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Fraser Johnson’s Medicom case analyzes supply chain resiliency

Feb 9, 2022

Fraser Johnson with manufacturing plant in the background

Dealing with uncertainty is a defining feature of modern business. Whether it’s the global pandemic, issues of injustice and inequality, or the need to build resilience in the environment and supply chains, there’s a new batch of challenges for leaders today. That’s why new cases from Ivey Publishing are bringing current issues to life in the Ivey classroom. Robust discussions of these real-life problems aim to influence behaviour, build critical thinking, and give students the confidence to face the future of business head-on. Here’s a look at new cases written and taught by Ivey faculty and the lessons they bring.

Medicom: Building A Resilient Supply Chain

Fraser Johnson, HBA ’82, MBA ’92, PhD ’95, Professor, Operations Management (with Ramasastry Chandrasekhar)

Throughout the pandemic, there have been shortages of almost everything, from paper products to computer chips, as a result of rising demand and reduced capacity in supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fraser Johnson’s Medicom case explores the operational and strategic trade-offs in developing a strategy aimed at improving supply chain resiliency. The context is disruption to the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to shortage of a critical raw material, which put lives at risk during the pandemic. It details how the Chief Operating Officer at Medicom Group (Medicom) evaluated a potential investment in a new facility to manufacture melt-blown polypropylene, a key raw material for surgical and respirator masks.

Johnson says the case allows the instructor to guide class discussion involving the analysis of the financial, operational, and strategic implications of insourcing production of a key raw material.

“It helps students understand the implications of investing in capacity for a capital-intensive business and to assess supply chain risks. The case also helps to highlight the pros and cons of vertical integration,” he said.

Since managing supply chains and suppliers is essential for any successful leader in any organization, Johnson said the lessons help students to build their business acumen.

“Students will see different economic cycles during their careers and need to assess opportunities as the competitive business environment changes. Developing the ability to identify opportunities and implement new strategies is essential for students,” he said.