Supply Chain and Making Operations Decisions


The supply chain department manages material supply, production operations, inventory management, and order fulfillment. Businesses with effective supply chains realize lean processes with significant ease. Such entities do not reactively handle cases of exhausted raw material or customer supply delays due to a delivery car’s breakdown. The supply chain thus forms the live line of all serious establishments targeting competitive advantages and continuous growth. The present work handles issues related to the subject and focuses on the USTRANSCOM case.

Framework for Making Operations Decisions

The six sigma structure provides an essential framework for making procedural verdicts in organizational settings. The model’s primary purpose is to eliminate variations and defects in business processes to promote the gradual development and realization of lean operations (Hill wt al., 2018). Consequently, six sigma is a product of the Motorola Company that handles operational issues through a systematic procedure that promotes standardization. At least five processes are involved in the six sigma approach, including defining, measurement, analysis, improvement, and control (Hill et al., 2018). These decision-making phases further handle a unique issue that makes the process comprehensive. As a tool for making operations judgments, six sigma is applicable in various organizational facets such as process, capacity, supply chain, inventory, and quality management, as discussed below.

Process Operations Decisions

Business process refers to the various individual activities undertaken in an organization to ensure the flow and successful attainment of an entity’s objectives. Making a sale is an example of a business process handled by all the firms providing products to customers. Consequently, a company undertakes several activities to avail a single item to the buyer. Examples of such endeavors include requisition receipt, quote generation and delivery to the customer, quote discussion and confirmation, raw material acquisition, product development, invoice creation, product supply, and payment receipt. All these actions also constitute the order to payment receipt, which forms the backbone of many profitable businesses. Consequently, applying the six sigma tactic helps streamline the process by eliminating unnecessary undertakings or requirements (De Mattos Nascimento et al.., 2019). Such happens through the framework’s define, measure, analyze, improve, and control steps that ensure the adoption of only the beneficial process aspects.

Quality Operations Decisions

Quality refers to the superiority or value of a business’s products. High-quality products deliver better solutions to customers, thus promoting patrons’ satisfaction. On the other hand, providing low-quality items leads to consumer complaints and business deterioration. Realizing and sustaining a superior quality depends on several things in a business. For example, an erroneous selection of suppliers leads to the receipt of low-value raw materials, causing quality issues. Poor production processes and the inability to observe hygiene during production also compromise quality. Accordingly, applying the six sigma tool to the quality feature aids in setting the appropriate standards, error elimination, value promotion, and customer satisfaction.

Capacity Operations Decisions

Capacity connotes an organization’s potential to deliver its objectives or meet customers’ needs. According to Sreedharan and Sunder (2018), many businesses fail because of trying to realize goals that exceed their capacity. Other large entities also suffer from underperformance due to the inability to measure and exploit their ability. The six sigma framework helps investors and the management team realize their real potential, live it, and grow. Entities utilizing this tool for capacity operations choices benefit from the defining, measurement, and analysis facets that reveal the business’s reality and growth potential.

Inventory Operations Decisions

Inventory or stock management forms the basis of all organizations’ survival. For example, production entities require raw materials to survive and meet customer needs. The inputs should reach the businesses at the right time, in the correct quality, and in the appropriate quantities. Over-purchasing inventories lead to added storage costs that may jeopardize a firm’s profitability, as per Muchaendepi et al. (2019). Failing to manage the correct inventory volumes also leads to braved production processes and delays. Employing the six sigma framework helps identify and eliminate bottlenecks in the inventory management system, leading to lean operations.

Supply Chain Operations Decisions

Lastly, businesses need extraneous resources, such as supplies, utilities, and raw materials to survive. These substances reach organizations through the supply chain operations, thus the department’s importance. Muchaendepi et al. (2019) reiterate the essence of lean and flexible supply chains in organizations for effective procedures leading to competitive advantages. The failure to make proper supply chain decisions lead to starved or overwhelmed processes that threaten an entity’s profitability.

Operations Management Relationship to Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Human Resources, Information Systems, and Engineering

Operations management refers to the administration of business performances to produce the uppermost degree of competence realizable within an entity. Accordingly, the facet concerns the conversion of labor and materials into beneficial products efficiently to realize the maximum profit. The involvement of material, effort and valuable products creation in the management paradigm implies significant connections to finance, marketing, accounting, engineering, information systems, and human resources. For example, the finance department in a business establishment controls expenditures, accounts receivables and payables, and salaries, among other elements. Therefore, the finance division manages money generated through the effective utilization of labor and raw material by the active operations management, making the two facades interrelated.

