Monthly Archives: June 2016


In addition to customers and suppliers, other groups of people also have an interest in the well-being (financial and otherwise) of an operation. Steakholders include employees and unions, the local community, social groups (such as vegetables’ rights or environmental concerns), government, and financial investors.

steakholder buffet

Book Review- Managing Operations Across the Supply Chain

Managing Operations Across the Supply Chain, 2nd Edition
by Morgan Swink, Steven A. Melnyk, M. Bixby Cooper, and Janet L. Hartley, 2014

Managing Operations Across the Supply Chain

I used this book for my undergraduate class at IU, Introduction to Operations Management. It was taught for business minors, and this book offers a good, non-technical introduction. I looked at a few other books for the course, and this was the most appropriate option. It has good break-outs of the experience of individual companies in each chapter. That being said, the exposition can be dry and certain sections spend too long trying to explain technical topics without upper level mathematics.

I covered Chapters 1-12 and Chapter 15 for my class. I mostly created my own questions for homeworks and tests, though a few multiple choice problems were taken from the test bank provided with the text. I also added a few in-class activities and a section on Behavioral Operations Management to the course that fell outside the text.

Book Review- Deep Work

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport, 2016

Deep Work

Quick read. Builds upon and consolidates the blog Study Hacks.

The premise of the book is that
High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus).

This book is about getting the most benefit from your limited working hours. During undergrad years, I used to say that as the time to the deadline went to zero, my productivity went to 100%. This is because I stopped being distracted and hit maximum efficiency. This book offers advice on how to get toward that goal without the necessity of constant deadlines.

Related Books:
How to Write a Lot
On the Market

Intersection of Behavioral Operations and Energy

An intersection I am very interested in with my research interests. From an interview with Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck:

Under today’s demand response — whether you are turning someone’s air conditioning off or sending them a message to do something else — you are really just making a problem on the network the customer’s problem. Nobody else does that.

Netflix is an example that I often use. Netflix often has huge capacity-constraint issues, but they don’t tell you not to watch a movie on Saturday night or charge you more during a peak time. They just do really clever things behind the scenes. It might take slightly longer to spool the movie up on a Saturday night than it does on a Tuesday morning, or the pixelation on the movie is not quite as good as it would be — but they manage all of that to ensure the service.

The utility equivalent would be to tell people not to watch a movie on Saturday night. I think a fixed-price model — say $200 per month based on what you use — is better than a time-of-use rate. Time-of-use just takes a problem on the network and makes it a customer’s problem. I think the company that uses all these smart technologies to deliver a flat price of energy, and to take away demand response or time-of-use, is going to succeed in the market.