Editor’s Choice: Recommended Ops Reading for Summer 2017

Summer holidays are always too short, so we've rounded up 8 of the most important articles on ops topics from the world's leading publications.

Procurement/Purchasing and Supply Management
"5 Tactics to Win a Negotiation, According to an FBI Agent," Fortune. A former lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI argues that emotions aren't the obstacles to a successful negotiation; instead, they are the means.
Transformation
"Are You Solving the Right Problems?" Harvard Business Review. Many organizations are fairly good at problem-solving. Where they struggle is in figuring out what the problems really are.
Service operations/Zero-based budgeting
"Buy. Squeeze. Repeat." Fortune. Zero-based budgeting is remaking the food industry, leading to tough decisions at some of its most famous players. Will ZBB remake your company, too?
Internet of Things
"E-Mobility Gets Existential for German Carmakers," Der Spiegel. The automobile of the future drives autonomously and runs on batteries. Daimler, VW and BMW are on the verge of the biggest upheaval in their history—one they must win.
Manufacturing/automation
"Foreign Robots Invade American Factory Floors," The Wall Street Journal, via MSN Money. The U.S. may be falling behind in the race to supply cutting-edge production machinery underpinning much of the ever-more-automated manufacturing sector.
Service operations/Machine learning
"JPMorgan Software Does in Seconds What Took Lawyers 360,000 Hours," Bloomberg. Reviewing commercial-loan documents used to require hours of painstaking, mind-numbing work by lawyers and loan officers. Machine learning and related artificial-intelligence techniques can now reliably achieve the same results at the touch of a button, freeing people for higher-value work.
Supply chain management/Yield-energy-throughput
"Only 14% of Plastics Are Recycled—Can Tech Innovation Tackle the Rest?" The Guardian. Making these resources more productive could create $80bn-$120bn in revenues, says a recent report. A few companies are already designing innovative ways to break down and reuse plastic that's contaminated, too small for easy collection, too low in value, or made from multiple materials that cannot be easily separated.
Capital productivity/logistics
"Why America's Airports Suck," Institutional Investor. In one absolutely essential respect, they actually don't: U.S. airports (and airlines) are among the world's safest, with the risk of crashing down to just 1 in 10,000,000. But in terms of convenience, aesthetics, or efficiency, U.S. airports can seem like an object lesson in how not to manage capital projects—especially their funding.