company owned by Bosch Power Tools, we heavily monitor and control our manufacturing processes. Dremel makes a line of light-duty power tools aimed at the DIY homeowner and craft/hobbyists markets. Many of their applications necessitate some degree of tool precision (of cut width, straightness, depth, smoothness, etc.) and so our processes are designed to achieve that end. Specifically, our manufacturing process controls for the presence of runout (misalignment between the tool axis and the cutting surface) and tests to look for excessive misalignment.

The interesting thing about our particular operation, though, is that the upper boundary for acceptable misalignment is not a function of the standard deviation of our process. Sure, it can be defined that way, but the number itself wasn’t selected using a statistical model. Rather, it was a marketing driven decision. Our product marketing group did extensive consumer insight research to determine what level of precision mattered for the types of projects our customers undertake. After determining that they were happy so long as the tools were at least some level of precise, the team reworked the manufacturing operation around achieving those numbers.

Of course Dremel uses some of the SPC tools we discussed in class to control its operations. For example, we track the number of defects and percent defective. It’s just that SPC isn’t the only framework in controlling our manufacturing process. Marketing, logistics, and other business functions also get involved and have a stake in making sure the products get made a certain way and according to a certain procedure. The manufacturing unit has to be responsive on all those fronts.

The point of bringing all of this up is two-fold. First, I wanted to highlight that in industry, while many of the operations management tools discussed in class are used, they are not applied in a vacuum and might be modified for a firm’s unique needs. Second, I wanted to encourage thinking about areas where  business functions begin to overlap. Where disciplines begin to intermingle, we need to have some way of making decisions about which framework (or frameworks) ought to take precedent. We need to really understand the goal being pursued and select the most appropriate bits from marketing, finance, accounting, operations, etc., to maximize success.

Are there any instances from your experience where one discipline seemed to be calling the shots in another’s area of expertise? (Exs. Did marketing ever drive finance? Did operations ever affect accounting?)

Ford Betting on Hybrid Cars

Ford Motor is making a bet that the future of cars turn to to be dominated by hybrid vehicles. This view is one most large automakers such as Toyota are sharing. Contrary to to exciting start ups like Tesla Motors, Ford thinks that 25% of auto sales will be electric by the end of the decade, but predicts that 90% of these sales will come in the form of hybrids. Ford points out that hybrid vehicles have two very distinct advantages over electric cars. First, it is cheaper to make hybrid cars that use a gas motor combined with a smaller electric batter to move the car. This is in large part because electric batteries are very expensive. Electric batteries in hybrid cars are very small compared to fully electric vehicles. This has been able to keep the cost of hybrid vehicles down while keeping the cost of fully electric cars high. And second, hybrid cars resemble a driving experience to a normal a car. There are many advantages to this such as refueling of a hybrid car. Hybrid cars rely on gas motors for most of the driving, which allow the car to be refueled at any gas station. Electric cars can only be charged at home, allowing for the occurrence of the car to run out of gas far away from an owners charger.

Despite Ford’s prediction on hybrid vehicles, Ford is making sure it is capable of producing fully electric vehicles if their prediction were to be proved wrong. One of the strategies Ford uses is to build different power sources for its already existing cars. This can be seen in a fully electric vehicle such as the upcoming electric focus. Ford can increasing or decrease production based on demand. They can also be built on existing assembly lines right along with the existing models. This allows Ford to test the market conservatively, as they can scrap the power source but keep model if demand was not there. This conservative strategy is a way to test the market but also keep the high costs of producing a new car to a minimal. Ford is using a very smart operation management strategy with regards to its hybrid and electric cars. This will allow the automaker to keep up with demand and keep inventory to a minimum to save costs.

Is Ford’s prediction right about hybrid vehicles dominating the market? Or will other fully electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S and the Nissan Leaf be the next big car of the decade?

Google’s Nexus Sold Out

In its first weekend of general release, the Nexus is sold out at some retailers. Stores such as, GameStop and staples have listed the device as out of stock, and  according to, GameStop has gone through its two allocations of the tablet. Its next shipment isn’t due until August. Was Google’s forecasting of expected sales off or was this just an unexpected peak in sales due to its introduction?


