Select a business or part of a business that you are very familiar with. The business must already exist. This is not an Assignment to evaluate a new venture proposal.
Students who select a company, even if it only has one business area, are likely to score poorly. The marker is looking for a very specific management agenda at the end of the Assignment; this is difficult to develop for a company. Even when the company only has one business area (i.e: a budget airline) our advice would be to narrow down the Assignment to a part of the company (i.e: a route).
- The Assignment can be based on an internal department or service.
Assignment Structure Guidelines (1600 words maximum, 15 pages maximum â€“ The Assignment cover sheet, contents page and bibliography are not part of your word count or page length guidelines. Labelled Diagrams and Tabulations are not part of your word count).
1. 100 words maximum Provide background to the business, or part of a business, you are basing your Assignment on (this is to familiarise your marker with your subject matter).
- A tabulation showing sales, profits etc. for the business over time is usefully employed (Note: Company data can be included but you should primarily provide business data/background)
- What is the role of the business within the company (or part of a business) you are basing your Assignment on? How is performance evaluated?
- What percentage of portfolio sales/performance does the business account for?
- In 2. below you identify a customer target. How important is this customer target to the business and what are current levels of performance?
2. 100-200 words maximum Select a customer target. Outline the customer â€˜job to be doneâ€™, what they want, crystallise customer needs.
- Quantify, stress relative importance (weights) of customer needs in a tabulation
- If different customers have very varied needs it may be appropriate to focus in on one market segment with similar needs or even just on one customer
- Once you have considered and weighted customer needs consider how well you (and competitors if you have them) satisfy them. Consider Price vs. Needs - this starts to address elasticities and Value.
- You do not have to accept current customer needs; they change over time; your desired strategy may be to re-educate customers to a novel set of requirements you can uniquely satisfy. Note: customers may not be able to articulate their needs.
- You may wish to reflect on the Decision Making Unit, Decision Making Process, Influencers (Marketing course)
3. 100 words maximum Outline your current and desired position/core value proposition in broad terms (a positioning statement outlines how you intend to meet the â€˜job to be doneâ€™/customer needs). Your current and desired position may be the same. If the position is the same your Assignment is primarily concerned with how you can execute that position more effectively, efficiently and build for the future. Note: You cannot decide on your desired position until you have conducted your Audit in Section 5. Your desired positioning in this Section informs the marker of the outcome of your subsequent analysis.
- Ensure your desired positioning is consistent with your Audit analysis in Section 5.
- Normally a positioning statement outlines how you intend to satisfy customer requirements better than competitors. For an internal service how you could deliver better value more cost effectively, or, better than potential external providers
- Business Strategy Workshop readings include: M.E. Porterâ€™s article covers the Generics and Need/Access/Variety; D/Aveniâ€™s article covers the Value Map; Kim and Mauborgneâ€™s article covers Distinctive Tag Line and Strategy Canvas. These can be used to help illustrate your desired position (as well as Workshop content: The Discipline of Market Leaders, Spider Graph, Zig-Zag Positioning, SNAP charts). Grantâ€™s chapter 7 considers â€˜The Sources and Dimensions of Competitive Advantageâ€™
- Your desired position should link closely to step 5 (your Audit) and step 7 (the Management Agenda).
4. 100 words maximum: Optional tabulations: Marketing Pâ€™s and Key Success Factors You may wish to outline: a) Your existing and desired standing on the Marketing Pâ€™s. Product/service, Price should have already been outlined in Section 3 â€“ Positioning, your core value proposition. These can be recapped and Promotion, Place and other Pâ€™s audited. b) How well your Key Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators are aligned with your current and desired Positioning, your core value proposition.
- Quantify the Pâ€™s/KSFâ€™s where possible â€“ otherwise they may become too general.
- The Pâ€™s &/or KSFâ€™s aim to identify areas for improvement, given your desired core value proposition â€“ your final management agenda outlines how to improve in these areas.
