Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Rabbit hole day, part 2

In one of our undergraduate modules we taught ideas of inventory control, both the theory and discussion of the practice. Naturally we looked at ABC analysis, the EOQ, Wagner-Whitin and problems with constraints. Then in exercises, we asked the students to think what practical obstacles there might be in applying the models. One question asked: "How may inventory models be used by small shop-keepers?", expecting a discussion about record keeping, the cost-benefit of having some kinds of records. Instead:

The first question to be answered is what we mean by "small". Given that the mean height of males in the UK is about 5ft 8in, with standard deviation 2.5in, "small" can be taken as males whose height is below 5ft 3in. Such people need assistance to reach high shelves, and Health and Safety legislation means that they must use ladders. Therefore we recommend that small shop-keepers arrange their shelving so that those items which are A or B are kept on low shelves, and C items are kept higher up.

And so it went on ....

No comments: