OPERATNS 827 - Global Operations

Course Objective and Description

"The world is flat." Thomas Friedman’s claim has received worldwide recognition and response. His book with the same title was a best-seller for several years and is a must-read for executives. In this flattened world, firms are presented unprecedented opportunities to access and utilize resources, physical and human, from any location in the globe. At the same time, the market place has become increasingly international, and the emerging economies offer tremendous growth opportunities for products and services. Friedman’s book illustrates numerous firms which grasped such opportunities successfully. To do so, these firms have applied innovative structures and processes, as well as new technologies. The question is, how can other firms learn from them? What are the main challenges of building and running global operations? Are there general principles and guidelines?

This course explores these issues through case discussions, supplemented by theoretical background readings and real-life experience from industry practitioners. We aim to understand how a firm can establish its ability to match demand in international markets with its global supply infrastructure and productive capacity to gain competitive advantage. We illustrate that, to build their supply infrastructures, firms have to consider a variety of factors in determining the locations and capacities of their productive facilities, including proximity to cheaper inputs and specialized labor. Furthermore, in terms of creating and managing their demand channels, firms may also have to locate their facilities closer to their major markets, and build strategic alliances to acquire technological and competitive knowledge. Topics include:

1)    Drivers of globalization and industry dynamics
2)    Strategic frameworks for international operations expansion and global supply network design
3)    Global partner and supplier selection and development
4)    Supplier relationships and supply contract management
5)    Coordination and governance of cross-national and cross-cultural operations
6)    Sustainable global supply chain design

Course Materials

1.    Course packet including cases and some key readings. [Required]

2.    The World Is Flat – A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas L. Friedman, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0-374-29288-1. [Required reading: Chapter 2; other parts are recommended but optional.]

3.    World Class Supply Management –The Key to Supply Chain Management, by David Burt, Donald Dobler and Stephen Starling, Seventh Ed., McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0-07-229070-7. [Required]

4.    Global Operations and Logistics: Text and Cases, by Philippe-Pierre Dornier, Ricardo Ernst, Michel Fender and Panos Kouvelis, Wiley, New York, 1998. ISBN: 0-471-12036-7. [Recommended]

 A copy of each of the above items is on reserve at the Ford Library.