Students should choose an organization (which you have access to) and work through the given problems relating to operations within the organization. Students must prepare a report (by using the headings below as a guide) discussing the operations of the organization, and making recommendations for enhancement.
We have recommended some problems to consider under each heading – but such are not exhaustive topics (and you might discuss other things you see as being important). We would advise that you adopt a reasonably formal style and structure for your report. Comprise an executive summary and conclusions and recommendations.
Students must note that they do not require looking at an entire company but rather might decide to focus on a particular business unit or operation. For illustration the group wants to look at a large international company – however only has access to one part of the organization – this is perfectly acceptable (but you may wish to discuss this with your lecturer/counselor before starting).
We as well recognize that some groups may have little to say under some of these headings however lots to discuss under other headings. Again this is to be expected. What we would encourage is that students have a brief discussion of the organization using all the headings (a mini “operations audit” if you like) and then expand on one or two regions where the team feel the organization could enhance its operations. This will give you the opportunity to read and explore one or two areas in more depth.
Discuss the operations strategy of your chosen organization. Does your chosen organization have a clear operations strategy? How does the operations strategy support or complement the business strategy? How has the operation strategy developed and changed in current years? If the organization doesn’t have an operations strategy can you help them broadly define an operations strategy or give them guidance on what they must do to develop one?
Product & Service Design:
Discuss the products and services offered by your chosen organization. Do they target the same markets or do they have different offerings catering to various markets? What operations challenges does the product or service mix pose? Can you see evidence of effective screening processes? How good is the organization at developing products and services? If suitable discuss the product or service design process. Who else is included in product and service design (ex: suppliers, customers and retailers)? Do they measure the impact of design and new product development?
Discuss the processes within your chosen organization. From your reading of (Process Design) and other background reading, consider whether or not alternative approaches might lead to enhancements in the performance of the organization. After reading of the core text, can you comment on the layout of retail outlets or manufacturing facilities belonging to the organization? How would you go about helping the organization to make improvements? Can you comment on the use of technology?
Planning & Control:
Outline the kinds of short and long term planning that are carried out in the organization. Is demand dependent or independent? How proper is their approach to forecasting? How could they improve? Critically discuss the organization’s approaches to scheduling, loading and sequencing where appropriate. If proper discuss capacity management. How does the organization cope with fluctuations in demand? What alternatives might be open to them? Is technology employed to support these activities? Do you think there is sufficient feedback and control?
Innovation and improvement:
How does the company encourage innovation? Is innovation something that is managed? Outline some of the tools for enhancement that you would recommend as being suitable for your organization and elucidate how they could be implemented. Would you say the organization is lean or agile?
Outline the supply chain of the organization (or part of it), comprising purchasing, physical distribution management and materials management. How is IT employed to supply chain management? Outline how the supply chain might be enhanced.
Discuss the costs of quality as they apply in your chosen organization. How is quality problems diagnosed? How could the company enhance their approach to quality management? Does the organization have a formal quality system? Would this be suitable?