Matthew W Ford
Northern Kentucky University College of Business



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MGT 305 News & Info (Updated 02/23/2015 01:04 PM) 

Welcome to MGT 305, Operations Management in Business.  MGT 305 is a junior-level core course designed to acquaint students with the role of the operating function in the organization and with many of the decisions made by operations managers.  This class website is being phased out in favor of Blackboard.  Although some content from this website may occaisionally be referenced or utlized in class, students should log into Blackboard for class resources.

The MGT 305 Wall of Achievement has been updated.  Congrats to top achievers! 

Here is the 'rubric' that guides my assessment of your professionalism during the term.  You should be able to approximate where you stand...

A reminder that all assignments and forums must be completed in teams of three or more.  A team leader must be designated for each project.  On submitted reports, all team members must be listed and TYPED.  Only those listed on the initial submission will receive credit.  NO EXCEPTIONS!  The member who served as team leader should be noted as well.

Baffled by how to calculate the percentage difference between two values?  You'll need to learn how to be a better manager.  Click here for a tutorial.

Summer 2014 potpourri (archives).  According to Cisco CEO, future of Internet is here...Brightening prospects for business majors...The largest asset management company in the world...Kroger to buy on-line vitamin seller...Big Data's dirty problem...Pondering the waiter's role in an app-driven world...Chevron's growing commitment to deepwater drilling...Cincinnati employers: "I can't find enough talent"...The 2014 FORTUNE 500...Chevron retreating from 'green' energy sectors...Wal-mart promises more acquisitions...Detroit ponders razing or revamping 80,000 buildings...Is Amazon a monopoly?


Memo Center  
General thoughts on memo writing Making great graphs
Model memos written by students Citing your work
Making great tables  

Due dates for upcoming assignments appear below.  Assignments must be submitted in memo format, typed, and stapled.  No late work will be accepted.

Due Date Assignment Topic
6/16/14 Roofer Productivity A1 Productivity
*REVISED* 6/30/14 Car Wash Capacity A2 Capacity

DC Location A3

7/2/14 Hospital Layout A4 Layout
7/7/14 Packing Crate Inventory A5 Inventory Policy
7/14/14 Job Shop Scheduling A6 Job Process Scheduling
7/16/14 Scissors MRP A7 MRP

Practice problems related to productivity, capacity, and location (#2 only) are available.  You'll be responsible for doing similar on the midterm exam. 

Practice problems related to layout (#3 only), inventory and MRP, and planning & scheduling are available.  You will be responsible for doing similar on the final exam. 

Old RQA questions can be found here.

Here are the U.S. productivity data that we will share in class (source here).  What is a good rule of thumb for the long term average annual productivity improvement in the U.S.?  Has long term (e.g., 50 yr) productivity improvement in the U.S. been going up, going down, or basically stationary (no up or down trend)?  Which series has recently shown higher annual productivity improvement: manufacturing or non-farm business?  What might be driving any differences between the two series?

Here are the US capacity data that we will examine in class.  What do current levels and trends of capacity utilization suggest about the state of economic activity?

Here are the inventory:sales data shown in class.  All else equal, is a higher or lower inventory:sales ratio desirable?  Is the long term trend up or down?  What activities have operating managers employed to be able to operate with lower levels of inventory?   


Operations Management in Business

MGT 305

Summer 2014

Matt Ford
BC 333
Office hours: 3 - 5 pm M W                        
(859) 572-1319
(859) 572-5150  (fax)
(859) 572-6559  (department) 

Our Vision

The Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University will be the first choice of students, faculty and other stakeholders in our region.  We will be known for the excellence of our students, faculty, and staff as well as our alumni as business and community leaders. 

Our Mission

Our mission is to prepare our graduates for successful careers as ethical and effective business and community leaders in the global economy.  We pursue this mission with dedicated and caring faculty committed to active learning, rigorous scholarly inquiry of all types, and public engagement.  

Course Description    

3 credit hours.  Concepts of operations in production and service organizations; application of quantitative and qualitative techniques to quality, human resources, forecasting, inventory, and process improvement problems.  

Prerequisites:  MAT 114 and STA 205 or STA 212; junior standing 

Course Objectives

This is a “survey” course, designed to introduce the student to the concept of operations management (OM) and its function in organizational activities.  Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify the parts of an organization generally included in operations.
  • Explain various decisions that operations managers make.
  • Perform techniques used by operations managers to help them make better decisions.
  • Discuss current events and benchmark organizations in the field of OM.

Learning Outcomes

The College of Business has established learning outcomes for all its majors.  All business majors share some learning outcomes, and some learning outcomes are specific to the majors. 

MGT 305 is designed so that graduating business majors who have taken this course should be able to demonstrate achievement of the following learning objectives:

  • Identify operations-related issues in analysis of general business problems.

