Why Inventory Management Just Became My New Favorite Subject

Tuesday, March 12, 2019TOPICS: Research

USD exchange student Tim Heitplatz points to the Colorescience office buildingUSD School of Business exchange student, Tim Heitplatz from the EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain
begin quoteDr. Pyke has this incredible way of bringing the material to life. Over the semester, we dug into the data, applied our freshly acquired statistical tools and created a model that would optimize Colorscience's inventory.

Written By: Douglas Young, Professional MBA student

I never thought that inventory management would be one of my favorite subject areas. That was before I met USD School of Business Professor of Operations Management David Pyke. Last fall, I took his Operations and Supply Chain Strategies and Tools class through my MBA Program. Dr. Pyke has this incredible way of bringing the material to life. Inventory management is a business area that has a real impact on companies’ opportunity costs, environmental impact and bottom line. With operational strategy and statistical analysis, we learned to optimize a company’s inventory to help achieve its unique goals.

During the class, we formed groups each responsible for connecting with a company that could use some operational support. Dr. Pyke used his industry connections to help us locate projects. Students worked with small operations such as a local brewery and even global companies like Bumblebee Tuna. My project was with Colorescience, a skincare, suncare, and cosmetic company out of Carlsbad, California. They have amazing products that are both highly effective and healthy for your skin. They are also constantly innovating new products and sell through a variety of channels. However, they have challenges including long lead times and inconsistent demand. Or, to put it simply, they have inventory issues.

My team was made up of brilliant MBA students from all over the world. I am from the U.S. but our group also included two students from China, one from Switzerland, and one from Germany. We represented industries like banking, sales, manufacturing and consulting. We worked closely with the VP of Finance at Colorscience to learn about their supply chain operations, and to gather data. Over the semester, we dug into the data, applied our freshly acquired statistical tools and created a model that would optimize their inventory.

After we sent them our final model and presentation, they invited us up to their campus to answer questions and discuss implementation. I represented our team and Dr. Pyke joined us to share his expertise. We met with Colorscience’s CEO, CFO and VP of Finance, as well as a recent USD MBA graduate who was consulting for Colorescience. It was a fascinating discussion as we presented the group's findings, discussed challenges and worked towards new strategies and tactics. In the end, we were not able to walk away having fixed all of their inventory issues. However, we did present something they can continue to build on and it was an incredible real-world learning experience for my team. 

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658