Errors and omissions of the most ordinary and preventable kind kill thousands of patients every year in hospitals throughout the developed and developing worlds. A simple solution exists to this problem, argues Atul Gawande in his most recent book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. A surgeon and a journalist, Gawande shows just how effective checklists can be in reducing the damage caused by human fallibility in industries including medicine, construction, aviation and others where the work environment depends on complicated processes, technology, and equipment. So why aren't checklists used in every operating room and ICU? The answer is simple: In the existing medical establishment, too many doctors don't like to be told what to do. Add one more box to the checklist -- the need for a cultural change. Why Culture Matters in Operations Management
Academics have long acknowledged the role culture plays in shaping consumer behavior, but rarely has the influence of culture on manufacturing and the workplace been studied. In a newly published paper, "The Way That Can Be Told of Is Not an Unvarying Way: Cultural Impacts on Operations Management in Asia," Richard Metters and Elliott Bendoly, associate professors of information systems & operations management at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, and colleagues draw from experiences abroad, as well as historical data, to show that the persistent Western belief that one size fits all can prove disastrous when doing business in Asian countries. Getting Project Managers to Juggle Together: Unanticipated Drawbacks of Work Challenges and Ownership
Project management is distinct skill that requires the ability to juggle a variety of tasks, access and allocate resources—especially workers—and ensure the work is done efficiently and on time. As the U.S. economic crisis puts pressure on company budgets, project managers are being asked to adapt not only to the dynamic needs of their own projects, but also to the needs of projects that are managed by others in the organization, says Elliot Bendoly, an associate professor of information systems and operations management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In a new paper, "The Perception of Difficulty in Project-Work Planning and Its Impact on Resource Sharing," Bendoly and Jill Perry-Smith, associate professor of organization and management at Goizueta, argue that project managers become less willing to share workers as the job of setting schedules for their various projects becomes more difficult. In the paper, which will soon be published in the Journal of Operations Management, the researchers suggest simulated training to beef up skills and confidence so that project managers feel more secure in sharing workers and completing their own projects. Pay for What You Get: Putting Performance-based Contracting to the Test
Every company wants to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its supply chain, but what's the best way? Since 2004, the United States Defense Department has required its suppliers to adopt performance-based contracting so that it pays them a fee based on the amount of time big-ticket items like F-22 fighter jets are in use without requiring repairs. But is that better value than more traditional contracts that charge customers for time and materials when products break down? According to a new study co-authored by Wharton researchers, the answer is yes. Floriculture: Global Business is Blooming
Flowers are more than delicate pollinators or symbols of gratitude, love and sympathy, says Amy Stewart, author of the New York Times bestseller, Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers. A $40 billion global industry, today’s cut flowers are the product of a collaboration between nature, technology and entrepreneurship that supplies everything from grocery store bouquets to elegant wedding arrangements. Stewart investigates the complex and “bewitching” business of delivering simple and perishable blooms to consumers worldwide, offering a fascinating—and at times provocative—view of the international floral trade. Navigating the Risks and Challenges of Offshoring
For American companies, sending work overseas has been a hit or miss proposition. The winners cite the cost savings and expertise garnered abroad. However, for the losers, offshore projects gone awry can result in lost intellectual property and/or disgruntled customers. With the rate of offshoring on the rise, supply chain experts at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and other Atlanta-area outsourcing experts say for companies to succeed, the ability to navigate risk and understand the intricacies of managing an offshore project are essential. When 'Winging it' Won't Work: How Spreadsheets Can Aid Start-ups with Production Planning
What does a start-up do when its production-planning needs require more than written notes on back of envelopes but aren’t quite advanced enough to use complex software? That question was posed to Steve Walton and Richard Metters, both information systems and operations management faculty at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, by an alumnus who helped found The Permanent Escape and Rescue Ladder or PEARL Protected. Their answer evolved into the paper entitled, “Spreadsheets for Start-up Firms: Production Planning at PEARL Protected.” The paper details how the professors developed a production-planning process the entrepreneurs could use right in Excel. Betting on the ‘Killer App’ of Revenue Management
