Interviews | Oct 11, 2019 | Gabelli School of Business
Talking with… Dorothy Klotz
Each “Talking With…” feature helps you learn about a different Gabelli School faculty member, administrator, or staff member. This week, we’re speaking with Dorothy Klotz, professor of operations at the Gabelli School of Business.
You are recognized for your work in classroom pedagogy. What are some successful techniques in higher-education, and why do they work?
My undergraduate operations course is a hybrid course. The hybrid course leverages online technology to deliver some course content that I previously delivered in a classroom setting. By migrating content online, learning outcomes have improved, and students spend less time in the classroom, allowing for more focused study outside of the classroom at the time and location of their choosing.
A hybrid course’s success hinges on creating online learning experiences that leverage students’ familiarity and aptitude, online technology consumption, and processes. However, some course content is best reserved for the classroom setting, in particular, content which promotes student-student interactions, enhancing learning and creating a sense of connectedness among students.
Aside from being an essential function of operations, how has technology impacted operations management in recent years? How will it continue to change?
Operations has always been about managing and improving processes that deliver value to customers. Technology has allowed us to automate some processes and capture large amounts of data. With data and modern computing capabilities, we are now able to optimize process performance on a large scale.
Take Amazon, for example.
Amazon has automated large portions of the selling, payment, customer feedback, package tracking, and return authorization processes. At each step, data is captured. This data allows us to better manage product availability, track orders, and optimize shipping and delivery routes so that products can be delivered on time and at relatively low cost.
Amazon can deliver products faster, at a lower cost and with better quality than competitors because of operational excellence driven by advances in technology.
How has your experience as a former Division I basketball player shaped your approach to business-decision-making?
My collegiate athletic experience reinforced an appreciation for the importance of passion, skill development process, and always being prepared.
Playing basketball, particularly in my pursuit to play my best, instilled in me a general desire to give whatever I am doing my best effort. This passion for doing my best has stuck with me to this day and extends to everything I am doing, both in and out of the classroom.
Athletic skills can be enhanced through practice, getting feedback, and studying best practices of other players. In business-decision-making, it can be very similar. Much can be learned from studying companies that have made good and bad decisions, and leveraging lessons learned and best practices to improve business decision making.
Athletes also quickly learn the value of being prepared, and in business, it is no different. Sound decisions are more likely to occur when time is taken to prepare beforehand. Data collection, process modeling, and analysis are key inputs to good business and operations decision making.
What is one of the most important lessons you have ever taught your students, and why?
Measurements are key! If you are using the correct measurements to evaluate process performance, your process will perform well. Unfortunately, too often, managers or organizations focus on the wrong measurements. The use of wrong measurements generally is the primary cause of a misallocation of resources/effort in organizations.
I stress in my courses the importance of determining the relevant system-level performance measurements, which truly reflect what the organization is trying to accomplish.
If you could watch only one more for the rest of your life which would you choose? Opera, Broadway musical, or concert?
None. All I need are a few good MOM video lesson segments.
Where do you like to travel?
Where the stars at night are big and bright.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs! Especially my dog, Ginger!