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OPMT620 Team Case Study

OPMT620 Team Case Study

OPMT 620 Team Case Study – 15% for paper and 5% for presentation
There are two papers in the HBSP Coursepack, U.S. Food Retail During the Pandemic: March 2020 and Coronavirus Is a Wake-Up Call for Supply Chain Management to be used as the basis of this assignment.
Using the concepts and tools you have learned throughout this course you are to research a business that has been affected by the Covid-19 virus. This company must be approved by me before you begin.

COVID-19 and Supply Chain Management: Case of Zoom

1. Describe the business and how it was performing before and after the crisis started. What is the situation now?

2. Create a SIPOC Process Map of the operation and identify the strengths, weaknesses and challenges to the manufacturing and supply chain process

3. Organize the problems the business faced/is facing using a Pareto Diagram and create an ordered set of solutions to the problems for the future

4. Is the Bullwhip Effect in effect? How did it happen and how can it be prevented in the future?

5. What other supply chain and quality issues are there?

As the COVID-19 health crisis evolves, it has become clear that there are many negative side- effects of lockdown strategies. There is growing evidence that the national lockdowns could have higher negative than positive impacts (Schippers & Kompanje, 2020). The COVID-19 global pandemic has sent massive shock waves through the global value chains as the social distancing, and higher uncertainty has instigated a substantial decline in demand for products, with global value chains bearing the economic shock through the supplier nations (Bonadio et al., 2020). The procurement teams are still struggling to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, and allied global response measures since crucial information are not accessible across global teams. But, there is a small group of global companies that had mapped their supply chains before the crisis. Thus, they are better prepared for supply chain disruptions.

The popularity of the Zoom’s conferencing app has risen together with the coronavirus since colleagues, friends, and families are connected while at the same time, maintaining physical distance (Lawrence, 2020). Before the pandemic Zoom was in a good position of delivery since the firm had 50% additional capacity than required at maximum usage. However, the main issue has been trying to maintain its buffer in place in the face of heightened demand and surge in end users. In response to COVID-19, organizations have made an instant pivot for supporting employees’ working from home schedules, with minimal preparations and no chance for steady rollout. Last year, working at home was an exemption, but instantly, it became the norm, leading to a sudden shift to the remote working plans. The pandemic forced universities to move face to face courses to online learning formats (Lowenthal et al., 2020). Thus, many faculty transitioned their courses to live meetings using the Zoom web conferencing app.

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In the case of Zoom, the service provider has been facing challenges addressing its capacity, supply-chain issues that have been brought forth by COVID-19, and subsequent changes in usage patterns (Bednarz, 2020). The service provider has also been experiencing problems adapting to fluctuating traffic demands fueled by the coronavirus quarantines. This has led to the buildup of higher capacity, expansion of locations of presence points, and shifts of supply chains. The core philosophy of Zoom’s supply chain is the procurement of as much bandwidth needed. Simultaneously, Zoom’s focus has been on strategic management of its supply chain in terms of scale over the long run. Zoom has been accelerating its long range network planning by up scaling at a quicker rate than envisioned. This is achieved by exploring its IP-transit, virtual-network, and peering services to accommodate the new and unforeseen traffic flows. At present, Zoom utilizes nineteen data centers worldwide, where it is connects to the leading exchange points across all markets. However, the company is reviewing the second-largest, and perhaps the third-largest to move closer to a growing volume of increasing end-users. Besides, Zoom uses the Equinix network-interconnection platform for the establishment of private connection to the technological partners and its service-provider clients. There is a need to enhance the proximity to end-users by expanding the teleconferencing company’s peering relations, ordering additional transit, and growing bandwidth on its current interconnection.

The main quality issues are trust, privacy, and data security issues. As the popularity of Zoom’s videoconferencing app soars, there are increased concerns over ability to handle the sudden surge in users. Previously, Zoom has experienced security flaws, including the vulnerability that permitted attackers to take out attendees from meetings, hijack shared screens, spoof messages, forced calls without user knowledge (Wakefield, 2020). At present, the chief privacy concern is the attendee tracking features that allow the host to call check whether participants can click away from the main window. Also, administrators can view dashboards of user activity and access the content of recorded calls. Moreover, the administrators can view the operating systems, IP addresses, location, and device data of all participants. Besides, the application does not provide end-to-end encryption, which means that Zoom can access the audios and videos of meetings. Furthermore, Zoom utilizes email domains in identifying users who could be in one company. The teleconferencing service occasionally allows customers of internet service providers to view private data. Another issue is hijacking, also referred to as Zoom-bombing, where reports have been filed as classes and conferences being disrupted with hate and threatening images and language (Saunders, 2020). Lastly, there is minimal trust. There are technology experts who believe that the Zoom has always adopted a blase attitude towards security due to chequered history with regards to privacy and security of users.