Ever been on the highway on a Friday night and decided to steer the car toward a casino? It’s a scenario that Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Hotel is not only betting on, but can predict. In a new paper, The “Killer Application” of Revenue Management: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Hotel, Richard Metters, an associate professor of decision and information analysis at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, and colleagues detail how Harrah’s use of revenue and customer relationship management systems is proving to be a powerful tool in predicting customer behavior. One surprise? The goal of the Cherokee is to have a full hotel with an average room rate of $0/night and still make a profit. Exploring the Strategic and Operational Tradeoffs in Internet and Physical Store Retailing
Americans shopping for the holidays over the Internet spent 26% more in 2006 than they did a year ago. According to a January 3 report from Virginia-based ComScore Networks, online sales in November and December jumped almost $25 billion. Although this is good news, operationally retail over the Internet and traditional retail have vastly different drivers, including supply chain structures and delivery mechanisms. In a new paper by Richard Metters and Steve Walton, associate professors of decision and information analysis at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the strategic and operational trade-offs inherent in multi-channel retailing are explored and the researchers offer options while noting one size does not fit all. In Offshoring One Size Does Not Fit All
The decision to offshore operations to another country is often made to reduce labor costs and, in some cases, to add talent. Although some companies have managed to make the transition work, many others avoid taking the step or forge ahead only to find that what worked back in the U.S. does not work in the new location. In a new paper titled, “Offshoring Services and National Culture,” Richard Metters, an associate professor of operations management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, interpreting the work of Emory faculty member Carla Freeman of the anthropology and women's studies department, explores the business challenges that occur when international cultures and operations management intersect. UPS’ Gene Long Reflects on Partnering, Trust and the Benefits of an Effective Supply Chain
There’s a lot more to UPS than the company’s ubiquitous brown trucks. Every day in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, UPS connects two million sellers with six million buyers. Recently, Gene Long, president of UPS Supply Chain Solutions Consulting Services, explained to a group of students in a supply chain management course at Emory University's Goizueta Business School the company’s growth strategy and how it continues to reinvent itself. Factors that Redefine the Face of Corporate America
In January 2004, press reports disclosed that IBM planned to cut costs by $168 million a year by transferring 3,000 U.S.-based jobs overseas. The revelations sparked an uproar inside and outside of the company, according to trade reports. But faculty from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and other observers note that offshoring is only one small part of the reconfiguration of the corporate structure. Just as the steam engine and the Industrial Revolution set the stage for the rise of the corporation, other forces, including economics, demographics and the knowledge revolution, are reshaping the very structure of businesses and the way that employees relate to their employers. How GM’s ‘Basic DNA’ Detoured Its Smooth Ride
As American car makers like GM and Ford struggle to regain their balance after seeing their debt downgraded to junk in May, some observers see a Chapter 11 filing as the only way out. But that tactic would ignore the root causes of the problems, says Jagdish Sheth, a chaired professor of marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In a candid discussion with Knowledge@Emory, Sheth analyzes the market and explains why GM’s focus on financing, not operations, is at the root of its problems. Why Is Organizational Change So Difficult?
Organizational change is a fact of life in today’s companies, but why is it such a challenge? In a paper titled “Asymmetric Adaptability: Dynamic Team Structures As One-Way Streets,” Henry Moon of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and coauthors look into the factors at play when moving from one organizational set up to another. The findings, published last year in the Academy of Management Journal, provide insight into why people behave the way they do in organizations. It's 4:52PM - Do You Know What Your Deadline Is?
Does the way deadlines are set affect the outcome of a project? Giuseppe "Joe" Labianca and Henry Moon, professors of organization and management at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, set out to explore the concept of time that humans have created and how, when altered, it can affect their perception and performance in the workplace. Their unique research provides team leaders with a better understanding of how starting times and ending times might influence both individual and group processes and outputs. Their paper, "When Is an Hour Not Sixty Minutes? Deadlines, Temporal Schemas, and Individual and Task Group Performance," will appear in a future issue of the Academy of Management Journal.