  • Understand and adequately address the interdependency between operations and other organizational functions.

  • Identify operations-related decisions and assess their effectiveness.


Making smart decisions. Harvard Business Review Press, 2011.

The visual display of quantitative information, 2nd ed. Edward Tufte, Graphics Press, 2001.

Operations Management, any recent edition. W.J. Stevenson, McGraw Hill. (optional)

Course Policies

a) Grading Components and Determination 

Exam I

200 pts

Exam II

200 pts


210 pts

Reading Q&A

160 pts

Class Forums

150 pts


80 pts


1000 pts

Exams.  Two exams—a midterm and a final.  ‘Bluebook’ format (a combination of short answer, essay, and problems) is likely, although I may experiment with multiple choice format.

Assignments.  Meant to provide exposure to problem solving and analytical report writing (key skills of effective operations managers).  A1 is mandatory plus two others from the assignment list (selection criteria to be discussed in class).  A written report (format to be discussed) for each assignment is to be submitted in memo format on the specified due date.  Work in groups of three or more on each assignment.

Reading Q&A. Four in-class exercises based on selected readings from our textbooks.  Format of the Q&A may vary from questions to be answered in advance of the in-class discussion, to multiple choice quizzes and/or small case analysis done as part of the in-class session.  Readings will be assigned at least one class in advance of the in-class exercise.  Work as individuals on RQAs.

Class Forums.  Two class forums during the term.  Forums are in-class discussions centering on OM topics relevant to organizations and society.  You will prepare a written brief on the topic ahead the discussion (50% of the grade) and then participate in the discussion (the other 50% of the grade).  Work in groups of three or more on each forum. 

Professionalism.  My assessment of your degree of engagement during the term.  I will focus on mannerisms that you should exhibit as an effective manager.  The extent to which you demonstrate engagement, respect, persistence, teamwork, and reliability will weigh heavily on your professionalism mark. 

Extra Credit.  Will be possible as term unfolds.  More later. 

Midterm Grades.  Mid-term grades will be posted in myNKU by the deadline established in the Academic Calendar (  Students are reminded that mid-term grades should be considered estimates of progress and not absolute predictors of final course grades.

Final Course Grades.  Course grading policy follows a conventional +/- scale.  Total class points between: 930-1000 A, 900-929 A-, 870-899 B+, 830-869 B, 800-829 B-, 770-799 C+, 730-769 C, 700-729 C-, 670-699 D+, 600-669 D, <600 F. 

b) Attendance

Lack of attendance and low levels of participation will impact your professionalism mark.  Moreover, due to the nature of our class format, you WILL struggle if you miss class.   

c) Teams

Teams of at least 3 are mandatory for assignments and forums.  You determine team membership and how to divide work among team members.  A leader should be designated for each project.  Reports (hardcopy, typed, stapled) must list all team members and who the leader was.  No handwritten additions to team member list will be recognized. Additional team members cannot be added to subsequent revisions.  Whether or not leaders rotate from project to project is up to the team (keep in mind that leadership helps your professionalism score). You are not committed to the same team for all projects; team membership can change from project to project.  As a professional courtesy, individuals who elect to change groups should notify their former team in writing. 

You can fire a team member for poor performance during the course of a project.  Before you do so, the team (preferably the leader) must notify the poor performer in writing (email message with me cc’d) that the team is considering the prospect of firing the person and why.  The poor performer should have a reasonable amount of time to respond to the warning.  If the individual’s behavior does not improve within that timeframe, then the team can fire the poor performer.  Names of team members that have been fired should not appear on written submissions; those individuals will receive no credit for the project and will need to find another team for future projects.  Teams that have fired members prior to a project due date may submit their written reports with less than 3 contributors for the project.  Whether that situation will be permitted to carry over for future projects must be discussed with me. 

d) Student Honor Code

This Student Honor Code [the "Honor Code"] is a commitment by students of Northern Kentucky University, through their matriculation or continued enrollment at the University, to adhere to the highest degree of ethical integrity in academic conduct. It is a commitment individually and collectively that the students of Northern Kentucky University will not lie, cheat, or plagiarize to gain an academic advantage over fellow students or avoid academic requirements.