6. What is the bottleneck of the system and how would you debottleneck it? These suggestions must be practical and financially acceptable.

The bottleneck can arise whenever the demand spikes suddenly and surpasses the production capacity of a company’s factories and suppliers. Zoom has experienced a sudden surge in demand due to the ongoing pandemic, mainly due to the social distancing measures and work at home initiatives. Accordingly, teleconferencing companies such as Zoom shifted from high-technology favored products to a mainstream tool for governments, companies, students, and families who quickly set up exclusive video conferencing systems to run all day long. A bottleneck can be defined as a point of congestion within either a production system or network, which occurs whenever the workload arrives too fast for existing processes to handle. Besides, various inefficiencies arise from the bottleneck, such as delays and increased production costs (Slack et al., 2013). In Zoom’s case, a bottlenecked connection might occur if there are either too many requests of connection or excessive data inflows or outflows in line given the sudden surge in end users across the globe. Bottlenecking occurs mostly on the extranet connections, but in some cases, it can happen in an organizational, local area network. Thus, bottlenecking can occur when communications are at their peak. The result of the bottleneck phenomenon is a drop-out in current communication till the issue has been resolved. In ongoing communications, the video could stop transmitting then continue when there is available bandwidth. In the case of mild connection bottlenecks, the participants experience micro-prolongation and stuttering in the audio streams. Despite the implementation of the best efforts, the information technology department might find themselves destitute in the severe bottlenecking cases.

Nonetheless, the IT department can implement a financially viable and practical approach to debottleneck to help in counteracting the abrupt drop in available bandwidth. This could be achieved by depressing the bandwidth priorities on some of the ports. Furthermore, the use of software-defined networking can debottleneck through the precise location of problem areas and the use of a simple configuration to deal with the bandwidth fluctuations. Another practical recommendation that Zoom could use to debottleneck is monitoring the accessible inbound and outbound bandwidth on all endpoints using the software. In case the levels of available nominal bandwidth are normal, Zoom could video at the peak available resolution. Once there is a considerable drop in the bandwidth level, Zoom could scale down the resolution while continuing the transmission with no trouble and interruptions in ongoing meetings. Also, since the company has reported a surge in revenues, Zoom could expand its IT infrastructure to fulfill the increasing need to support the working from home measures ( Novet, 2020).  The goal is to ensure that Zoom keeps its teleconferencing services running dependably. This could be achieved by adding servers and other IT equipment across all data center locations globally. Finally, if a location is swamped with high networking traffic, the load could be sent to the other locations.

7. How does this business fit into the overall situation with the virus compared to other companies in the same sector?
8. What do you recommend for now? What do you recommend for the future?

References

Bednarz, A. (2020, March 30). Providers address capacity, supply-chain challenges brought on by COVID-19. Network World. https://www.networkworld.com/article/3534715/providers-address-capacity-supply-chain-challenges-brought-on-by-covid-19.html

Bonadio, B., Huo, Z., Levchenko, A. A., & Pandalai-Nayar, N. (2020). Global Supply Chains in the Pandemic. National Bureau of Economic Research.

Lawrence, K. (2020). Evaluating Zoom’s success and missteps during COVID-19. SAGE Publications: SAGE.Business Cases Originals.

Lowenthal, P., Borup, J., West, R., & Archambault, L. (2020). Thinking Beyond Zoom: Using Asynchronous Video to Maintain Connection and Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. 28.

 Novet, J. (2020, March 8). Zoom CFO explains how the company is grappling with increased demand. CNBC Markets. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/zoom-cfo-explains-how-the-company-is-grappling-with-increased-demand.html

Saunders, J. (2020, April 23) A Meteoric Rise & Fall: The Impact of COVID-19 on Zoom. Devpro Journal. https://www.devprojournal.com/technology-trends/a-meteoric-rise-fall-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-zoom/

Schippers, M.C. (Michaéla), & Kompanje, E.J.O. (Erwin). (2020). For the Greater Good? The Devastating Ripple Effects of the Covid-19 Crisis. ERIM Report Series Research in Management Erasmus Research Institute of Management.

Slack, N., Brandon-Jones, A., & Johnston, R. (2013). Operations management. Pearson.

Wakefield, J. (2020, March 27) Coronavirus: Zoom is in everyone’s living room – how safe is it? BBC News Technology. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52033217

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