Explain the quantitative, Operation Management

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1.   Explain the quantitative foundation of Six Sigma, and discuss how following the phases of the DMAIC improvement lifecycle ensures that the quantitative aspect of the approach becomes embedded in revised processes.

2.  The 10 functional pillars discussed in this class typically have had their foundations in the production of goods in the industrial sector.  Discuss some challenges one encounters when adapting this material to the provision of services, or to applications in the public and nonprofit sectors.

3.  This class has tried to contrast Operations Engineering with Operations Management.  Describe this relationship and its implications for your professional practice as an operations engineer in dealing with co-workers who work in operations management.

4.  Compare and contrast the primary areas of concern of the Six Sigma versus Lean Enterprise paradigms.  Discuss whether you see an integrated approach to Lean Six Sigma as being compatible with the individual approaches.  How does the integration of the two disciplines into a single approach assist or inhibit successful process improvement?

5. From this week's Pilkington and Meredith (2009) reading, explain and discuss the implications of the following quotation: "Thus we reach the 2000s with a much more integrated field, one that uses rigorous research methods and studies more macro, strategic issues." (p. 197) Describe the conceptual timeline that the authors have laid out, and explain its significance for our field in the coming years.

6. On several occasions this semester, we've discussed situations in which a process we were looking at sometimes had the same stakeholders receiving outputs (customers) as well as providing inputs (suppliers). As the scale of the process grows larger, this phenomenon happens more often among increasingly important stakeholders. Using your Six Sigma and Lean background reading from throughout the semester, discuss your suggestions for how an operations engineer should work to integrate these stakeholders into operations processes. How does one balance the need to manage supplier inputs against the desire to satisfy all customer requirements when the same stakeholders sit in both positions?

7. In Heizer and Render's chapter this week, we see a series of perspectives and paradigms for conducting short-term scheduling. In this thread, use those perspectives and paradigms to contrast how scheduling might be conducted within a large hospital medical center in the following four scenarios:

A.    Treatment of patients who arrive at the emergency room through a variety of mechanisms

B.    Scheduling of elective and emergency surgical procedures within a suite of operating theaters

C.    Delivery of daily meals to all in-patients according to their physicians' dietary orders

D.   Delivery of physician ordered medications to each hospital unit so that they are always available to be administered to patients when requested by the ordering physicians

This discussion thread does not require research into hospital practices or procedures. Use your common sense to infer what the various scheduling requirements might be in these scenarios. The emphasis on the discussion is contrasting the scenarios using the techniques in the text. Details of clinical or operational accuracy from the hospital's standpoint are secondary to this discussion.

8. Our readings in Heizer this week represent a classical core of operations management in the industrial sector; supply chain, enterprise resource, and distribution requirements planning. As industrial engineers, we're interested in applying all of these concepts in a much broader range of applications and organization types than the more traditional industrial settings in which we usually see them discussed.

Review a list of the topics covered in our two chapters this week. Consider how they might be applied to a consulting operation that specializes in evaluating and diagnosis environmental risks and damages for industrial and governmental clients around the world. One such organization might employ 5,000 people around the world while serving hundreds of clients through projects that can last from six months up to three years. Describe your model for how the concepts in these chapters might be applied in such an organization. Include a few specific examples of how certain features might be implemented to illustrate your overall model. 


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