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University of Pennsylvania

Driving Operational Performance

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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Elevate your operational management skills with our Driving Operational Performance course, building upon the foundations laid in the Introduction to Operations Management. Led by the renowned Dr. Terwiesch, this course provides an in-depth exploration of advanced operational concepts, equipping you with the tools to analyze and optimize complex processes. You will gain practical insights into enhancing operational efficiency through hands-on problem-solving and engaging video lectures. In this course, you'll delve into the intricacies of process analysis, learning to identify bottlenecks within intricate systems and understanding how variability impacts operational performance. You'll explore the relationship between customization and setup times, enabling you to fine-tune processes for maximum efficiency. Capacity planning will be demystified as you discover how product mix affects capacity calculations and the importance of implied utilization. Additionally, you'll develop the ability to bridge finance and operations, using the Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) framework to connect financial and operational variables. Our course structure is designed for your success, combining engaging video lectures, hands-on practice problems, and interactive discussions. You'll have the flexibility to pause videos, work on problems, and witness Dr. Terwiesch's problem-solving approach, ensuring a thorough grasp of the material. Join us in pursuing operational excellence and acquiring the advanced skills necessary to drive success within your organization. Enhance your ability to analyze and optimize complex processes, link operations with finance, and improve customer experiences. With a focus on practicality and real-world applications, this course empowers you to become a more effective operational manager. Enroll today to take your career to the next level and make a lasting impact on your organization's performance. Real-world examples from industry leaders will illustrate key concepts throughout the course. Please note that these case studies are for educational purposes and do not imply endorsements of the mentioned businesses. To fully benefit from this course, it's recommended to complete the Introduction to Operations Management course beforehand.


  • Introduction to Process Analysis with Multiple Flow Units
    • In this module, we delve into the intricacies of advanced process flows, explicitly focusing on handling variety, setup times, and attrition (yield) losses. Building upon your foundational knowledge, we'll explore the critical implications that variety introduces into process analysis. Key insights will be gained, particularly in the context of product mix, as we guide you in searching for bottlenecks more effectively. Additionally, you'll discover the concept of implied utilization and how it can be a valuable tool in optimizing processes.
  • The Power of KPI and ROIC Trees
    • Throughout this module, you'll explore practical techniques that empower you to harmonize financial and operational aspects. One of the central elements of this module is the exploration of Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) trees. You'll gain insights into how to construct these trees in a manner specific to the operations you are studying. Furthermore, we emphasize the importance of ensuring that the variables within these trees are measurable, requiring accessible data for practical analysis. Sensitivity analysis will be a vital tool in your toolkit, allowing you to assess the potential influence of various operational factors on your financial outcomes.
  • Managing Wait Time
    • In this lesson, we delve into the ubiquitous aspect of waiting and explore the science behind studying waiting times. Waiting is an undeniable part of our daily routines, and understanding it is crucial. We'll start by delving into the concept of a transient queue, offering you valuable insights into this essential aspect of queue theory. Our journey continues as we investigate strategies to make the waiting experience less painful for customers and more efficient for businesses. Variability, a significant factor in process flow, takes center stage in this module. We'll guide you in distinguishing between seasonality and variability, empowering you to plan effectively for the complexities that variability introduces. Capacity management plays a pivotal role in managing waiting times, and you'll gain practical knowledge on balancing customer satisfaction and resource efficiency. We'll explore methods for aggregating variability by sharing the risk across multiple resources, assigning priority levels, and influencing the perception of waiting time, all of which contribute to a smoother customer experience. Lastly, we'll delve into the Time in Queue formula, emphasizing its critical importance in waiting time management. By the end of this lesson, you'll understand the factors influencing waiting times and the tools to manage them effectively.
  • Predicting and Reducing Loss 
    • In this lesson, we dive into the central theme of computing customer loss, emphasizing the imperative concept of "buffer or suffer." Understanding and quantifying the loss of customers is the linchpin of this module, as it plays a pivotal role in operational decision-making. We begin by equipping you with the essential skills to find the probability of customer loss. You'll gain insights into the factors and variables contributing to this probability, enabling you to make informed decisions to minimize customer attrition. Chaining, a strategic approach that combines the advantages of pooling with a lower investment, will be explored in-depth. You'll discover how to harness the benefits of this method to enhance operational efficiency and mitigate potential losses. Furthermore, this lesson will empower you to calculate the buffer required to effectively manage the challenges introduced by variability. Buffer strategies are vital in maintaining operational stability and ensuring a seamless customer experience, making this lesson an essential component of your operational toolkit.

Taught by

Christian Terwiesch


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