Editor’s Note: Weapons of Mass Disruption

Logistics critical in uncertain times

Even though the ‘war on terrorism’ has taken a back seat to economic recovery, businesses are still making decisions punctuated with concerns for vulnerability. In this regard, companies are carefully revisiting their supply-chain. In particular, as Business 2.0 pointed out, the highly-lean ‘Just-in-Time’ strategy is being altered to ‘Just-in-Case.’

Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD

Even though the ‘war on terrorism’ has taken a back seat to economic recovery, businesses are still making decisions punctuated with concerns for vulnerability. In this regard, companies are carefully revisiting their supply-chain. In particular, as Business 2.0 pointed out, the highly-lean ‘Just-in-Time’ strategy is being altered to ‘Just-in-Case.’

In the wake of September 11, Ford closed five plants due to supply-chain disruption, Solectron chartered a plane to ensure parts were available where needed, and GM delayed production of 10,000 cars because it couldn’t get parts. These are hard learned lessons and not easily forgotten. The tightly managed world of JIT logistics is shifting to reduce these risks. This means extra costs related to supply-chain security and inventory, but it also may mean a tighter corporate communication structure, which could benefit everyone.

Communications systems are also vulnerable to disruption. The plans and infrastructure currently put in place by smart businesses to enable sounder, more reliable, and redundant information sharing create not only greater efficiencies within the company but ensure that employees communicate. Most large companies that avoided business disruption on September 11 did so because of strong person-to-person communication, planning, and training. The issue is how to assist companies that aren’t considering these issues to increase their awareness of the need and to gear-up.

There is a saying that in wartime amateurs worry about tactics and professionals worry about logistics. The supply-chain is the heart of logistics and perhaps the most vulnerable target for weapons of mass disruption. Furthermore, logistics depends on the life-blood of any organization: information. This information must be accurate, timely and relevant in order for businesses to survive. In response to this need for constant vigilance in this regard, the Spring 2002 issue of the Graziadio Business Review provides an eclectic view of information that is relevant to the business practitioner amidst the current uncertainties.

In “Go Directly to Jail?” Michael Magasin shows how using critical thinking can help avoid some very big disruptions in both your business and personal life. Using examples from his own practice as an attorney, he demonstrates how thoughtless or poor decision-making can lead even “good” people to places they never intended to be — including jail.

Mergers and acquisitions certainly involve many kinds of disruptions. Using three case studies, Kent Rhodes shows how important it is that business leaders involved in this process go beyond the traditional resource-based view of the firm and focus on the key Root Strategic Assets of collaborative leadership, cultural cohesion, and talent retention if they want the merger to succeed and create new value.

Owen Hall provides some in avoiding the disruptions that come from inaccurate business forecasts. He shows how the use of Artificial Intelligence tools can aid in making better business decisions.

Perhaps no event in the last half-century has been as disruptive of the lives of so many Americans as the terrorist attack of September 11. Shortly thereafter the Enron debacle was disruptive in another way, not only for those directly involved in the company or who held its stock. Investors have become wary of accounting reports generally, with consequences for the markets and the economy. Michael Kinsman and Bruce Samuelson explore the continuing price to be paid in the capital markets from these events. They also offer concrete suggestions that can help bring stability back to the accounting arena.

Wayne Gertmenian and Nikolai Chuvakhin explore how the theory of efficient markets intersects with theories of behavioral finance and what this may mean for real people. Do psychological biases and tax strategies disrupt the efficient functioning of the stockmarket? Check out their theory on this.

David Smith, Charla Griffy-Brown and Kathy Besser explore the ways new technologies continue to disrupt current business paradigms and transform business practice. This study provides insight and tools for leveraging technology to improve your bottom line. To test yourself on the subject, why not try the quiz?

Finally, don’t miss our conversation with John Shields, former CEO of Trader Joes. Take a look at the LOOP’s version of business ethics, and of course see what is the latest in ebusiness by looking at our ebizbuz. While we don’t want to be disruptive of your day, we do hope that you will find that GBR is a worthwhile break in your routine.

Author of the article
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD, , is an associate professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management. In 2004, Dr. Griffy-Brown received a research award from the International Association for the Management of Technology and was recognized as one of the most active and prolific researchers in the fields of technology management and innovation. A former researcher at the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development in Tokyo, she has also served as an associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Griffy-Brown graduated from Harvard University, is a former Fulbright Scholar, and holds a PhD in technology management from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. She has worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center and has taught innovation/technology management courses in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. She has also served as a consultant for the United Nation's Global Environmental Facility and the European Commission.
More articles from 2002 Volume 5 Issue 2

Editor’s Note: Weapons of Mass Disruption

Even though the ‘war on terrorism’ has taken a back seat to economic recovery, businesses are still making decisions punctuated with concerns for vulnerability. In this regard, companies are carefully revisiting their supply-chain. In particular, as Business 2.0 pointed out, the highly-lean ‘Just-in-Time’ strategy is being altered to ‘Just-in-Case.’ In the wake of September 11, … Continued

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