Operation Management1 – The Indian Railways’ ambitious Kashmir Railway Project

Operations Management

CASE – 1

The Indian Railways’ ambitious Kashmir Railway Project. This was one of its most important and difficult projects as it aimed to build a railroad connection through the Himalayan foothills linking Kashmir with the rest of India. The main objective of this project was to provide an alternative and more reliable mode of transportation system to the people of Kashmir than the existing mode of travel by road. Officially, this track was named as the Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund-Baramulla link (JUSBRL). The unique features of this line, according to observers, were the presence of a major earthquake zone, extreme environmental conditions in terms of temperature, and the most extreme geological profile throughout the entire terrain.

Some experts lauded the Indian Railway’s initiatives and how it had overcome some of the challenges associated with the project and said that once accomplished it would be an engineering miracle. However, it was also criticized on many fronts and some experts believed that the project had been bungled at the planning stage itself.


» Understand issues and challenges in executing a large infrastructure project by studying the ambitious Kashmir Railway Project which once accomplished would be an engineering miracle. 
» Appreciate the difficulties before the project managers due to the fragile geology and steep topography – presence of a major earthquake zone, extreme environmental conditions in terms of temperature, etc. 
» Appreciate the difficulties involved in the execution of large infrastructure projects in developing countries, and how these can be overcome.

CASE – 2

       Spain-based Mango MNG Holding SL (Mango), the flagship of a group of companies involved in design, manufacture, and distribution of garments and fashion accessories, sold garments for men and women and accessories through exclusive stores. The company was started in 1984 in Spain, and expanded rapidly to more than 107 countries across the world by 2012. Mango went on to become the second largest textile exporter in Spain. Mango was one of the pioneers of fast fashion. The company was able to design the garments and send them to the stores within a span of three months.

       It could also bring designs with slight modifications within just two weeks. The case discusses Mango’s business model under which it retained some of the core activities of its value chain in-house while outsourcing the rest of the activities. Important activities like design and distribution were managed completely by the company, while manufacturing, which was a labor-intensive task, was outsourced. The company retailed through its own outlets as well as through franchisees. This business model helped the company expand rapidly and also minimize the risks.


» Analyze Mango’s business model. 
» Study the design, production, distribution, and store management processes at Mango. 
» Evaluate Mango’s core and non-core activities. 
» Understand which processes can be managed in-house and which ones can be outsourced..

CASE – 3

       Tthe Just-in-Time (JIT) implementation at Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson), a US-based motorcycle manufacturing company. JIT, a philosophy developed by Japanese companies, aims at reducing inventory and advocates the production of only what is needed when needed and no more. After World War II, Harley-Davidson faced fierce competition from Japanese automobile companies which were able to produce better quality motorcycles at comparatively lower cost. Harley-Davidson visited some of the Japanese companies and found that Japanese companies were following three main practices: employee involvement, use of statistical process control, and JIT. The company soon realized that in order to beat Japanese competition, it had to implement these practices as well. The company successfully implemented JIT practices and reaped several benefits. 

After spectacular growth in the 1990s and the early 2000s, Harley-Davidson again faced hard times from 2007. The case also looks at the challenges faced by the company in the latter part of the first decade of the new millennium, and how it was trying to focus on ‘continuous improvement’ in a bid to bring itself back into profits.


       » To understand Just-in-time philosophy and its importance in reducing overall production cost and enhancing      product quality.
» To understand how the JIT philosophy requires the alignment of operational strategies to achieve the goal.
» To understand the important role of having a stable supplier network for achieving JIT.
» To understand that besides the use of statistical techniques in achieving JIT, employees’ involvement is equally important.
» To discuss the challenges faced by Harley-Davidson since 2007.
» To explore operational strategies that Harley-Davidson can adopt to overcome those strategies.

CASE – 4

The case discusses the master franchise model of the US-based Domino’s Pizza Inc (Domino’s). Domino’s, which was started in the 1960s, expanded in international markets mainly through its master franchise model. Under this model, the franchisees were provided with exclusive rights to operate stores, or to sub-franchise them in a particular area. Domino’s recruited franchisees with business experience and knowledge of local markets as master franchisees, and was able to mitigate the risks associated with entering and operating in international markets. Under master franchising, in markets where there was high potential for development, Domino’s transferred market exclusivity to an individual/company, who had a significant presence and knowledge about the local markets.

These individuals/companies in turn invested in establishing the master franchise, whose responsibilities include building stores, sub-franchising, operating distribution system, etc. The case discusses in detail the store operations of Domino’s and the benefits of its master franchise system.


» Understand the master franchise model of Domino’s and its advantages.

» Examine some of the unique features of the master franchise model of Domino’s.

» Analyze the store operations of Domino’s.

» Examine the training/support provided by Domino’s to the franchisees.

» Understand how the master franchise model helped Domino’s in facing the adverse impact of global economic slowdown successfully.