All the popularity may be due to its affordability and favorable reviews from tech reviewers. Prices start from $199 for a 8GB version to $299 for its 16GB version. Where other tablets have failed, the Nexus might just be the first to give Apple’s Ipad competition. But, one of their problems is that they are reportedly making a very narrow profit on each of their tablets. The profit margin on each tablet is just over $30  per tablet. If Google continues to sell their Nexus with such a low profit margin, will they still come out on top and continue to be profitable? Or will they be forced to discontinue the tablet after the buzz of its introduction has worn out?,2817,2407141,00.asp

TCF: Keep what’s yours

TCF National Bank recently relaunched TCF Free Checking,  In the midst of the recession, all banks changed policy and products due to government regulations.  The banking industry completely changed.  The consumers were ready to turn their backson banks and keep their money under their matresses.  I work in that industry and I saw people everyday coming in to close accounts left and right.  TCF lost a lot of clientele and profits were not rising as they were planned.  After two years, TCF decided to take charge and listen to its customers.  They went through six months of market research in many major cities, one of them Chicago.  Their research findings were not shocking, customers wanted less fees, no minimum balances, and a bank that listens to its customers.  Well TCF did exactly that and re-introduced TCF Free Checking.  They launched the biggest marketing campaign in TCF history to promote it, and results have been great!

Executive management did a wonderful job with the business strategy, because right now TCF is one of the top dogs in the industry.  I think more companies should follow TCF’s approach to it’s customers and their business strategy.

Intake of Lexapro Medication Linked to Birth Defects

Welllbutrin Lawyers Handling Birth Defects Cases


The effects of consistent and continuous intake of medications containing selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as Lexapro, has been tested for various side-effects. Recent tests have shown a significant correlation between such medications and the number of  newborn children born with pulmonary hypertension for medicated patients.  While this these statistics do not pertain directly to seller’s risk or buyer’s risk of the manufacturing company of Lexapro and the intermediaries, which sell this medication directly to the public, these statistics do relate to the seller’s risk and buyer’s risk of the manufacturing company of Lexapro and the genreally medicated public, respectively.

Past a certain rate of occurrence, or once the correlation between the intake of medication containing selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors and any resulting birth defects similar in nature to pulmonary hypertension in children of prescribed patients have been proven to significant enough, the drug control agency of various governments will mostly likely restrict or ban the sale of Lexapro and similar medications.

In order to determine an acceptable rate of occurrence or statistical correlation, many of the same mathematical procedures demonstrated in our assigned readings will be utilized in the process of that determination. Buyer’s risk, seller’s risk, and statistical process control are all mathematical procedures likely to be utilized. Theories covered in our assigned reading, such as sustainability, will also be considered in the process of determination for the various drug control agencies and judicial systems likely to be involved in this case. Specifically the regulation and reputation components of the sustainbility theory will be considered, not only for the manufacturing company of Lexapro medication and the like, but also for the respective drug control agencies likely to be involved in this case. What is most important to note in my posting, in my opinion, would be that the theories and procedures described in our text and during our class sessions, do not only pertain to management operations considerations of specific companies, but they also pertain the considerations of various governmental agencies and individuals, which themselves often operate as a company and operations manager, respectively.

BMW number 1 in Supplier relationship management

BMW has the best conditions between all the German cars in the US, I am talking about free maintenance and quality of service, and I did not expect to see BMW number in SuRe (Supplier Relationship). Porsche, which is the least breaking car, is one the second place. Mercedes, which is in the “Golden Middle” is on the third place.

IHS analyst Matteo Fini, said: “The key reason for the improvement by BMW, according to suppliers, was providing them with the potential to make a profit over the lifetime of a contract.” In other words, suppliers believe in success of BMW and they have no doubt with helping BMW. This rating was made by 5 criterias: profit potential, organisation, trust, pursuit of excellence and outlook.

BMW has the second place for organisation,that shows the quality of communications with the supplier. Also  BMW was the second for pursuit of excellence, a concept that shows at the extent to which the car manufacturer achieves competitive advantage by getting the best-in-class technology delivered to the customer. BMW got the the third place for profit potential, which is defined by factors such as productivity gains and payment for parts.

Some people say that German manufacturers show profit potential throughout a deal’s lifetime as a major reason for the high ranking.


Would you buy a $100,000 dollar car at a Shopping Mall?

Aside from developing and manufacturing high performance electric vehicles, Tesla also sells their product in unique and different ways- at shopping malls. Imagine you are going to a mall to shop for holiday gifts and then you see this beautiful auto, right at the mall. It is very convenient, isn’t it?

There are a few reasons why Tesla decided to sell cars at malls:

  • Easy to reach a wide crowd: “We want everyone — from kindergartners to grandparents — to come in and see for themselves why driving electric is the future.” (Tesla Borrows From Apple to Sell Cars)
  • Tesla is borrowing Apple’s sales strategy.  Tesla is creating a unique and upscale experience targeted at above upper middle school families, similar to what Apple has done. Tesla is trying to create a strong emotional connection with their brand, sell the quirky, intelligent lifestyle that they represent.
  • All stores will be factory-owned which allows the company to have absolute control over their entire sales channel (Tesla autos for sale in unexpected places)Do you think selling Tesla at shopping malls will succeed? Would you buy a $100,000 car at a shopping mall?


Do you think selling Tesla at shopping malls will succeed? Would you buy a $100,000 car at a shopping mall?