Operations Management Discussion questions (3 questions/300 word minimum each question/apa format/works citied)
Three questions. The questions are in bold. 300 minimum word count each question/works cited/ apa format
Ah, here is where we really get to the heart of the matter. Strategic thinking is essentially long term in nature. (Please see additional information in the weekly announcement.) It answers the question, “Where are we going?” Everything else is operational. Think of General Patton going to Berlin. His direction (strategy) was clear: get to Berlin and get Hitler. Everything else — how many tanks he had; how much ammunition he had; how many C rations; how many medical personnel; whether the radios were working — was operational.
Now, here is an interesting insight into Patton. Everybody thinks going to Berlin was a universal goal. Not really. Eisenhower was more interested in knocking out the German manufacturing capability. Just think about that. The Russians were heading to Berlin and could take care of the remnants of the German army in the east and around Berlin. Why not take out their manufacturing plants where they made tanks, airplanes, ammunition and other war implements? Maybe Eisenhower was right!
A second issue needs to be considered. The Battle of the Bulge was underway. Many Germans were still fighting across Western Europe. Going to Berlin with a large American force would leave the other American units to fight the Germans across France and other parts of western Europe without Patton’s help.
Then you had Field Marshal Montgomery, the British leader. He wanted to go to Berlin — so he sort of agreed with Patton — but he wanted to lead the charge and have Patton follow him.
So, going to Berlin was not so automatic as people think. In fact, the famous Red Ball Express (Patton’s route to Berlin) did bypass many American units.
What this Patton story illustrates is that there may be alternate directional ideas (strategies), all of which answer the question, “Where should we go?” Typically, the organization has to answer the directional question once – only one strategy. Although divisions of massive organizations like the US Army in World War II may pursue more than one strategy. That means one strategic direction per division.
The key issue is that strategy looks at the long term. Now, here is an interesting topic related to this. Once you decide on a long-term strategy, such as going to Berlin, how do you create a plan? Do you start at the end of the process — being in Berlin — and work backward? Or, do you start from where you are now, on the ground in western France — and move step-by-step to the goal?
It seems either approach would work. What do you think?
So far we have dealt with strategic concepts and ideas. The notion of where the organization is going may open long debates on whether the proposed direction is “right” or “best.” Similarly, the SWOT analysis and the survey of the external environment looked at ideas that might prove useful.
The main issue for this week is developing and implementing a strategic plan. The plan itself does two things. First, it formalizes the direction in which we are going. Second, it adds all of the tactical or operational matters that are needed. So, a strategic plan is comprehensive. If we are going to Berlin, to use the Patton example, we need to spell out how many men, how many tanks, how much ammunition, etc. We also need to determine when we will reach certain milestones along the way. If we have to cross rivers, we need to identify the equipment we will need. When the full strategic and operational plan is put together, we are ready to roll it out.
Implementation means that the plan — the design, the summary of our best thinking — is now ready to become a fact. All of the key players need to know what the plan calls for. The organization needs to release the resources that are necessary to make the plan happen.
Can you share personal experiences on the significance of successful implementation of a strategic plan?
Our main topic for this week is corporate culture. Every organization adheres to certain cultural values. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes not. Frankly, some values are good and some are not.
Can you identify and comment on organizational values you have seen. How do you know the organization really believes in these values? Have any values changed? Can you be sure the entire organization has moved in the new direction?