Carestream Health Inc.: When Disruption Hits a Lean Supply Chain
(4 pages of text)
In October 2014, Carestream Health Inc. (Xiamen) (CHX) was faced with a supply chain disruption caused by a labour dispute involving most of the ports on the west coast of the United States. The work-to-rule strike was having a considerable impact on the operations of the ports and was putting pressure on CHX’s lean supply chain. In particular, the supply of wide rolls of films, the key material to CHX operations, was compromised. In an emergency meeting, CHX’s management team discussed using other shipping options. One of these options, (airfreighting) appeared to be feasible but costly. The meeting’s leader who was the director of the Asia Pacific Lean Six Sigma asked the management team to determine when CHX should use airfreight for its supply of wide rolls, how many rolls should be airfreighted each time, and what the best mechanism would be to govern the use of airfreight.
This case is suitable for use in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on operations management (lean management module) or supply chain management. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- understand the relevant concepts of lean production and lean management in a supply chain context;
- identify and assess the impact of variability and risk in supply chains; and
- acquire system thinking acumen by examining the interrelationship of system elements and how that keeps the process in balance.
China, Large, 2014
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