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Cases and Games

"Humanitarian Response Planning at the Home Depot" teaching case

(Third place, 2010 INFORMS Best Teaching Case Award)

Author: M. Drake, O. Ergun, G. Karakus, P. Kerl, P. Keskinocak, J. Swann, M. Villarreal

Motivated by real world problems generalized from a series of interviews with Home Depot’s disaster response team, the goal of this case study is to exemplify the application of operations research concepts, methodology and intuition to challenges faced in relief logistics, which may be different than the ones typically faced in the idealized commercial supply chain settings. Issues include unpredictable disasters of unpredictable magnitude that lead to unpredictable demand, the speed in which a supply chain must be constructed once a disaster is realized, the limited visibility of needs, and the need for dynamic decisions. The case has been used in the Supply Chain Module of the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program in University of Lugano, Switzerland (July 2009) and in ISYE 4803-Societal/Humanitarian Applications of OR/MS (Fall 2009) at Georgia Tech.

“Lessons in Disaster Supply Chain Management from Waffle House Restaurants” teaching case

(First runner-up, 2009 INFORMS Best Teaching Case Award)

Author: O. Ergun, J. Heier Stamm, P. Keskinocak, J. Swann

Natural and man-made disasters present an increasing challenge to the management of supply chains both for businesses and humanitarian response agencies.  Sharing best practices enables the continued improvement of processes that can further impact lives and livelihoods in the event of a disaster.  This case study highlights the experiences of Waffle House Restaurants, which has been nationally recognized for its response to hurricanes in the United States.  It also includes questions that instructors or managers can use to help students or supply chain professionals develop analytical approaches to the challenges presented by disaster response. The case has been used in the Supply Chain Module of the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program at the University of Lugano, Switzerland (July 2009) and ISYE 4803-Societal/Humanitarian Applications of OR/MS (Fall 2009) at Georgia Tech.

“Interactive Supply Chain Game” classroom game

Author: P. Keskinocak, P. Pekgun, S. Xia

The primary goal of this game is to investigate the interplay between the supplier’s inventory allocation mechanism and the customers’ demand forecast and orders, i.e., to determine how customers revise their forecasts and orders in response to the supplier’s allocation mechanism. The game has been played in ISYE 6230-Economic Decision Analysis (Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011), ISYE 4301-Supply Chain Economics (Spring 2009, Spring 2010), ISYE 3104-Supply Chain Models: Manufacturing Logistics (Summer 2009), and Supply Chain and Logistics Institute short course on Inventory Planning and Management (Spring 2012) at Georgia Tech.

“Big Depot Hurricane Planning” classroom game

Author: O. Ergun, G. Karakus, P. Keskinocak, J. Swann, M. Villarreal

This game provides a synthesis between contracting and allocating inventory under demand uncertainty. It has a table-top structure, starting with general information about the supply chain setting, conditions and operations; then, every step begins with some data and information that should be used to make decisions about expected issues in the exercises. Players assume roles, which may well affect their incentives and priorities, and therefore the decisions they make. The game has been played in ISYE 6203-Transportation and Supply Chain Systems (Spring 2009) , ISYE 4803-Societal/Humanitarian Applications of OR/MS (Fall 2009) at Georgia Tech and in the Supply Chain Module of the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program in University of Lugano, Switzerland (July 2009).

“Designing a Malaria Intervention Supply Chain” teaching case and classroom game

(Finalist, 2011 INFORMS Best Teaching Case Award)

Author: J. Griffin, P. Keskinocak, H. Smalley, M. Soldner, J. Swann

This case study and corresponding classroom game detail the real world decisions made in the design of malaria spraying operations including locating distribution centers, scheduling deployment of spray teams, and allocating scare resources. The purpose of this case study and classroom game is to provide a real world example of the application of operations research including linear programming and heuristic development.  The classroom game incorporates an interactive computer program which allows students to examine the consequences of design decisions in the malaria spraying supply chain.  This allows students to gain experience with the trade-offs and complexities in decision making with scarce resources.  The game and case study have been used in the following classes:  Healthcare Delivery (Spring 2010 and 2011), Supply Chain Modeling: Logistics (Spring 2011), Advanced Optimization (Fall 2010) at Georgia Tech; Special Topics in Industrial Engineering at University of Arkansas (Fall 2010 and 2011); Health Systems Engineering at Penn State (Fall 2010); Advanced Logistics at Southern Polytechnic University (Spring 2011).  Additionally, they have been used in the Supply Chain Module of the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program at the University of Lugano, Switzerland (April 2010).

“Supply Chain Coordination and Collaboration in Haiti: A Case Study of The Salvation Army’s Use of the UPS Trackpad” teaching case, and “TraceInfo Cost Allocation Game” classroom game

Author: O. Ergun, L. Gui, J. L. Heier Stamm, P. Keskinocak and J. L. Swann

Based on our interaction in Haiti with the Salvation Army and UPS, the case describes humanitarian supply chain operations involving many different parties, such as government, military, private, and non-governmental organizations and individuals. Well-coordinated interactions between parties can capitalize on synergies and lead to improved humanitarian outcomes, yet there are many barriers to cooperation. We document the benefits of a public-private partnership that formed in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The partnership contributed to improved operations in one of the many camps for internally displaced persons. Motivated by this case study and our discussions with organizations active in the response to the earthquake, we introduce cooperative game theory models and explore the insights they provide toward facilitating coordination in future humanitarian operations.