Gaining Tools to Tackle Real-World Problems
A decade ago, when Brent Horrocks walked out of Rawls Hall as a newly-minted MBA, he didn’t quite realize how much he would benefit from his studies in supply chain, manufacturing and finance. It was only after he rejoined the workforce fulltime that he gained a true appreciation for his learning through Krannert and DCMME. His first role after Krannert was in the Customer Fulfillment and Logistics Group at Intel. For the next 4 years, he worked to implement a supply chain that balanced customer needs and demands with supply chain costs. He relied heavily on the Newsvendor inventory model and Little’s Law that Professor Ananth Iyer taught to model the benefits and costs of providing more customer warehouses, consignment, and just-in-time delivery options to Intel’s customers. Armed with these tools, he created an analysis framework that helped everyone from purchasing to sales to engineering understand the tradeoffs between cost and service level for each unique scenario.
“This framework helped guide the investments to areas where the greatest supply chain benefit for the lowest cost could be realized,” he said. In his next role, working in Intel’s nascent memory group, he relied on the manufacturing portion of his education at Krannert and DCMME. “I suddenly found myself in a world where the major product was largely a commodity, factories cost billions of dollars and a single ‘tool’ can be upwards of $300 million or more,” he said. He and other Krannert students were required to read “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt, a book that “suddenly came to life as chasing factory constraints became the new norm,” Horrocks said. The tools he learned at Krannert allowed him to speak knowledgably to engineers and factory planners. “I understood the basic concepts of yield, theory of constraints, and throughput time, and was able to communicate how changes to those variables impact a company’s bottom line,” he said. Leveraging this knowledge, factory investments were optimized, sunk capital costs were avoided, and the business has grown to twice the size it was when he joined it. Despite having left the formal classroom a decade ago, Horrocks still refers back to his Krannert experiences to help him tackle new problems in an everchanging business environment. “I keep my notes and case studies handy so I can refer to them at any time I need to,” he said. “Whether it’s real-options in supply chain or how to beat the bullwhip effect, I constantly leverage the skills and lessons learned through DCMME.”
“Whether it’s realoptions in supply chain or how to beat the bullwhip effect, I constantly leverage the skills and lessons learned through DCMME.”