Case Studies: Supply Chain

  • Mattel, Inc: The Lead Paint Recall Photo

    Mattel, Inc: The Lead Paint Recall

    M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 19 pages
    Publication date: 2010
    Case#: 6-0033

    Supply chains face many risks, from material flow disruption and quality failures to information security. In some cases those risk come from suppliers in other cases they come from downstream partners. For example, in 2010, Toyota faced global criticism over its handling of a recall related to sticking accelerator pedals. Likewise, in 2007 product safety problems led many toy makers to recall products during the holiday season. Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker with years of experience working in China, found itself in the middle of very negative global publicity. This case inquires as to what went so wrong?

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    Topics: Information Technology, Supply Chain

    Industry: Toys/Video Games

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  • Technology and Quality at Steinway Photo

    Technology and Quality at Steinway

    M. Eric Johnson, Joseph M. Hall, Ashley Martin-Golis T'08, David Pyke
    Length: 20 pages
    Publication date: 2009
    Case#: 6-0023

    For almost two centuries, Steinway & Sons set the standard for excellence in piano manufacture. This case articulates the Steinway definition of quality, how they achieved that quality, and contrasts their quality with its mass produced competitors. More importantly, this case explores the role and impact of technology on quality, showing how Steinway used new product offerings to enhance its distribution strategy and control its quality image.

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    Topics: Manufacturing, Supply Chain

    Industry: Musical Instruments

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  • NetHope: Collaborating for the Future of Relief and Development Photo

    NetHope: Collaborating for the Future of Relief and Development

    Benjamin Farmer T'07, M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 20 pages
    Publication date: 2007
    Case#: 6-0026

    Most disasters occur in developing countries, often in remote areas lacking infrastructure, such as roads, reliable power grids, and telephony. As such, international relief agencies desperately need effective information communication technology. NetHope's mission was to collaboratively address technology challenges facing relief agencies, and to build shared infrastructure to enable humanitarian supply chains. This case examines the challenges newly appointed NetHope CEO Bill Brindley faced as he worked to build the collaboration and trust needed to take NetHope to the next level. 

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    Topics: Information Technology, Supply Chain

    Industry: Humanitarian Relief

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  • Strengthening the Distribution Channel at Steinway Photo

    Strengthening the Distribution Channel at Steinway

    Robert Batt T'06, M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 22 pages
    Publication date: 2007
    Case#: 6-0027

    Few brands enjoy the quality image of Steinway & Sons. For nearly two centuries, Steinway's pianos have set the world standard in product excellence. While quality has also been the cornerstone of Steinway's manufacturing and marketing strategy, its channel strategy was less well-aligned. What were the strengths and weaknesses of Steinway's distribution network? This case examines the integration of operations and marketing strategies. It describes how Steinway used channel consolidation and new product offerings to enhance its distribution strategy and control its quality image. 

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    Topics: Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain

    Industry: Musical Instruments

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  • Aligning the Supply Chain Photo

    Aligning the Supply Chain

    Laura R. Kopczak, M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 17 pages
    Publication date: 2006
    Case#: 6-0024

    Align Technology, makers of the highly successful orthodontic treatment Invisalign, was in the midst of a transition from a start-up venture to an established firm. With customer orders stepping up, Align outlined a multi-million dollar IT investment for a new execution system that would address the growing complexity of managing its multi-country operations. This case study examines the challenges of manufacturing a mass customization product and the business case behind Align's investment in a new enterprise information system to automate its supply chain. 

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    Topics: Manufacturing, Services, Supply Chain

    Industry: Medical Devices

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  • Biogen-Idec: Growing a Customer-Focused Supply Chain Photo

    Biogen-Idec: Growing a Customer-Focused Supply Chain

    M. Eric Johnson, Julia Kidd Winterson T'04
    Length: 19 pages
    Publication date: 2005
    Case#: 6-0022

    Biogen CEO Jim Mullen was taking the biotech firm from a research-focused business model to a more customer-centric enterprise. This case looks at his plan for a significant IT investment in a new customer relationship management (CRM) system to support more patient interaction in the company's call center, improve the flow of medication to patients, and provide better access to account information for its increasingly international and mobile sales force.

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    Topics: Innovation, Marketing, Supply Chain

    Industry: Biotechnology

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  • Papirius: Office Depot Is Coming Photo

    Papirius: Office Depot Is Coming

    M. Eric Johnson, Daniel R. Justicz T'00, Jay A. Altizer T'00
    Length: 18 pages
    Publication date: 2004
    Case#: 6-0016

    In 2001, Petr Sykora and Jan Cerny, founders of the Czech-based office supply distributor Papirius, began to formulate their potential responses to Office Depot's impending entrance into the Czech market. Should they enter adjacent countries, expand their online presence, or acquire domestic competitors to gain market share?

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    Topics: Supply Chain

    Industry: Office Supplies

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  • Can Heroes Be Efficient? Information Technology at the International Federation of the Red Cross Photo

    Can Heroes Be Efficient? Information Technology at the International Federation of the Red Cross

    Laura R. Kopczak, M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 19 pages
    Publication date: 2004
    Case#: 6-0021

    Managing human crises around the globe, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) faced daunting challenges in coordinating government and nongovernmental relief agencies. The unpredictability of disasters with the resulting human suffering made speed a primary objective. Would a web-based information system help IFRC better respond to those in need while making the organization more efficient?

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    Topics: Supply Chain

    Industry: Humanitarian Relief

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  • Woolworths “Chips” Away at Inventory Shrinkage through RFID Initiative Photo

    Woolworths “Chips” Away at Inventory Shrinkage through RFID Initiative

    Michael Gozycki T'04, M. Eric Johnson, Hau Lee
    Length: 11 pages (plus appendices)
    Publication date: 2004
    Case#: 6-0020

    As a continuing development of our expertise in RFID (and in that sense a follow-on to the hit Quad case - see case # 6-0015), this case offers an opportunity to analyze the decision-making of a retail chain, Woolworths in England, as they consider implementation of a tracking system to cover their distribution network.

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    Topics: Information Technology, Supply Chain

    Industry: Retail

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  • PERI Photo

    PERI

    Hans Brechbühl, (with Yiorgos Bakamitsos)
    Length: 10 pages (plus appendices)
    Publication date: 2003
    Case#: 6-0019

    The international market leader in an increasingly important product and service segment of the construction industry, PERI faced key decisions on updating and automating key processes. This case offers the opportunity for in-depth discussion on where a bricks-and-mortar company should place its IT bets for the future.

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    Topics: Information Technology, Manufacturing, Marketing, Services, Supply Chain

    Industry: Construction

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  • Garden.com - At the End of the Runway Photo

    Garden.com - At the End of the Runway

    M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 25 pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 6-0017

    In the etailing gold rush of 1999, Garden.com was celebrated by both the dot.com media and the traditional business press as the quintessential virtual supply chain. INC magazine called Garden the "Perfect Internet Business." Yet by early 2001, Bill Pond, Director of Product Management found himself laying off his last employee and shipping his last order. 

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    Topics: Innovation, Product Development, Supply Chain

    Industry: Garden Supply

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  • Yantra and ChemPoint: Extraprise Management in the Specialty Chemical Industry Photo

    Yantra and ChemPoint: Extraprise Management in the Specialty Chemical Industry

    Jesse Johnson T'02, under the supervision of Professor M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 17 pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 6-0003

    With no existing solution that could provide all their needs, ChemPoint selected vendors that offered a balance of functionality, speed, and cost, which fit their Internet focus and start-up financing. Yantra's software PureEcommerce was integral to this "best-of-breed" technology solution. With a powerful system in place, ChemPoint was rapidly executing their plan to build a farreaching network of chemical suppliers and customers.

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    Topics: Services, Supply Chain

    Industry: Chemicals

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  • Quad Wants to be a “Savi” Player in Agribusiness Photo

    Quad Wants to be a “Savi” Player in Agribusiness

    M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 25 pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 6-0015

    In the competitive world of agribusiness, producer growers and grocery retailers must all strive to improve produce quality and reduce logistics cost. Quad hoped that its new reusable totes were the answer, but improving container utilization was critical in delivering a cost-effective solution. Could Savi Technologies help them develop a find a supply chain solution using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology?

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    Topics: Supply Chain

    Industry: Agribusiness

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  • Agile Software - I Want My WebTV! Photo

    Agile Software - I Want My WebTV!

    M. Eric Johnson, Hau Lee
    Length: 16 pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 1-0074

    Preview: Carol Schrader shifted in her chair, trying to focus on the conversation bouncing around the room. It wasn’t that she was uninterested in the topic. The group was debating the strategic direction of the firm’s software products. But like a jeep caught in the deep ruts of a muddy road, her thoughts kept falling back to the week’s stock market headlines. August of 1999 had not been a kind month for NASDAQ initial stock offerings. In fact, the whole summer was beginning to feel like a downward spiral. The worst headline had appeared that morning on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, “For Net-IPO Party, the Balloons Begin to Pop.”

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    Topics: Innovation, Supply Chain

    Industry: Computer

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  • Stora Enso North America Photo

    Stora Enso North America

    Jesse Johnson, Chris Trimble
    Length: 23 pages
    Publication date: 2001
    Case#: 2-0001

    Robert Leach, VP of information technology for SENA had a vision of building an IT infrastructure that connected all of the participants in the paper supply chain and launching new service businesses enabled by the new infrastructure. Through a detailed description of the first two years of this effort, this case highlights many internal and external barriers. A good case to illustrate the specific operational reasons why some expectations formed in the dot.com bubble were unrealistic.

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    Topics: Manufacturing, Supply Chain

    Industry: Paper

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  • Mattel, Inc: Vendor Operations in Asia Photo

    Mattel, Inc: Vendor Operations in Asia

    M. Eric Johnson, Tom Clock
    Length: 22 pages
    Publication date: 2000
    Case#: 1-0013

    After the announcement of the merger between Mattel, Inc. and its second largest rival, Tyco Toys, SVP Ron Montalto was embroiled in a debate over the sourcing strategy for the existing Hot Wheels product line and newly added Matchbox cars. Montalto had to decide whether Mattel should go forward with a new China plant, build a plant in Malaysia or Indonesia, expand one of the existing facilities, or outsource the surplus die-cast volume.

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    Topics: Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain

    Industry: Toys/Video Games

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