Critical thinking writing problem | supply chain operations | Middle Tennessee State University

Problem: A Tennessee automobile manufacturer has 20 containers (40’ steel boxes with a max gross weight of about 40,000 pounds) on a container ship that can carry 5,000 40’ containers of parts from suppliers approaching the western coast of Canada, inbound from China. Canadian National Railway (CNRR) workers are threatening a strike. If the workers strike while the load is inbound from Vancouver, the shipments of car parts could be delayed, potentially shutting down the manufacturing line. Based on your assessment of the costs for each alternative, what do you recommend to management?

Additional information: It takes 20 of these containers per day to maintain operations. There are container ships leaving the port of Shenzhen daily carrying 20 containers of parts along with their full load of containers for other customers. 


Continue to Prince Rupert, BC, hoping that the strike will be settled before you shut the plant down. The cost of a shutdown is $12,000,000 per day. 

Divert to Vancouver, BC, for an additional cost of $100,000. If there is a strike, truck the parts to Seattle and on to Nashville via Burlington Northern – Santa Fe (BNSF), with an additional cost of $300 per 40’ container. There is still a possibility of getting caught by the strike and shutting the plant down, but it is no more than 30% of the probability of the shutdown described in alternative 1. (If you are shut down, the cost is the same, but the probability is less because you aren’t traveling on CNRR as far.) 

Divert to Long Beach, CA, for an additional $750,000 and on to Nashville via Union Pacific (UP), with additional costs amounting to $700 per 40’ container. You could still get shut down for a couple of days if the strike occurs right away because this route is longer and will take more time. (Product already on CNRR could be held up causing a brief shutdown before containers arrive via UP.)  Assume that this probability is no more than 15% of the probability described in alternative 1. 


1. Analyze each option. At what level of strike likelihood would you recommend each option? 

2. Graph the costs for each option (for the entire shipment (20) 40’ containers) as a function of the likelihood of a CNRR strike. Make sure the graph is scaled appropriately to help make the decision points visible. 

3. Write an executive summary no longer than 2 pages, reviewing the problem, showing the cost of alternatives, and making a recommendation. Justify your recommendation. 


Scenario (Hint 1): 

You walk up to Dave’s door. He is facing you, but intent on some work on his laptop.  You clear your throat and Dave glances us, his face still pointed at the laptop. “Got that report for Lillian finished?”

“I have no idea how to start.”

Dave sits up and turns to you. “Well, it’s a total cost problem, right? Calculate fixed costs and variable costs for each alternative.”

“But the quantity is constant,” you protest. 

“Right, so the per container cost is a fixed cost, based on the number of 40’ containers we ordered. Your variable cost is the probability of a strike.”

Still unsure, you persist, “But what is the probability?”

Dave shrugs, “Who knows? Maybe it’s a coin toss. Maybe its lower than that. Just plot your total cost lines for probabilities from zero to one hundred percent (0.0 to 1.0) and see what it looks like. When you plotted crossover or break-even point to choose between alternatives you had to create a scale of quantity. In this situation you are creating a scale of probability. If you need to focus on just a part of the range of probabilities, then adjust your range. Makes no sense to plot from zero to a hundred if your crossover points all occur in the first ten percent or so. We want to give Lillian the information she needs to make the final decision, both in the form of data and graphs, but also with a reasoned recommendation of our own.”

“What if the strike lasts longer than one day?”

Dave turns his eyes back to his work. “We will NOT be shut down longer than one day. We’ll air freight parts  in before that happens. Are you up to this?” *

“I’ll get it. Thanks.” There is no risk of a shutdown.

* For true emergencies, Boeing 777’s could be chartered from Shenzhen, China to Nashville, TN, each carrying about 5 containers worth of parts. Charter costs are $20,000 per hour per plane, (including refueling time) plus about $500,000 in emergency loading and freight internal to the port of Shenzhen. It takes 21 hours, more or less, for the trip from Shenzhen to Nashville, including refueling time. The result is that we will NOT be shut down more than one day. However, this is an expensive alternative. 

Hint 2: Executive summaries include: 

• Header: Include author’s name, addressee’s name, subject and date in a header. (You will be asked to write a number of executive summaries. Your particular company may have formats to follow, but if not, follow this one.) 

• Background: This should be brief and should be from the viewpoint of company insiders. (Don’t tell me that we are an auto company. We know that.) 

• Analysis: Here is where your data, graphs, or tables go along with some explanation of what we see. 

• Recommendations: Make recommendations and short explanations of why. Act as if these are real dollars. I find it helpful to put costs in terms of my annual salary. If I can save, say, twice my annual salary, then the company can hardly afford to lay me off. 

Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Choose Us

Quality Papers

We value our clients. For this reason, we ensure that each paper is written carefully as per the instructions provided by the client. Our editing team also checks all the papers to ensure that they have been completed as per the expectations.

Professional Academic Writers

Over the years, our Acme Homework has managed to secure the most qualified, reliable and experienced team of writers. The company has also ensured continued training and development of the team members to ensure that it keep up with the rising Academic Trends.

Affordable Prices

Our prices are fairly priced in such a way that ensures affordability. Additionally, you can get a free price quotation by clicking on the "Place Order" button.

On-Time delivery

We pay strict attention on deadlines. For this reason, we ensure that all papers are submitted earlier, even before the deadline indicated by the customer. For this reason, the client can go through the work and review everything.

100% Originality

At Buy An Essay, all papers are plagiarism-free as they are written from scratch. We have taken strict measures to ensure that there is no similarity on all papers and that citations are included as per the standards set.

Customer Support 24/7

Our support team is readily available to provide any guidance/help on our platform at any time of the day/night. Feel free to contact us via the Chat window or support email:

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

Buy An Essay has stood as the world’s leading custom essay writing services providers. Once you enter all the details in the order form under the place order button, the rest is up to us.


Essay Writing Services

At Buy An Essay, we prioritize on all aspects that bring about a good grade such as impeccable grammar, proper structure, zero-plagiarism and conformance to guidelines. Our experienced team of writers will help you completed your essays and other assignments.


Admission and Business Papers

Be assured that you’ll definitely get accepted to the Master’s level program at any university once you enter all the details in the order form. We won’t leave you here; we will also help you secure a good position in your aspired workplace by creating an outstanding resume or portfolio once you place an order.


Editing and Proofreading

Our skilled editing and writing team will help you restructure you paper, paraphrase, correct grammar and replace plagiarized sections on your paper just on time. The service is geared toward eliminating any mistakes and rather enhancing better quality.


Technical papers

We have writers in almost all fields including the most technical fields. You don’t have to worry about the complexity of your paper. Simply enter as much details as possible in the place order section.