This paper describes the operationalization of a deeper approach to learning during the development and delivery of the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) course, Managing Information Systems. The pedagogy and curriculum for the unit was informed by the principles of action learning and experiential learning. Specifically, the unit was designed to foster deep learning through the planning and implementing of a research project based on finding opportunities to innovate in operations management related issues.
The project developed by the action learning set, was the use of state of the art simulation software to simulate the actual process in a waterproofing company. AWAZEL is the first and also the largest manufacturer of waterproofing materials in the Middle East, offering the widest range of products as per the international standards.
The selected simulation software has the capability of easy interactions with 3D graphs and ease of use. Action learning was used to link the world of learning with the world of action through a reflective process within the action learning set. Experiential learning was used through the continuous four-stage learning process of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation.
The selected process was the optimization, design and location of the storage area in the warehouse. The set first analyzed the current storage location and production times, and then indicated the areas for improvement in the storage section to be incorporated in a new store design. Secondly, a new design was suggested for the storage area and simulated on computer. Finally, several possibilities in the storage and utilization of the actual resources were compared to find out the best model for the process according to lean manufacturing principles of maximizing customer value while minimizing waste. Therefore, key performance objectives such as storage reduction time, minimizing cost and increase of profit were addressed to create more value for customers with fewer resources.
The main issue identified is that the protection board pallets are not standardized and do not fit in to the warehouse drive through or racking system. To solve this issue it was planned to create a new storage area that is efficient and intelligent with a new racking system. This new system will fit the new pallet size and additionally can handle other tasks. The new process uses FIFO (first in first out) system for storing and handling of the membrane shield to increase accessibility and the efficiency of the process. Also, it was suggested to cancel the quarry (temporal storage) area, where time and resources are wasted due to transfer from production line to quarry area and then to the warehouse.
After the simulation was performed, it was found that the new design although needing financial investment, will reduce the storage time by about 30%. Additionally, the transfer of the pallets from the warehouse to the trucks using the FIFO system was more agile as the distances are shorter, and items are properly organized and prioritized in the new rack system. In general, the new system has identified several improvements in reduction of machine and labor time in addition to efficient utilization of actual resources. As a consequence, a reduction in operational cost and value added to customers is anticipated.