5. 500 words maximum Audit how well the business, or part of a business delivers its position currently in the operating model
- Initially you need to explain/describe what is done currently (stressing quantification â€“ use diagrams/tabulations for this)
- You should outline what are the core activities, costs and resources at each stage of your operating model â€“ quantify
- Note resources include; Financial (covered in Section 1 of the Assignment); Tangible, Intangible and Human. Your description should enable an evaluation of quality/quantity/productivity of resources
- Detailed diagrams tend to score better
* If information is not readily available provide best estimates and press on
* Diagrams and text should consider Fit: Consistency, Reinforcement and Optimisation of the business or part of the business being considered
* Emphasise Fit with customer requirements â€“ from current and desired positions
* Compare/contrast against best practice/Key Success Factors. The aim being to find gaps in performance - areas for improvement
* In auditing the business, or part of a business, USE ONLY ONE of the following frameworks:
* The Strategy Canvas (reference: Kim & Mauborgne, â€˜Charting Your Companyâ€™s Futureâ€™)
* The Business System (reference: K. & J. Jagiello, Note: â€˜Executing a Positionâ€™)
* The Value Chain: (reference: K. & J. Jagiello, Note: â€˜Executing a Positionâ€™)
* The Activity System Map: (reference: M.E. Porter, â€˜What is Strategy?â€™)
(Pre-Workshop readings are supported by Workshop applications)
6. 100 words maximum Optional Tabulations: Resource & Capability evaluation (Note most Assignments have this Section). After explaining and describing the core activities, costs and resources in your operating model, a resource and capability audit is an optional application followed by a strength/weakness versus strategic importance evaluation. (R. Grant chapter 5 considers resource and capability analysis.) If you decide to have these optional tabulations include them straight after your description on your operating model in section 5 â€“ before your 500 word audit.(Note: in the Workshop Group 3 will apply this methodology twice to Unilever and Ice Cream).
7. 300 words maximum Management Agenda â€“ for the next 18-36 months A management agenda is a blueprint for action, describing in detail how you intend to move from the current to the desired position (A to B). How the operating model will be strengthened to attain the desired position Hints:
- Your strategy may not be fully implemented in the next 18-36 months. This is not a concern, a strategy is a â€˜work in progressâ€™.
- If you are changing a lot, overview in your first paragraph the changes to be made and then focus in on 3 to 5 key actions in the remainder of your agenda
- Agendas will set out action plans, associated costs, resource allocation, milestones, responsibilities (You should have tabulations to help you present your agenda)
- Agendas naturally have a cost:benefit justification â€“ why the recommendations should be accepted
- Assignments need to outline how the change is to be accomplished, it is not enough to say we will set up a committee to analyse this issue. An agenda outlines what you will actually do
- Your agenda should be realistic â€“ what you believe actually can be accomplished
- You should be happy passing on this script to your colleagues, senior management, as a well reasoned/argued way forward for the business (but before you do consider the implications).
8. 200 words maximum. Linkage internally to other areas of the company and to the external ecosystem. The Assignmentâ€™s focus is on your business or part of a business. This Section allows you to reflect, and comment on how well key internal and external linkages are aligned, areas that can be created or strengthened. Focus on one internal linkage
The Assignment should be at maximum 1,600 words plus diagrams and tabulations which are not part of the word count. Your Assignment should be no longer than 15 pages. (The Assignment cover sheet, contents page and bibliography are not part of your word count or page length guidelines). Assignments significantly in excess of the word count or length guidelines will be penalised. Supporting appendix data is not wanted. Please do not explain concepts, the marker is familiar with them, just managerially apply them. Quantify, be analytic, be managerial.
The normal protocol for submitting Assignments is adopted:
â€œThe Assignment should be typed, 10 or 11 point font size (Times Roman or similar if possible) double spaced, with a 4cm margin on the right side of the page with the page size specified as UK A4. All pages must be numbered.â€
The Assignment is limited to 15 pages with the protocol specified above. Assignments that adhere to the 15 page length guideline but â€˜squeezeâ€™ too much in will be penalised (i.e: smaller font size; single spacing; shorter margin)- as with normal layout the Assignment has exceeded the length guidelines.
You should not omit data/analysis needed to complete the Assignment on the grounds of confidentiality. If you have concerns over confidentiality you can:
- Change the name of your company/business area
- Use a disguise factor (i.e.: divide all data by a percentage)
Note: at maximum four markers review your Assignment (the first marker; the second marker; Course moderator; external examiner) unless there is a case of plagiarism to investigate.
*Please see slides 168-170 of the attached ppt file