Moreover, the marketing unit relies on the operational management’s efficiency to personalize sales messages and deliver items according to the issued promises. On the other hand, operations management upholds employees’ information, performance, payroll, and trends, thus related to the human resources component. Furthermore, the engineering section’s dependence on resources, time, and project teams’ collaboration capacity makes it subject to operations management’s process monitoring and improvement. Lastly, the information system and operations management significantly relate due to their dependence on data and information. The interconnection between these various organizational elements reveals the complexity of doing business and the central role of the management aspect in corporate success.

Process and Quality Improvement Methodologies

There exist different ways for organizations to boost their quality and processes. Examples of such tactics include lean, six sigma, and the theory of constraints (Reuter, 2013). The former method works by identifying and eradicating process waste in organizational operations. The lean structure aims to promote efficiency, productivity, and profitability, by utilizing the minimum possible resources and the shortest route available (Ahmed & Huma, 2021). Organizations adopting this improvement technique undertake continuous review and analysis of their current processes and procedures to improve them and sustain beneficial changes.

On the other hand, the six sigma paradigm promotes profitability by identifying and eliminating defects and variabilities in the organization’s operations. The tool aids in analyzing, monitoring, and improving processes to facilitate the efficient conversion of raw materials into valuable finished products. Finally, the theory of constraints works by controlling organizational resources while testing a business’s performance under different situations (De Jesus et al., 2018). The approach believes in an optimum supply of resources that can facilitate growth and competitiveness. Therefore, applying any of these methods leads to significantly different outcomes. However, a significant concern with the three process and quality enhancement methods is their focus on production organizations, making their utilization in unconventional entities substantially hard.

Results of Operations and Case Studies

The Joint Force operations management is significantly wanting based on the many problems in the unit’s supply chain. Reuter (2013) investigates the force’s effectiveness using three cases, where he compares the performance to ordinary non-military commercial settings. The H-60 helicopter’s case study reveals critical failures in the U.S. DoD supply chain paradigm. For example, the utilized model increases supply chain cost by about twenty percent, while the inability to plan appropriately leads to only seventeen percent plan accuracy (Reuter, 2013). Moreover, the helicopters take so long before reaching the soldiers, as shown by the 279% inventory days of supply (Reuter, 2013), thus compromising their effectiveness in undertaking operations. According to Reuter (2013), the department also suffers from overstocking due to inappropriate demand forecasts before a mission. The mistakes reveal a substantial failure in the department’s supply chain system, demanding improvement.

The OIF case study reveals USTRANSCOM’s challenged supply chain system. According to Reuter (2013), the Iraqi mission almost failed due to poor supply chain management, leading to bullwhip-related project cost variations. Reuter (2013) notes that the project planning went well until the U.S.-based supply chain players decided to change plans without informing all the other stakeholders. The source implies the presence of coordination issues in the DoD supply chain system, which results from the department’s confusion between material management and supply chain. Moreover, Reuter (2013) uses project OEF to show USTRANSCOM’s additional supply chain issues. The scholar notes that America’s foreign peace mission may be challenged in the future due to problems similar to the NDN route, which failed to open until three years after the Afghanistan project. Reuter (2013) recommends the establishment of reliable supply chain elements for successful missions if USTRANSCOM’s tasks are to continue. The source provides significantly essential supply chain takeaways from a practical viewpoint, reiterating the facet’s importance.


Ahmed, W., & Huma, S. (2021). Impact of lean and agile strategies on supply chain risk management. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 32(1-2), 33-56. Web.

De Jesus, P. D. A., Pergher, I., Junior, J. A. V. A., & Vaccaro, G. L. R. (2018). Exploring the integration between lean and the theory of constraints in operations management. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 1(2), 21-43. Web.

De Mattos Nascimento, D. L., Quelhas, O. L. G., Caiado, R. G. G., Tortorella, G. L., Garza-Reyes, J. A., & Rocha-Lona, L. (2019). A lean six sigma framework for continuous and incremental improvement in the oil and gas sector. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 11(3), 577-595. Web.

Hill, J., Thomas, A. J., Mason-Jones, R. K., & El-Kateb, S. (2018). The implementation of a Lean Six Sigma framework to enhance operational performance in an MRO facility. Production & Manufacturing Research, 6(1), 26-48. Web.

Muchaendepi, W., Mbohwa, C., Hamandishe, T., & Kanyepe, J. (2019). Inventory management and performance of SMEs in the manufacturing sector of Harare. Procedia Manufacturing, 33, 454-461. Web.

Reuter, M. B. (2013). Optimizing the DoD supply chain for the future joint force. Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps. Web.

Sreedharan, V. R. & Sunder M, V. (2018). A novel approach to lean six sigma project management: a conceptual framework and empirical application. Production Planning & Control, 29(11), 895-907. Web.

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