在刚刚过去的前半学期(1月19日到3月12日)上了两门必修课,其中 Operations 这门课几乎是人人喜欢,我想主要是因为这门课的老师实在是招人喜欢。

教授

Operations 这门课的老师是年轻的 Prof. Terry  Taylor:

Prof. Terry  Taylor

Taylor 教授是在麦肯锡做过两年后才进入学术界的,在斯坦福大学拿到博士学位后,主要在哥伦比亚大学任教过六年,2007年的时候来到伯克利:
B.S., Industrial Engineering, Stanford University, 1994
McKinsey & Company, Business Analyst, 1994 – 1996
Ph.D., Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2000
Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, Global Supply Chain Management Forum, Director of Research, 2000 – 2001
Columbia University, Graduate School of Business, Associate/Assistant Professor, 2001 – 2007
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, Associate Professor, 2007 – present

我听一位二年级的同学说,他们以前跟 Taylor 教授聊过,问他为什么在麦肯锡做的好好的,后来要去学术界了,Taylor 教授回答说在麦肯锡做事,做完一个项目就结束了,满足不了他追根问底的求知欲(intellectual curiosity),于是他想去学术界把 operations 的问题弄明白和清楚。

第一节 Operations 课就让我震了一下,因为 Taylor 教授实在是我见过最井井有条( organized)的人。光看他写的课程大纲,别的课的大纲一般只是粗略的告诉学生每节课要上什么内容,他这大纲很仔细的告诉每节课前你要准备什么,课后你要看什么,哪节课你要带计算器,哪节课你要带电脑…… 连期末考试的地点,由于不是在商学院的楼里考试,他都给你画好地图!他把一切细节都安排好了,让人有一种特别好的享受VIP服务的感觉,呵呵。结论是:Taylor 教授真不愧是做 Operations 的!

Taylor  教授人也长得精神帅气(听说很多女生迷他,哈哈),每次都精神抖擞的西装革履、正装衬衫领带一丝不苟的来上课,他人又非常聪明,每次 Operations 课堂讨论气氛都很活跃…… 上他的课真是享受。

也难怪他无论在 Columbia 还是 Berkeley 教书都能拿 teaching 的奖:
Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching (Full-Time MBA Program), 2009
Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching (Full-Time MBA Program), Honorable Mention, 2008
Columbia Business School Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in a Core Course, 2003

教学方式

案例教学和课堂授课相结合,教授提供了不少case 让我们读,在课堂上讨论这些 case,还有一个模拟游戏.

内容

这课教了这些内容:

  • Part I Physics and Economics of Production and Service Processes
    • Process Analysis:
      • Little’s Law: inventory = flow rate x flow time.
      • Bottleneck determines system capacity.
      • Batch production: economies of scale in production (setup costs) vs. inventory costs [EOQ model].
    • Variability in Processes
      • Variability leads to congestion and delay even when have more capacity than average demand.
      • Queuing models of service systems.
  • Part II Supply Chain Management
    • Critical-fractile Approach (Newsvendor Model)
      • Value of delaying final production decisions by postponement (delayed differentiation) or using reactive capacity.
      • If can’t adjust supply (hotel rooms, airplane seats), adjust demand through revenue management: booking limits on discounted fares, overbooking.

Taylor 教授多次反复强调一些重要的原则:

Operations Principles

  • System performance is determined by the limiting resource (system capacity is the bottleneck capacity)
    • Bottleneck capacity determines system capacity.
    • Bottleneck may shift… when relieve bottleneck, or when product mix changes.
    • Failure of one resource threatens overall system.
  • Process choices should be integrated, consistent, self-reinforcing
    • Power of consistent, self-reinforcing decisions.
    • Risk in cherry-picking elements of successful operational models without considering interrelationships.
  • Uncertainty and variability are painful…
    • Performance degrades rapidly as utilization approaches 100%.
    • Performance degrades with increased variability.
    • Demand uncertainty makes managing supply chains challenging. Information distortion grows as move up supply chain away from end customer [Bullwhip Effect].
  • …but proper actions mitigate this pain
    • Build in slack/safety capacity.
    • Eliminate the variability you can, schedule demand you can control, and accommodate the rest.
    • Make intelligent gambles using critical-fractile approach.
    • Powerful “pooling efficiencies” are obtained by taking advantage of “statistical economies of scale”.

如同上学期在最后一堂 Marketing 课跟 Rashi Glazer 教授告别的时候一样,在最后一堂 Operations 课跟 Taylor 教授告别的时候,我真心实意的鼓掌了很长很长时间。

非常棒的一门 Operations 课,非常棒的 Terry  Taylor 教授。