International Supply Chain and Product Management Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Business in Malaysia

The author of this report is asked to answer to a theoretical scenario whereby the training and other initial materials for a new product line are lost in transit but yet the big-wigs want the sales and other outcomes of this new product line to be over the top regardless. The author of this report is asked to answer to the ethical, strategic, operational and financial issues relative to this situation, is asked to offer the options that present themselves vis-a-vis fixing this whole situation with the associated consequences with each choice enumerated. The best choice and worst case scenario overall are to be chosen and explained. While some delay will be needed due to the lost shipment, there is no reason why recovery is not possible over the long-term.

Ethical, Strategic, Operational & Financial Issues

The ethical implications of the above is that management has to be reasonable about things that are not entirely (if at all) within the control of the company and the people making the projections and that management should not cut corners or otherwise make decisions that exploit or otherwise take advantage of people who are in dire need of salary and wages in the form of pushing their quotas too high and/or punishing them explicitly or implicitly for things that are not their fault. The author of this report will ensure that management realizes that the lost shipment was not the fault of anyone in the company and thus no one in the company should be punished. Even with that being the case, the author of this report wants to make clear that the company can "circle the wagons" and put a rush on a repeat shipment. However, the ethical and wise thing to do is to cut corners where possible and ethical but at the same time not go too far or punish the company or its people for what is not anyone's fault.

The strategic implications are not all that hard to see. As stated before, the worst-case scenario is that everything is delayed up to 30 days and the company simply cannot ignore that to be the case. So long as the existing goals are reasonable, everything can simply be pushed back a month and everything should then be back on track. There is actually an upside to this as it will give the firm more time to ensure it is prepared for getting the product to market. The main downside from the delay is that the firm will not be able to capitalize on the product and this will almost certainly mean the meaningful life cycle of the firm will be reduced. This can serve as an example in the future to do the training and the shipping of the training package earlier so that there is some flex in the overall timeline should this happen again. Pretty much all of the above will need to be taken into account when operations are adjusted, reduced, changed or left as they are.

The financial implications are also fairly obvious. The sunset of any preceding product line offerings will need to be delayed for at least as long as the delay of the new product. There was probably going to be some overlap anyway, but that will need to be adjusted in all likelihood or revenues will be falling due to a lack of a replacement in the product. Shipping the materials will have to be done again unless something change immediately and that will cost money. If the previous shipment was not insured by the shipping party, then the new one should be and the cost of the insurance should hopefully cover all definite or potential losses thus allowing to incentivize the new shipping firm to not lose the darn thing.

Options & Solutions

Based on the facts and suggestions above, the author of this report would do the following. First, a meeting of all the executives needs to take place so as to redraw the financial, operational and strategic projections and timelines because the loss of the materials has necessitated pushing them back. Leaving them as is has become a non-option as one cannot ignore that the launch will be a disaster if done now. That being said, at least of the launch and training can be done over the phone, over web meeting and so forth so it is probably not necessary to do a firm delay of 30 days but some sort of delay is needed given the lost shipment.

Second, a revised and firm set of projections and goals that results from this result need to be drawn up. Basing the author's or anyone else's performance based on assumptions or facts that are no longer true is not fair or reasonable to anyone involved and they must therefore be adjusted. Again, the delay can be mitigated using the strong wealth of internet and phone tools that exist. However, to suggest that this could or should entirely replace the in-person and physical handling/review of the materials and product is not reasonable. Technology has its limitations and should be meant to replace what could and should happen in person.

As for recommendations for other store managers, this can be based on the above as well. First, sending these training materials as early as possible thus allowing some flex in the project timeline would be a very wise move. Second, insuring the product and/or using a reputable vendor such as UPS or FedEx (or whatever options exist in the countries in question) would obviously be optimal. Regardless, the different locations should be very careful of which vendors are used and should have contingencies in place. Contingencies would be at least backup (if not two) for the shipment and the shipment should be sent early. As already noted, the vendor used to ship the product should provide insurance for the shipment and it should be a reputable vendor (IUPUI, 2014).

Third, it should be insured that new products are developed and released before the end of the life cycle of the prior product. For example, the iPod Touch is a very popular product and works quite well but the iPod Classic, which was out for years before the Touch, is still going strong and has high demand due to its increased storage capacity and ease/applicability of use (Apple, 2014). Fourth, the other locations should equally not be held to standards that are unreasonable and do not take real events, past and present, into account. For example, not changing sales goes in Europe if one of the Icelandic volcanoes goes off and a lot of the transportation is air-based (which would make flights impossible to unlikely while there is ash in the air) would be lunacy and unfair to the people whose jobs are on the line in one way or another.

Fifth, working people to the bone due to things that they could not or would not foresee is also not fair. Paying lower wages or working them into the ground is not a wise thing because people will get burned out, turnover will increase, mistakes and flaws will increase and so forth. This is not to say that there should not be a standard and that it should not be generally met. However, treating people like a commodity to boost the stock price or a year-end bonus for an executive is not acceptable or ethical either. Lastly, any given location assuming that the outcomes, facts and procedures will be one way at their location just because it's that way at another location is not reasonable or wise to assume. There could very well be little to no variation but all of the country- and location-specific variables should be taken into account. For example, it would not be…

Sources Used in Document:


Apple. (2014, April 18). Apple. Apple. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from

IUPUI. (2014, April 8). Supply Chain Management. Kelley School of Business

Indianapolis. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from / undergrad/academics/majors/supply-chain-management/

Cite This Case Study:

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