The purpose of the Honor Code is to establish standards of academic conduct for students at Northern Kentucky University and to provide a procedure that offers basic assurances of fundamental fairness to any person accused of violations of these rules. Each Northern Kentucky University student is bound by the provisions of the Honor Code and is presumed to be familiar with all of its provisions. Students also should aspire to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the highest degree of ethical integrity in all matters, whether covered in the Honor Code or not. The success of this commitment begins in the diligence with which students uphold the letter and the spirit of the Honor Code. Students may view the complete honor code at 

e) Accommodations Due to Disability

Northern Kentucky University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. The syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. Students with disabilities: If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to register with the Disability Programs and Services Office in SU 303. To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the proper DPS forms and meet with me at the beginning of the semester.  More information on Disability Services can be found at 

f) Student Evaluation of Course and Instructor

Northern Kentucky University takes Instructor and Course Evaluations very seriously as an important means of gathering information for the enhancement of learning opportunities for its students. It is an important responsibility of NKU students as citizens of the University to participate in the instructor and course evaluation process. During the two weeks* prior to the end of each semester classes, you will be asked to reflect upon what you have learned in this course, the extent to which you have invested the necessary effort to maximize your learning, and the role your instructor has played in the learning process. It is very important that you complete the online evaluations with thoughtfully written comments. 

Student evaluations of courses and instructors are regarded as strictly confidential. They are not available to the instructor until after final grades are submitted, and extensive precautions are taken to prevent your comments from being identified as coming from you. Students who complete an evaluation for a particular course (or opt out of doing so in the evaluation) will be rewarded for their participation by having access to their course grade as soon as that grade is submitted by the instructor.  On the other hand, any student who does not complete the course evaluation (or opt out of doing so in the evaluation) should expect to incur a two week delay in access to his or her course grade beyond the university's official date for grade availability. To complete online evaluations go to Click on "student login" and use the same USERNAME and PASSWORD as used on campus. 

In addition, you should be aware of:

  • Evaluations can affect changes in courses. Evaluations without comments are less valuable and less credible than those filled out thoughtfully. Comments that are expressed well are more effective than those that are not.
  • Positive feedback is just as important as criticism. Moreover, negative evaluations without any explanation abd specifics are not especially useful.
  • Once grades are submitted, all evaluations are read not only by the instructor, but also by the instructor’s department chairperson.
  • Evaluations not only provide feedback to your instructor, but also provide information to the department chair for use in performance evaluations. This information affects reappointments, promotions, salaries, and teaching assignments.

g) Credit Hour Policy Statement

In accordance with federal policy, NKU defines a credit hour as the amount of work represented in the achievement of student learning outcomes (verified by evidence of student achievement) that reasonably approximates one hour (50 minutes) of classroom instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work. For every course credit hour, a typical student should expect to spend at least three hours per week of concentrated attention on course-related work including, but not limited to, class meeting time, reading, reviewing, organizing notes, studying and completing assignments. At least an equivalent amount of time is expected for other academic activities such as online courses, laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. 

Estimates of the time (weekly basis) required for a typical student to complete course expectations are as follows: three hours (150 minutes) of classroom instruction and six hours of out-of-class student work. 

h) Other Policies

·         Manage conflicts and deadlines like the workplace.  Notify me ahead of potential conflicts.

·         No exceptions to class policies should be considered firm unless obtained from me in writing.

·         No operation of electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, laptops) during class unless approved by me.

·         No submissions accepted via email unless we have made arrangements in advance.

·         All submissions must be typed.  Submissions greater than one page must be stapled.

·         Hardcopies of work are due in class on the due date.  No late work will be accepted (this includes excuses due to ‘lab printer problems’).  Give yourself time to deal with unforeseen problems.  This is what professionals do.


Tentative Schedule




Assignments and Extra Credit


History of OM; OM & the org chart Study note guide 

memo tips

Professionalism rubric

calculating % difference

model memos

GDP rankings

Syllabus pdf

6/4 Defining OM; Productivity

Productivity Practice Problems

BLS Productivity

US Productivity data

NKU Blackboard

Reading Q&A Assignments

Productivity Reporting EC


OM problem analysis and reporting


memo tips; Sample memo


Product vs service operations

Key OM Decisions

Intel chip production tour

Fortune subscription info

US debt levels

Forum 1 




Strategic operations



Roofer Productivity A1 

6/18 Process choice

BLS unemployment


EC Productivity

EC Process Choice

6/23 Capacity; Location

US capacity data

Capacity Practice Problems

Network Building EC

6/25 Exam I

Location & Layout Practice Problems 


Car Wash Capacity A2

6/30 Layout

  DC Location A3

Global Ops EC
7/2 Inventory management


Commodity Prices

Inventory:sales graph

Inventory Practice Problems


Hospital Layout A4

7/7 Planning & scheduling


Planning & Scheduling Practice Probs

Packing Crate Inventory A5

EC Capacity Utilization

7/9 Material requirements planning (MRP)



Forum 2


7/14 Just-in-time (JIT)


Toyota Georgetown video 

Job Shop Scheduling A6

EC Golden Rectangle 

7/16 Quality management; Supply chain mgt

Resume thoughts

Apple asset management


Scissors MRP A7  

7/21 Global operations

Online Course Evals

Last day for revised assignments


7/23 Exam II

Campus exam schedule


Potpourri Archives 



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