Archived SCM News

Startup Spotlight: Dopl challenges Yelp with tailored restaurant review platform

Dennis Duckworth (SCM, Class of 2004) is outraged by outrage, and that’s why he decided to create a rant-free restaurant review platform.

Tired of sifting through recommendations at polar ends of the satisfaction spectrum, Duckworth and his team were inspired to create dopl, a service that matches users with their “dopplegangers” for a more tailored experience.

Read the full article.

Turning Up the Heat on Sales Forecast Accuracy

Consumers go shopping for new car batteries when their existing units fail, so helping the company to anticipate failures helps the organization to improve the accuracy of its sales forecasting. Class of 2015 alums, Vinod Bulusu and Haekyun Kim, analyzed the accuracy of sales forecasts for auto batteries for their MIT Supply Chain Management Program master’s thesis. The sponsor was a manufacturer in the after-market replacement battery business.

Read the full research summary here.

Paying the Price for Outdated SKU Clusters

Companies often group inventory items into classes in order to manage them more efficiently. Managers routinely use these clusters or segmentations in their inventory replenishment planning decisions.

However, as companies grow and their operations expand, these classifications can become outdated. If this problem is not addressed, products can become misclassified. Inaccurate SKU classifications add cost to supply chains and hurt service levels as inventory managers misallocate resources to meet demand.

Online courses + time on campus = a new path to an MIT master’s degree

MIT announced today a pilot program allowing learners worldwide to take a semester’s worth of courses in its top-ranked, one-year Supply Chain Management (SCM) master’s program completely online, then complete an MIT master’s degree by spending a single semester on campus. MIT also announced a new academic credential for the digital age: the “MicroMasters,” which can be earned through MITx by students who pass a comprehensive examination upon the successful completion of the same semester’s worth of online SCM courses. Classes begin on Feb. 10, 2016.

Crafting a Profitable Supply Chain for Artisans

The handicraft industry in Morocco represents more than 9% of the country’s GDP and employs over 2 million people. Yet artisans struggle to expand the global market for their products, with total exports accounting for a mere 8% of the industry’s revenue. The primary overseas market for these products is the United States, which generated about $10 million of revenue in 2013.

At present the classic retail distribution model predominates in Morocco, but this adds minimal value for artisans largely because middlemen downstream in the supply chain capture much of the revenue.

How Optimizing Network Flows Can Improve Growth Plans

Optimization models are commonly used to identify cost efficient network flows. This tool is especially useful for modelling complex flows, for example when various products move through a distribution network via multiple paths and transportation modes.

But companies should also be aware of how optimization models can show the possible impact of business growth on network efficiency before embarking on expansion plans. The lessons learned at this stage can help to avoid missteps before the network has to handle higher product volumes.

Do Subsidies Improve Drug Delivery in Southern Africa?

Even if big pharma companies provide their drugs for free, middlemen mark-up the price, and the medicines remain unaffordable for the consumer. 2014 SCM Alums Chelsey Graham and Ricardo Ghersa analyzed the success of subsidies and inventory management practices in making medicines more accessible to consumers in Zimbabwe for their MIT Supply Chain Management Program master’s thesis. The work was carried out for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, and the project was supervised by MIT CTL Lecturer Dr. Jarrod Goentzel.