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Select ONE of the following case studies to discuss. Indicate your selection of the case in the subject line, i.e., Your name – Angela’s case.
ANGELA MURPHY. Read the case study and imagine yourself in Angela’s position. What are the various frameworks, models, or “schools of thought” related to how Angela thinks about her situation? How can Angela develop her knowledge to move between different frameworks?
Angela is a purchasing and buying professional working in the auto industry. She has worked for a small parts (nuts and bolts for cars) supplier in the Midwest for about 5 years. She has a basic understanding of spreadsheets and is good at tracking how often individual items sold by her company need to be restocked. One day her manager asks her to study a new model for doing supply chain management, called Kanban. What might Angela do to learn more about this new framework or school of thought in her field?
In the late 1940s, Toyota began studying supermarkets with a view to applying store and shelf-stocking techniques to the factory floor, figuring that in a supermarket, customers get what they need, at the needed time, and in the needed amount. Furthermore, the supermarket only stocks what it believes it will sell, and customers only take what they need because future supply is assured. This led Toyota to view a process as a customer of preceding processes, and the preceding processes as a kind of store. The customer process goes to this store to get needed components, and the store restocks. As in supermarkets, originally, signboards were used to guide “shoppers” to specific restocking locations. “Kanban” uses the rate of demand to control the rate of production, passing demand from the end customer up through the chain of customer-store processes. In 1953, Toyota applied this logic in their main plant machine shop. An important determinant of the success of production scheduling based on “pushing” the demand is the quality of the demand forecast that can receive such “push.” Kanban, by contrast, is part of an approach of receiving the “pull” from the demand. Therefore, the supply or production is determined according to the actual demand of the customers. In contexts where supply time is lengthy and demand is difficult to forecast, the best one can do is to respond quickly to observed demand. This is exactly what a kanban system can help with: It is used as a demand signal that immediately propagates through the supply chain. This model is also associated with Walmart restocking procedures each night, and is considered a great shift in practices or advancement in the business community.
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BOB JOHNSON. Read the case study and imagine yourself in the position of Bob an experienced educator. What are the ways that Bob might develop new learning and new appreciation for different learning models and schools of thought?
Bob Johnson is a 30 year veteran grade school teacher working in a public school in North Carolina. He enjoys working with his students and has seen many changes, including increased use of computers by students as young as kindergarteners, an increase in standardized testing, and a decrease in funding for physical education, music and arts programs in schools. In 2004, he begins to hear his colleagues speak more and more about phrases like “teaching to the test” and “assessment culture”. In 2005 he hears about the report of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. The report discusses the importance of assessment of student performance as well as teacher performance in class. As Bob is an engaged teaching professional, he wants to stay current and grow with the recent changes in higher education. Reflect on how Bob might learn more about these changes, and become more comfortable within the new theories and “schools of thought” presented in assessment culture.
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